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Future SEC Expansion Will Still Require Approval Of 75% Of Presidents

Let’s make a few things very clear right off the bat:


1.  We at do not believe the Southeastern Conference has any interest in expanding again anytime soon.  Sources at multiple schools across the conference — in both athletic departments and in university administrations — have told us as much.  Repeatedly.

2.  We do not believe there are secret discussions taking place now that would lead to any existing ACC schools moving to the SEC.  That includes any combination of Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Duke or North Carolina.

3.  We do not believe even a full-scale collapse of the Big East would lead to further SEC expansion.  For argument’s sake, let’s say the Big 12 grabbed Cincinnati and Louisville from the Big East (to get to 12 schools).  Let’s also say such a move would force Notre Dame into the Big Ten and that Jim Delany’s league would then grab either UConn or Rutgers from the Big East (to get to 14 schools) and tap into the New York television market.  And for the sake of argument, let’s also say that the ACC would gobble up South Florida and either Rutgers or UConn (to get to 16 schools).  Even if all that occurred — and we think it’s highly unlikely all that will occur — we still do not believe the SEC would expand further.


As we’ve stated before, we believe part of the reason conference commissioners are currently pushing for a playoff and considering doing away with “AQ” and “non-AQ” status altogether is a desire to slow down conference realignment.  Most leagues have made changes in the last two years.  They would like to gauge what impact those changes will have before making further moves.  Nixing AQ status would kill off one of the motivations schools have had for jumping leagues.

All that said, conference realignment remains a hot topic.  Fans still have questions.  They wonder what’s coming down the line for the SEC and other conferences?  Next year?  Five years from now?  Ten years from now?

Well, if/when expansion ever works its way back onto the SEC’s agenda, the same rule that applied to the last round of expansion will also apply to future moves — 75% of the Southeastern Conference’s presidents will have to vote in favor of expansion.

Last summer, nine of the SEC’s 12 presidents had to vote in favor of extending invitations to Texas A&M and Missouri (once those schools contacted the league and asked for admission, of course).  SEC public relations guru Charles Bloom informed us today that “the granting of membership is by a vote of at least three-fourths of the (existing) membership” and that that rule remains in place.

So in a 14-school league, a three-fourths vote would equal 10.5 members “which then makes 11 the minimum vote total,” according to Bloom.

Why does this matter?

Last summer there was some debate over whether or not SEC members Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina had banded together to keep out Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville and/or Clemson from the SEC.  Some said there was an official, yet unspoken SEC stance against expanding into states already making up the Southeastern Conference football.  Others said there was an informal agreement among those schools and that everyone suspected they would stand together if forced.  Still others said there were no such plans to block schools at all.  (South Carolina officials said publicly, for instance, that they would have had no problem if Clemson had asked for an invitation… though that could have simply been a case of saying the right things in the press.)

Moving forward, even though the league has expanded, those same four schools — Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina — could still work together to prevent one or more of their in-state rivals from joining the SEC if they chose to do so.  It would still only take four “nays” to vote down any proposed new member.

Thankfully, it does not appear as though we’ll have to worry about any expansion-related issues regarding the SEC anytime soon.

Knock on wood.


Notre Lame
Notre Lame

Big 12 is playing the waiting game with Notre Dame to be quite honest. Telling ND that they've been talking to Florida State and Clemson, and I'm sure mentioning to FSU and Clemson that if they join there'd be almost certainly ND added as well. Not sure this will work, ND always has seemed like a Big 10 school with ties to that area and tradition, but you never know. With the NBC contract coming up, I just think ND will get less, but still enough to make them stay independent. NBC sports really doesn't have anything in terms of conferences, just seems like they'd want to get in on at least ND. Adding Louisville, FSU, Clemson, and ND would be a huge media splash, and position the Big 12 to compete with SEC annually. Just doesn't seem likely.


Thanks for the post John, I was actually wondering how many votes it would take for a team to get admitted to the SEC.



Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump

John, SEC and the ACC are pals, which means the SEC might even say to any ACC schools considering bolting that doing so means no more SEC games. If that happened, those big stadiums would look as empty as Tulane did before they tore the Sugar Bowl down. Not sure if they will find another mummy couple like before, but why take the chance!


Also, the next to last paragraph beginning with ==> Last summer.... has an error! While Joker may want to play next season in the ACC instead, his Wildcats are still in the SEC.


I'm sure your assessment is correct within reason.  Let's take a moment to look at the Big 12's new hire.  Bowlsby's presence, should the Big 12 choose to stay at 10, might indicate that his job is to broker moves for most of the Big 12 to the PAC and Big 10.  He was AD at Stanford, and has long ties with Iowa.  I doubt the Big 10 would be interested in Texas Tech.  So, if Texas is still looking out for the Red Raiders you might see Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Baylor/Oklahoma State move West.  The Big 10 would likely have an interest in reuniting Oklahoma with Nebraska.  Kansas is AAU and a good basketball catch.  While Iowa State is within their footprint they might get a nod if only one team (Notre Dame, Rutgers, or UConn) was taken from the East.  Obviously I.S.U. would be out of luck if the Big 10 made a move like this with two from the East.  Oklahoma wouldn't be making such a move without Okie State, unless the Cowboys could get an invite either to the PAC or SEC.  With West Virginia hanging and Oklahoma State possibly available I think we would have to consider the remaining available teams including any we might have our eye on from the ACC in an effort to keep pace, solidify our markets, and open up the possibility of 4 divisions.


If anything happens to the Big 12 it will be over with and done very quickly.  There would have to be a vote to disband so that the grant of rights would be void.  It will take 7 of 10 votes to disband.  That means 8 teams will have to be guaranteed places before the vote is held.  So, should we receive news that a vote to disband the Big 12 is imminent the moves will have already been approved before the vote is held.


In all of this mess no teams from the ACC, SEC, PAC, or Big !0 have been taken.  Even more interesting is that the ACC twice raided the Big East without so much as a yawn from Delany.  The Big 10 didn't flinch when the SEC took Missouri.  The only path to 4 superconferences that will have any semblance of balance has to involve the dissolution of the Big 12 because there is no other route by which the PAC can gain acceptable teams. 


Delany and Scott know this.  Slive knows this and is buddies with Swafford.  The ACC is sheltered by everyone but ESPN (odd since they have complete rights to all three tiers of their contract).  If the ACC contract renegotiation for the Syracuse and Pitt additions doesn't exceed 17 million per team defections could happen.  It will not be what the PAC, Big 10, or SEC would want.  But it would keep Texas in the game with more chips than are on the table now.  ESPN has a pile of chips riding on the Longhorns.  That may be bad news for the ACC.  But, my guess would be that where the Longhorns choose to go would be somewhere ESPN would like to purchase more influence.  That would be the West coast.


Whether the Big 12 breaks up, or poaches the ACC, the SEC is going to have to be ready to move quickly to protect its interests.  Only if the Big 12 takes Louisville and either Cincy or B.Y.U. does this situation come to a temporary halt.  Then it may well be six to 13 years before more action happens.  But, if the Big 12 says they are staying at 10, or if they add Clemson and F.S.U., all the fireworks go off at once.





I agree that there is no "secret plan" by the SEC to destabilize the ACC.  (In fact I would consider that to be very difficult to do--if it were that easy it would have happened last year.)  All this talk is wishful thinking from Big 12 fans who are looking at being stuck taking Idaho and New Mexico State to get to 12 teams (actually Louisville and Cincinnati are the most likely).


But I would not doubt that the SEC has some contingency plan that, in the unlikely event the ACC goes bad, any applications received from VT and/or NC State would be immediately accepted unanimously (or maybe with Vandy abstaining).


I think you are correct in that being an ideal scenario for the Big 12, and an unlikely one.  Most likely Notre Dame is flirting with the ACC (ESPN) and Big 12 (Fox & ESPN) in order to strengthen their negotiating position with NBC.  Of course they are going to wait until the playoff details are finalized to see if they indeed do need to make a move, and if they do they will try to negotiate favorable terms for Notre Dame by pitting the ACC, Big 12, and possibly the Big 10 against each other.  If they don't have to move it will be independence and NBC as usual.


Idk if the SEC would do that, they might, but if the ACC team were to jump to the Big 12, I could see an SEC/Big 12 challenge. 


within the next 5 years I assume the "boycott" of scheduling Missouri and aTm will change which would set up a great rivalry for the fans. 


I would think John would agree with me that he would love to anyone of these types of games. Texas/aTm, Kansas/Missouri, KSU/Arkansas, Bama/OSU, LSU/OU, FSU/UF, Clemson/SC, UK/Baylor


It would be a nice Basketball rivalry too


 @JRsec I highly doubt the Big 12 breaks apart and here are my reasons,


1. The Grant of rights for 13 years. Like you just said, it would take almost all the schools leaving to break the grant of rights, and with no one wanting to leave, I doubt anyone will break the rights.

2. The New Big 12 T.V. deal. The Big 12 just got 20 mil a year with JUST first and second tier rights. The 20+mil deal for the Pac 12 and Big 1G INCLUDES Tier 3 rights. So now Texas is the team with the most T.V. money in the county. Some of the Big 12 schools, I would even say Kansas (8-10 mil Tier 3 contract) are now making more than Big 1G schools. 

3. They are tired of trying to move. They have no where to go. Texas didn't go west because of Texas politics according to Scott, not because Texas didn't want to. Texas politics got in the way of any move, so the only place for Texas to go is independent, and that doesn't provide as much money as the Big 12.


All in all, I think we can finally say the Big 12 is (yes I'm going to say it) STABLE. 


In the next few months, we will see who they poach. More and More ACC guys are getting worried about the whole FSU and Clemson idea. IF such a thing happens, according to John, the SEC will stay out of it. If that is the case, look for the Big 12 to go to 14 teams by 2014 with first taking FSU and Clemson, and then taking VT and Louisville to finish it off. 


From everything I heard, it will be FSU and Clemson first year, and then Louisville and another ACC team. 


Look for the 2nd pair to be taken quickly because the OU president has already promised Louisville a spot. The problem for Louisville right now is they don''t have a partner to come to the Big 12 with




 @big12source I am almost certain that the SEC wouldn't move first against the ACC.  But I am equally certain that we would not sit and watch schools that were of value to us, that were planning to leave the ACC anyway, move from an adjacent location to the SEC, to a conference that could become a rival, without first securing the teams that we desired.  The money would be better in the SEC, the travel would be better in the SEC, and the minor sports would be better and more convenient in the SEC, and not by a great deal I'll admit, but the academics would be better in the SEC.


Nothing against the Big 12, but if you pull it off it will be good for you and the strongest will have survived.  Then maybe we move on to bigger and better things together.  If you don't survive, nothing against you, but maybe we move on to bigger and better things with the ACC.  Either way we will pick up a couple of teams of value, or maybe 4 teams of value.


I'm not sure this ends with 64.  72 would mean less chance of litigation.  At 64 there will be 9 schools with reasonably large enrollments, good history, and at least 50,000 plus attendance that will be left out.  The only ones that will make that decision are the 4 surviving conference commissioners. 


If you guys do survive and the Big 10 doesn't go for a Maryland, Virginia, UNC type of raid, then maybe the ACC survives.  If we wind up with 5 large conferences the breakdown might be Big 10 at 12 teams, PAC at 12 teams, ACC at 16 teams (and yes there are enough quality prospects for them to lose 6 and pull this off) and the Big 12 at 16 and the SEC at 16.  That's still 72.  If you guys pick up two and stop then we will be at stalemate for a while as far as expansion goes.


Your expansion will prove you intend to remain viable.  If you do not expand it means that some of your schools are still looking around.  We will see which is which in a month and a half.  Good luck and good hunting!


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