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A Crack In The SEC’s “Gentleman’s Agreement” Theory?

If you’ve been reading this site for the past week, you know that we’ve been a bit skeptical of the so-called “gentleman’s agreement” that supposedly exists among the SEC’s current schools.  This pact — which only came to light this week via one or two blogs — supposedly would prevent the league from inviting in any school that happens to be located in a current SEC state.

In other words, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, etc would have no shot at joining the SEC.

First, we believe the only school of that nature with a big enough brand name to warrant actual inclusion is FSU.  So aside from the Seminoles, we don’t think this issue amounts to much.

Second — as we wrote yesterday — we’d be surprised and disappointed to learn that Mike Slive and the league’s presidents had agreed to limit their options before even beginning the expansion process.  Why rule out FSU — or anyone else — from the get-go?

Third, why did this agreement not come to light last year during Expansionpalooza 2010?  We find it odd that someone just learned of it in the past week.  Also, our own sources inside the SEC say no such agreement exists.  They claim that some schools might band together on their own to block a school like FSU from entering, but it would not be part of some league mandate.

Well the idea of this gentleman’s agreement has apparently been turned into gospel.  National reporters are now following the bloggers and pushing this deal as fact rather than rumor.  “Clemson, FSU and Georgia Tech are out.”  Definitive statements are being made along those lines.

But allow us to once again tap the brakes on this story.

According to The Daily Gamecock, both Steve Spurrier and South Carolina president Harris Pastides opened up last weekend about the possibility of Clemson joining the SEC.

Spurrier said that he would be in favor of Clemson joining the league.  And according to James Kratch of Carolina’s student newspaper, Pastides said “while Clemson is not in line to join the league, it is not because USC would ‘block’ it’s entrance but rather because Clemson is not interested in membership.”

Now, Pastides may simply be blowing smoke so it won’t look like there’s some sort of gentleman’s agreement in place, but what would he have to gain from doing so?

And surely Spurrier has been told if there is some sort of rule/agreement/pact barring the possibility of Clemson joining the SEC.

For the conspiracy theorists who will suggest that Spurrier wants to make it look like he’d welcome Clemson while knowing full well that he doesn’t have to worry about it… do you really think Spurrier wouldn’t expect a Clemson veto to come out in the media?

Look, maybe a gentleman’s agreement does exist.  A lot of people are saying that’s the case.  (Of course a lot of those people are just repeating what they’ve read somewhere else).  But we remain suspicious of this claim.

And according to South Carolina officials, it certainly appears that no such agreement would prevent Clemson from being voted into the SEC… if the Tigers wanted an invitation.



You know, beneath your snide arrogance and smirking hints of "inside information", it becomes more and more clear that you are a lost, isolated little nobody who reads the AP wire, watches a lot of cable and makes the rest up as he sees fit in order to attract attention and feel like you're at "the center" of something--all in the vain hope that it makes YOU important somehow.
Hey folks, this is just one small man, calls himself "Mr. SEC" but has no more information or CLUE beyond what anyone else who follows our conference has, and tries to fob it all off to you as "breaking news" he dug up himself. The REST is just his personal BS which he hopes you'll adapt as your own. Laugh at him, look deeper, and move on.


Big Ten fan here. Why not think outside of the box?

Texas A&M AND Baylor let you double-dip in Texas and Baylor is a free win. Plus, adding Baylor is an outstanding PR move.

Florida State is a national brand who already recruits against Florida, Alabama and Auburn. What would change? If anything, by inviting Florida State you are making it harder for Florida State to do what they did in the 1990s which was dominate a weak conference, go undefeated and play in the title game every year. Will a 1-loss SEC team jump an undefeated Florida State team? Why risk it?

West Virginia. Get as close to Ohio as you can. Take top recruits from Ohio and you have weakened the Big Ten's best state for recruits. What you lose in TV market, you make up in sold out games, a good basketball program and a chance to steal from Southern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.



I was wondering if you have spoken within any sources at NC State? The reason I ask is I'm just wondering if one of those NC schools over there would be willing to jump out of the ACC. If there is a gentleman's agreement then I suppose that could give an insight into whether NC State could be an option. I haven't heard anyone talk about sources from NC State on any blog. Just wondering if anyone over there is talking?

Jon Walters Ryme
Jon Walters Ryme

I would love to see Vandy kicked out and Texas A&M admitted + Auburn moved to the SEC East. That'll be a perfect situation. Big Vandy sucks!


I really do not expect the SEC to expand to in-state rivals such as Clemson and FSU. Time to think about Oklahoma and West Virginia folks...


It could be that this agreement didn't exist last year. Why have a formal policy for something no one really saw coming? I wouldn't be surprised to find out that some SEC AD's and Presidents took steps to protect their schools from in-state expansion only after conference expansion actually happened in a meaningful way for the first time in, what, 20 years?



That's certainly possible, but one would've thought this matter would have come up last year when the SEC was making it's "If the Big Ten and Pac-10 blow up" plans.

We're not saying there is no such pact... we just think it seems out of character for the league. And until someone has hard evidence of such a pact, we'll continue to classify it as a rumor.

We shall see.

Thanks for reading,

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