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SEC Calls “Timeout” On Conference Expansion

Brett Beaird

SEC presidents and chancellors met Monday for their fall meeting (this meeting was actually planned in advance) and pro-expansion advocates were disappointed. No expansion action was taken at the meeting which will leave fans of the 14th team waiting until the rumor mill begins again from the result of a domino effect from the addition of a team to another conference.

The SEC office released a statement indicating “the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference met on Monday for its regularly-scheduled fall meeting and discussed a wide range of issues dealing with the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics. SEC and conference officials decided to take no action with regards to expansion.” Now what does this mean.

No one has done a better job of explaining a very complicated, confusing and at times exhilarating subject than John Pennington of MrSEC.com. His number one goal from day one was to take out the emotion and lay out a logical, common sense business model for expansion. He has used many variables to examine potential candidates to join the SEC and not just what best fits the TV expansion footprint.

The action by the SEC and conference officials comes after even more speculation surrounding Missouri’s flirtation with the SEC. After Missouri curators gave chancellor Brady Deaton the authority to explore a move to another conference rather than immediately commit to the Big 12, expansion advocates were delighted to see a possible 14th team joining the league to begin the 2012 season. However, many expansion followers realize that Missouri was interested in the SEC only after Big Ten officials did not express an interest in returning Missouri’s phone call.

Big 10 officials have been for the most part quiet about expansion rumors. Sooner or later, Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany will be up-to-his-neck in conference expansion rumors especially if he gets any interest from Notre Dame if Irish administrators feel the Big East conference will remain on shaky ground.

Last week Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reported that a majority of SEC presidents and chancellors would support Missouri’s addition to the SEC. However, several SEC presidents and chancellors expressed a concern that Missouri did not have the “it” factor.

Missouri has an outstanding academic institution, but the Tigers basketball program probably has experienced more success than the football program in recent years. In other words, there are other “sexier” candidates than Missouri to be courted behind the scenes. Also, others feel if the SEC has already expanded West to accept Texas A&M, would it be logical to then look East to bring in the 14th team and simply place the 14th team in the SEC Eastern division. According to sources, Alabama wants to look East and not risk losing its annual game against Tennessee, while Auburn favors adding Missouri and moving to the Eastern Division.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is a smart man. He is an attorney with a sharp business mind. He realizes before a team comes into the SEC, patient and prudent thought is needed. Conference affiliation is not about short-term results, it is a 10-100 year process. Many SEC fans still wonder if Florida State would have joined the SEC in the mid-80′s how the Seminoles would have changed the SEC landscape. Slive and SEC officials will continue to look at other candidates such as Missouri, Florida State, Virginia Tech and others. One of the primary reasons for adding a 14th team is simply balancing the two conferences with seven teams each which makes scheduling much easier.

Fans, who seem to have been left out of the expansion equation, has expressed their concerns about the loss of conference rivalries. It would be a tremendous shame to see Alabama/Tennessee, Auburn/Georgia and other tremendous rivalries that are the sheer fabric of SEC football go by the wayside. Commissioner Slive is smart enough to realize that. It is also unlikely the SEC will raid other conferences such as the ACC or Big East. Slive does not want to be perceived as a “predator”. Besides TV contracts prohibit many conferences from extending invitations because of complex legal issues.

Conference expansion talk will not go away. Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12, is a very smart, ambitious, marketing businessman who will continue to position the Pac-12 as on of the most pro-active conferences in college sports. His actions in the next six months will merit a reaction from other conferences, because he will not stand pat with 12 members. The Big 12 members have kissed-and-made-up for the time being, but there are too many ego’s involved in the Big 12 and Texas is still the 800-pound gorilla in the room that is not going away. Many expansion pundits still believe at some point, Scott will wrestle Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State away from the Big 12.

Missouri will continue to remain a viable candidate for the SEC because of the St. Louis and Kansas City TV markets. Again, if the SEC wants to expand East, Florida State is “the brand name” in college football and Virginia Tech and North Carolina will continue to be courted behind the scenes to seek their interest level.

Conference expansion will settle down for the remainder of the 2011 football season, but expansion enthusiasts will be excited in 2012 when the next round of rumors and reports begin anew.

Brett Beaird and Harold Bugg are co-hosts of the Boomo Bugg Show on WYTK 93.9 FM the Score weekdays from 12:00-2:00 pm and the Sportsbuzz on WZTV weekdays at 5:30 and 11:00 pm CT. Brett is also a contributing writer for the Huntsville Times.

Our Overtime section is a collection of columns, opinions and posts from outside parties.  The views expressed on this page do not reflect those of MrSEC.com.

If you have experience as a writer and would like to share your opinions on SEC news, contact us at admin@mrsec.com

 


26 comments
DaveDawg
DaveDawg

Anyone who includes UNC in SEC expansion talk loses all credibility. That's like saying Alabama would leave the SEC for the ACC.

annapolis
annapolis

South Carolina actually did pretty well in the ACC - had McGuire as a coach, the same McGuire who led UNC to the title in 57...

NorthCarolinaACC
NorthCarolinaACC

What people in the SEC don't understand is that the state of North Carolina, is a college basketball state--period!! When you have 4 ACC teams located in North Carolina, plus with 2 of the best teams ever, only 8 miles apart----North Carolina Tar Heels & Duke "Blue Devils", it gets crazy around here!! Check and see why South Carolina left the ACC in 1971! It was because they wanted the academic standards lowered---what a shame!! South Carolina was also jealous of the 4 North Carolina ACC schools----the Big 4, as they call it! Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Duke and North Carolina all use to kick South Carolina's ass in football & basketball, when they were in the ACC!!

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

I honestly thing the SEC should wait and see if it can land a Virginia Tech or NC State. It makes more sense and cents. It also keeps everyone happy. You don't screw up any rivalry games. Lets be honest, unc will never happen. I think they're the best choice, but will never leave.

D Rhodes
D Rhodes

The 14th team is going to be WVU, so get used to it. They are the most attractive team available because none of the ACC schools are going to bail for the SEC.

Orlo
Orlo

I cannot be said that NC ST has "it". Russell Wilson figured that out, now he has the inside track on the Heissmn.

Jon
Jon

Stick it to the ACC Carolina schools--take East Carolina and and be done with it.

NorthCarolinaACC
NorthCarolinaACC

ACC SCHOOLS KNOW THAT THEY HAVE IT GOOD, IN A CONFERENCE THAT IS BOTH SPECIAL IN ACADEMICS AND SPORTS!! THE SEC WILL NEVER AND I MEAN NEVER HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE GREAT SOUTHERN STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA!! AND MY WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS BEAT THE FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES IN FOOTBALL!! SO MUCH FOR PICKING ON THE LITTLE SCHOOLS!! ACC RULES!! YOU SEE THAT PITTSBURGH AND SYRACUSE BOTH WANTED TO BE IN THE ACC! THE SEC CAN'T EVEN GET A 14TH TEAM, CAN WE SAY ACADEMICS!! POOR VANDERBILT AN ACC SCHOOL STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF TENNESSEE!!

Jeff
Jeff

Well your first mistake is that the bball program has had more success lately than the football team. I grant you SOS was not great but 40 wins in 4 years isn't a lack of success. The second is that whole Big10 pile of garbage. Yes we looked. LAST YEAR! No one thought the SEC would be interested in us last year. Third, who are the "sexier" candidates that are available? Key word is available. Fourth, there was never any report out the Presidents meeting about an "it" factor. Every report says the hang up is about schedules and rivalries. Finally, "no action taken" does not mean "time out". It means we didn't do anything...this time.

Glenn
Glenn

The only logical choices outside Missouri are Va Tech ,UNC , or NC State . I must say I'm not seeing any of them leaving the ACC . Actually the only " it " factor of those three is Va Tech . Unless someone " behind the scenes " thinks its a realistic shot then shoot for MIzzou . FSU doesn't bring more coin to the table . I also wonder if Mizzou is leaning toward staying in the Big 12 in which case a " timeout " makes sense . I find myself semi obsessed with this whole realignment talk . I think it is more the secrecy than the football aspects .

BYRDDAWG62
BYRDDAWG62

DUDE........can you say PROBATION??? NC, Ga Tech & Miami are ALL on it......CHEATERS CHEATERS CHEATERS!!!!!!

NorthCarolinaACC
NorthCarolinaACC

The 4 North Carolina ACC schools-------North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State or Wake Forest will never leave the ACC for any lackluster academic conference like the SEC! In the ACC schools value not only sports but most of all academics!! So, I guess the SEC will have to settle for West Virginia or Missouri!! West Virginia is a much better fit for the SEC! Missouri should stay in Big 12 or go to the Big 10(or whatever)!!

@jtturner1970
@jtturner1970

as a wvu fan I hope not I think the b12 is better fit plus its funny to watch sec floundering around trying to find someone no one from acc wants in VA Tech, Fsu, and NC state are pipe dreams at best I think they will end up with east carolina or central florida or maybe norfolk state thats as close to Va Tech as they will ever get (I play golf with shane beamer here in roanoke va) so I know they are not interested period and told sec so.

Hillbillydelux
Hillbillydelux

I have both Hokie (VTech) and Mountaineer (WVU) degrees, and am very familiar with both schools. Trust me, VTech will never leave the ACC--NEVER. And I don't see a huge difference between the two schools on any level, be it academics or athletics. The only reason that people have such a huge mental block about WVU is that they buy into stereotypes of West Virginians being a bunch of hicks (I guess even people from Arkansas and Miss. have to pick on someone). But as anyone who has ever been to Morgantown knows, it's practically a suburb of Pittsburgh (as is Wheeling, another one of WV's larger cities). These are the same folks who cheer for the Steelers on Sundays--passionate sports fans.

gatortown
gatortown

wvu not up to SEC standard, sorry, no room, don't want you, decline application, no invitation, not hatin', just not into you. get used to it. OK FB team, no eyeballs, no smarts, no money, set fire to mommas' furniture, we don't wanna know you, dude. i hear big 12,9,6,10, whatever callin you home. shoo. don't want your kind. beat it.

gatortown
gatortown

eeast cara-line-a, hahahahahahahahahahaha jon, hahahaha dude, hahahaha you're killin' me!!! hahahahaha lay down the crack pipe, dude, you have had enough...

Thomas
Thomas

Ummm, yea, being from NC (Western) and being an Academic grad not a sports grad, really all CAPS on a football issue, topic (i.e. $$$), when we've got so many BCS Championship trophies...wait, nope, we don't and had to beat UT (when it's down) on a technicality in the bowl game..., even I don't think NC or NC State will move to the SEC, but I'm no going to put an all CAP smak-down on pitting the ACC against the SEC in football. WE'D LOSE!

K mills
K mills

"NorthCarolinaACC", do you understand that no one, I mean NO ONE west of the Appalachian Mountains knows anythng about the ACC and most don't care. The ACC if pretty irrelevant to most of the country.

Jon
Jon

Better get that permanent 13-team schedule figured out.

@jtturner1970
@jtturner1970

and you from florida they are one of the worst deep in debt to US maybe WV buy it. nice beaches for our people to vacation

@jtturner1970
@jtturner1970

west va has money 320 mil dollar budget surples this year 8 straaight years of surpluses over 800 mil in rainy day fund with that being said I dont want us in sec not one state with an sec school has surplus they are all begging DC for handouts wait maybe wv lend you guys so dough LOL

D Rhodes
D Rhodes

You had better check the record books and see how WVU has fared against SEC teams in the past few years. You said an awful lot to show how ignorant you are because none of the things you said are true. Typical redneck knee jerk reaction. WVU is a cut above most of the schools in the SEC already and it is going to happen. Then we'll start kicking butt.

Hillbillydelux
Hillbillydelux

And you'd rather have Missouri, which has never appeared in a BCS game, much less won one? (WV is 2-1 in BCS play, with wins over SEC and Big 12 champions.) Pray tell me about your "SEC standard(s)." Maybe you'd prefer Southern Miss. or East Carolina?

NorthCarolinaACC
NorthCarolinaACC

Yeah, that's why the North Carolina---Duke game is the biggest rival in ALL sports except the Super Bowl!! Just go to any sports site and you'll see that the Tar Heel---Blue Devils basketball game is bigger on tv than ANY SEC event, football included!! You keep dreaming that west of the Appalachian Mountains dream!! I guess that high altitude has hurt your poor little brain!! Don't forget that Tennessee use to be North Carolina but we didn't want you guys anymore, so off to the federal gov. you went!! The only Carolina that the SEC will ever have is that piss poor excuse of a state, South Carolina!! South Carolina----small in size and population!! North Carolina a lot bigger in size and ranked 10th in population!! When it comes to North Carolina vs. South Carolina, we here in North Carolina like being on TOP!! Ha Ha He He!!

D Rhodes
D Rhodes

We're a heck of a lot better than Vanderbilt, Miss. State, Mississippi, Georgia just to name a few. Give Dana Holgerson anohter year with this young WVU team and you'll see what we can do. He's only coached 6 games so far and they're improving every week. WVU will be competing for the SEC championship within 2 years, Missouri would just be another patsy. Maybe the SEC schools are scared of WVU.

BYRDDAWG62
BYRDDAWG62

You really need to lay off the hard stuff! The last Duke-NC basketball game had a 1.2 rating while the Auburn-Oregon football game had a 15.29 rating......That's 12 3/4 times as many people watching a SEC football team play as compared to your sweet little acc basketball game! I understand that the acc's a JOKE in football but not many people care about boys running around in shorts!!!!! LOL

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