Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman has an interesting new article about athletic directors. Feldman surveyed both media members and athletic directors to get a sense of which ADs are seen as the best in college sports.

The media (15 people surveyed) included four from the SEC in its top 15. Feldman ranked the ADs based on a point system (three points for first-place vote, two for second, one for third).

Here are the SEC ADs who made the cut:

  • Greg Byrne, Alabama (10 points, No. 3)
  • Jeff Long, Arkansas (8, No. 4)
  • Scott Stricklin, Florida (3, Tie-No. 9)
  • John Currie, Tennessee (1, T-No. 11)

ADs themselves (10 surveyed) weren’t as high on their SEC peers:

  • Long (3, T-No. 6)
  • Stricklin (3, T-No. 6)
  • Byrne (1, No. 12)

Feldman’s article includes sample responses from the media.

Here’s an example of why Byrne was ranked highly:

“Sharp. Creative. Basically groomed to be one of the nation’s premier athletic directors his entire life. Puts in nearly the same effort with baseball or swimming as he does football. Cares about accountability and the culture he shapes. Very approachable.”

He also included a same response about Long:

“The blemish for Long is an obvious one: Arkansas hasn’t won really big in football or men’s basketball. My biggest appreciation for Long is that he took a stand and fired Bobby Petrino after he lied and embarrassed the university. Not every AD would do that given Petrino’s success at the time. It took some courage. Arkansas is never going to be a great destination point for many coaches, yet Long has hired some pretty solid ones in Bret Bielema and Mike Anderson. I also like that Long doesn’t take himself too seriously and interacts with fans on Twitter.”

The full survey, including what qualities were ranked as most important, can be found here.