SEC commish stands against proposed Mississippi law allowing guns on campuses

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Wednesday that athletic opponents "will decline opportunities" to play at Ole Miss and Mississippi State if pending gun legislation is allowed to pass in the state of Mississippi.

Sankey made his comments in correspondence to the CEOs of the state's two largest universities in response to House Bill 1083.

The bill that passed the Mississippi House of Representatives on Wednesday would allow gun owners with an "enhanced firearms license" to sue for the ability to carry weapons in courthouses and public property, including universities.

Sankey wrote that the bill's passage has the "potential to introduce concealed carry weapons into stadiums, arenas and other college sports venues."

If the law is passed, he added that "game officials will decline assignments, personal safety concerns will be used against Mississippi's recruiting process and fan attendance will be negatively impacted."

Sankey's letter was sent to Mississippi State president Mark Keenum and Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter. You can see it here linked to a statement issued by Vitter against the proposed law.

Sankey was on the Ole Miss campus last week, Vitter wrote, discussing "concerns about the safety and financial risks of allowing guns on university campuses, including potential loss of home sporting events and negative impact on our recruiting."

Arkansas passed a similar law last year but quickly amended it to keep guns from being allowed at venues such as Razorback Stadium. The law was changed at the SEC's urging.

Kansas also passed a similar law last year that allowed concealed carry weapons on campuses in the state for the first time. Essentially, head coaches at schools in Kansas can't ban weapons in their programs. It would be against the law. Concealed carry gun owners in Kansas in such a situation require neither a permit nor training.

Even in pro-gun states like Mississippi, universities are typically allowed some form of a "campus exemption" so weapons can't be carried onto a university's grounds or into buildings.

The Mississippi bill passed the House 80-29. It must pass the Senate and be signed by the governor to become law.

Sankey was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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