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Why The SEC Can’t Ignore The Big Ten’s Actions

For the past couple of weeks, we here are been covering possible SEC expansion from a business perspective.  We’ve done two months worth of research for our “Expounding on Expansion” series which has already correctly predicted a couple of things in just the past week — that state population size should be considered in expansion talk (as the Big Ten has since admitted to doing) and that in a fast-changing business landscape, the SEC might not be the top dog forever (as was proved by the ACC’s new TV deal with ESPN last week).

Now, via The AJC’s Tony Barnhart, former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer says something else we’ve been saying again and again: “If you are a commissioner your # job is to look at least 10 years down the road to where your conference is going to be and where the competition is going to be.”

While the SEC is strong now — on the field — it’s already been passed by the Big Ten in terms of annual revenue.  With an expanded Big Ten, the money gap could widen.

“What if every Big Ten school is suddenly making $35 million a year and the SEC is still at $17 million?” Barnhart writes.  “Over ten years that’s $180 million more per school that is invested.  Would that not make a competitive difference over a decade?

“That is why the SEC can’t ignore what the Big Ten may do.”


Many people look at possible expansion and believe the SEC is plenty competitive now.  That’s true, but there’s no guarantee that that will always be the case.

Also, football results help to drive revenue, but they themselves are not revenue.  As we’ve been trying to make clear in our expansion series, schools will be looking at a lot of factors — mostly cash-related issues — and not just football results when weighing how much to grow and who to invite.

If we want to truly understand what’s going on and why, we must stop thinking like fans and start thinking like college presidents.

The most recent part of our series can be found here… in it you’ll also find links to the first four parts, as well.



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