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Vandy Sports Boss Talks Expansion

Vanderbilt vice chancellor of athletics David Williams recently sat down for a lengthy chat on SEC expansion with Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean.  His comments are quite interesting as he discusses the impact of expansion on VU, the (absurd) idea that Vandy might be ousted from the league, and what the league would look for in a 14th school.  (The gist of his answer: there are too many variables to list and he believes the league might spend “a couple of years” with 13 schools.)

He was also asked if the conference shuffle is strictly about getting into new markets for TV purposes.  His response:

“Anytime somebody is going to expand in this day and age, if they can see an upside in TV revenue or TVs being turned on, that will certainly be a consideration of it.  But there are other reasons.  The Big Ten needed a 12th team.  The Pac-10, I think, was a little concerned that they were sort of isolated on that West Coast, and how do we sort of expand and make some noise?  The Big 12 looks like they’re going to try to just throw some times in to stay in business.  Texas A&M comes to us and says, ‘We’d like to come to your conference.  We don’t want to be in the Big 12 anymore.’  And we may see an opportunity to expand or protect our brand.  The ACC obviously gets some television stuff up in the Northeast, but in the same time (they think) this may help us solidify our conference.

Sometimes, if I’m at 10 (schools in a conference) and someone is looking to take me to eight, maybe my best defense is to go on the offense and to go to 12.”

The full interview can be found here.  Good stuff.



While it is absurd for anyone to suggest that Vandy WILL be kicked out of/leave the SEC, it's really not that bad of an idea. They are the only private school, don't fit academically, and don't deliver any new markets. While it's true that the presidents' care about academics, it's not as if a graduate student at UT (such as myself) will ever collaborate with anyone at Vandy just because both schools are in the SEC. We're talking about a sports conference here. The SEC Academic Consortium or whatever they're calling it is just window-dressing. It doesn't affect anyone's academics positively or negatively.

Vandy also doesn't add any new markets. While Nashville is a big city, no one there cares about Vandy. There are probably as many Ohio State fans in Nashville as Commodores fans. Nashville is what it is, and Vandy wouldn't affect that. They are decent at basketball from time to time, but still can't get out of the first round. And baseball? Women's bowling? Who cares.

So while I know it's not going to happen, I vote for Vandy to get the boot and then we'll be back to twelve with A&M. Put Auburn in the East to take Vandy's place and that's that.


I think a lot of expansion will depend on the Big 12. If it starts to fall apart getting another member from them would be the be ideal. If not waiting for the right situation would be best.


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