BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (October 14, 2014) – Mike Slive will retire as commissioner of the Southeastern Conference on July 31, 2015, after serving in that position for 13 years, he announced Tuesday. He also stated he is beginning treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer for which he was treated in the late 1990s.
“I have been blessed in more ways than I can count and I will have as much passion for this job on my last day as I did on my first,” said Slive. “I consider my health situation a temporary detour in a remarkable road that has allowed me to meet amazing people, experience incredible events and celebrate historic victories. I will relish my final year in this position and look forward to being the biggest fan of the SEC for many years to come.”
His medical condition was diagnosed subsequent to a surgical procedure on his back in August of this year. His prognosis is good and he will continue to carry out his responsibilities from the SEC Office and his home office in Birmingham. It is anticipated that his travel and appearances may be limited for the near future.
Following his retirement, Slive will serve in the role of consultant to the conference for a period of four years.
As the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, Slive has overseen perhaps the greatest era of success since the league was founded in 1933 while helping shape the landscape of college sports as a national leader in intercollegiate athletics.
The SEC has enjoyed unprecedented championship success under Slive’s leadership. He led the adoption of a new and effective league-wide NCAA compliance initiative, engineered landmark television contracts including the launch of a conference network, and guided the conference through expansion, welcoming two new institutions.
The hallmark of this golden age of the SEC remains a remarkable seven consecutive Bowl Championship Series national titles in football. In all, the SEC has won 67 national championships in 15 of its 21 sponsored sports during Slive’s tenure as SEC Commissioner.
His impact has been felt far beyond the footprint of the SEC. The founding commissioner of two conferences, he was also the founder of a law firm which assisted NCAA institutions in compliance matters, a Director of Athletics and a member of numerous leadership committees during the course of his career. More recently, Slive has helped craft the new College Football Playoff and is a leader in the historic effort to reorganize the NCAA for the purpose of creating a governance structure that provides maximum opportunities for student-athletes.
In August, the league launched the SEC Network, a national network that brings more than 1000 events into the homes and to the mobile devices of college sports fans across the country. These agreements make the league the most widely distributed conference on television in the nation and also secures the financial health of the SEC and its member institutions for years to come.
Since joining the SEC, Slive has served as coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series (2006-08) and served as chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee (2008-09). In 2002-03, Slive served on the Commission of Athletics Opportunity, established by the United States Secretary of Education to review the workings of Title IX.
Slive served as chair of the first NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee and was chair of the National Letter of Intent Steering Committee. He served as president of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) from 2001-03, was also on the NCAA Management Council from 1997-2004 and is the former chair of the Board of Directors of NCAA Football USA.
Slive previously was the first commissioner of Conference USA from 1995-2002 and was the first commissioner of the Great Midwest Conference upon its founding in 1991.
A native of Utica, N.Y., Slive graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. He earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia Law School in 1965 and an LLM from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1966.
Slive and his wife of 46 years, Liz, have a daughter, Anna; son-in-law, Judd Harwood; and granddaughter, Abigail who is two years old.
A national search for his successor will commence this fall, said Nick Zeppos, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, who serves as chair of the SEC presidents and chancellors.