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ESPN Exec: SEC “Feverishly” Working Thru 13- & 14-Team Schedule Plans

Earlier this week, Georgia AD Greg McGarity said that the SEC was examining 13-team schedules only for 2012.  A 14-team plan hadn’t been discussed at all, according to McGarity.

Well, Burke Magnus — ESPN’s senior VP of college sports programming — has told Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News a different story.  According to Solomon, Magnus said the SEC is “feverishly” trying to work through 13- and 14-team schedules for 2012.

“I think both of those schools — Texas A&M and I don’t think Missouri is official yet, but it’s suspected — will be good.  I think they’re going to strengthen the brand without diluting the core, which has been incredibly valuable to us.”

Regarding ESPN’s current contract with the SEC and how it might change, Magnus said, “I’ve never been part of a discussion where the two sides can’t work it out… You get together and talk about the value in the world as we see it, and the value in the world as they see it.”

Might an SEC Network be in the offing between the two entities?  Magnus told Solomon that it was “hard to say.”  “It’s very hypothetical at this point, I get the sense.  It is not active from our perspective at all.”

(The idea of an SEC Network has gained steam in recent weeks and one site promises to present possible financial numbers for such a network later this week.  We, of course, pointed to the possibility of a conference network all the way back in May of 2010, when most everyone assumed that the prospects for a conference-owned channel had died.)

But for those who believe the SEC has only been working on a 13-team schedule plan because it has known all along that Missouri would be trapped in the Big 12, think again.  Despite what league officials have been saying, a top exec with one of their two broadcast partners says the SEC has indeed been planning for a 14-team league in 2012.

That shouldn’t shock anyone.  It’s just good business to be prepared for both options.



I agree with ncaafootballfan. ESPN is so shady, and that Boston College AD saying, "ESPN told us what to do." in regards to stealing 2 big east teams has only heightened my distrust of them. I mean why is this ESPN nobody commenting on our schedule? The SEC will do whats best for the SEC, not for ESPN.

Is anyone else praying that when we negotiate our new TV deal that we not sign with ESPN(If we can)? When the NCAA announced that CBS/Turner had all the rights to the NCAA tournament i jumped up and down it was so great.


I'm pretty sure we'll be with ESPN at least until the end of the current contract, but the future may hold another partner. The SEC is ESPN's best college product and I don't think they'll let someone else buy the current contract off of them.


This I can actually beleive ESPN about. One I would be surprised if the SEC was not working on a 13 team and 14 team schedules for next year. Two they would have to consult ESPN and CBS regarding schedules.


I have become increasingly suspect of everything ESPNish. Especially since the "mispoken" blurb that ESPN was a driving force behind the ACC move to snatch 2 teams from a conference & how their involvement in the Longhorn Network. ESPN has lost the journalistic integrity of a sports reporting network as they are increasingly too involved in the financial & conference decisions.


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