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The SEC Isn’t Interested In Adding More Teams Anytime Soon

Eyes are rolling.

Readers are scoffing.

And fingers are preparing to fill up our comment boxes with, “Don’t you remember when the SEC said it wasn’t going to expand… and then added Missouri and Texas A&M?”

Yes, we do.  But this is different.

For months we’ve been telling you that our contacts at schools across the SEC have unanimously said that their institutions had zero interest in adding any more teams to the league’s roster before figuring out just what gains or losses had been made by inviting Mizzou and A&M into the family.

The ongoing battle over schedule issue has only made that feeling stronger.  Oh, sure, if the ACC blows apart or North Carolina and Duke ring up Mike Slive tomorrow seeking an package invite, things could change.  But for now, what’s being said on the record matches what’s being said off the record.

That was not the case last summer in the run-up to add the Aggies and Tigers.  On the record, the league was happy at 12.  Off the record, we reported week after week that deals were near-done and then really-done, in spite of public denials.

Marc Weiszer of The Athens Banner-Herald recently put together a string of quotes from last week’s SEC Meetings dealing with the topic of expansion.  What these men told Weiszer on the record is exactly what we’ve been hearing off the record from people at school after school.

 

Florida president Bernie Machen:

“I don’t see any reason to expand right now.  I think we’ve got some digestion issues going from 12 to 14… We’re negotiating with CBS to expand from 12 to 14.  There just doesn’t seem to be any logistical reason to expand right now.  We want to see how 14 works…

We’re coming up sort of a major fork in the road with BCS in 2014.  How that plays out will either drive or cause a reaction to the realignment issue.  I think it’s going to take another year or so before that gets sorted out…

“If the whole world turned upside down tomorrow, we’d probably get back in that mode, but we think it’s pretty calm right now as far as where we are.”

 

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity:

“It’s been a topic at every meeting, whether it’s schedules or finances or travel.  It’s just adding so much.  We’re just hoping it settles for a few years, but who knows?  Nobody really knows what the landscape is, but at least there’s some closure now to what’s happening.”

 

Add to that Slive’s most oft-quoted comment from last week — “I was comfortable at 12″ — and you get the feeling as a reader that the SEC’s decision-makers would very much enjoy a cooling off period.

And that’s exactly what people behind the scenes are saying, too.

Laugh if you like, but unless the ACC crumbles, any further expansion by the SEC would be stunning.  Because adding two schools has already been more trouble than many in the league expected.

 


6 comments
Bob Magee
Bob Magee

The relationships between the current and former members of the Big 12 were allowed to slowly deteriorate over time - devolve - by those in a leadership position capable of preserving the respect and traditions between the institutons.  To a degree we all - even as fans - are responsible.  But the university leaders and the powerful alumni and Former Students could have been better stewards in my opinion.  The level of hatred and disrespect that has occurred over the past 24 months is not a good legacy for any of our institutions.  We are, after all, talking about sports and insitution pride, not quality of education or student success after graduation.

 

The hatred we have been spewing (myself included) will not affect the daily lives of 99% of future, current, or former students.  Whether our sports teams win 100% or 0% in any given year, is not the issue - the quality of education obtained is the primary factor that should concern us.  Yes - an image of success and power offered by sports achievement drives donations and institutional/personal pride, but we have allowed our priorities to get a bit out of balance over the past 3 decades in my opinion.

 

As a member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 1980, I remember the Southwest Conference and when Arkansas left for the SEC.  The Southwest Conference became the Conference of the State of Texas.  In a short time, this became unsustainable financially and ethically (recruiting irregularities jumped) so 4 members were "selected" to join the Big 8 to form the Big 12.  4 other fine insitutions were left behind as not worthy - There was very little angst as I recall - the selected schools were not told they were  TRAITORS, WHINERS, GOLD DIGGERS, free to MOVE their campuses & CHANGE their names ,  or any other of the negative rhetoric that has been used in the past 12 months.

 

Friendly, even aggressive competition is healthy and fun, but the level of disrespect on all sides of this issue is appalling and something of which we should all be ashamed. I support the decision A&M made given the state of affairs and am very excited about being a part of the SEC - a superb cultural fit for my alma mater.   But,  it was a decision that would not have been necessary had we kept the competition on the field and away from the personal. 

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

Will FSU and Clemson leaving for the B12 classify as "the ACC crumbling"?  I hope not.  We'd be happy to take VaTech, too, if y'all aren't interested.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

The real question then is....when will the ACC crumble?  Assuming it does of course.

buddha22
buddha22

Yes, there has been a lot of discussion, but seriously, what has been so taxing? Maybe I'm just still in the glow of being free of Texas/Dodds but it certainly didn't seem that painful to take a wait and see attitude towards scheduling. I think once the season begins all the consternation about 8 vs 9 will fade, especially if it is another stellar year in the SEC.

Fore Hokies
Fore Hokies

 @JB TexasEx

 Interested? I think the majority of us are seeing the writing on the wall...the ACC is no longer considered a "major" conference and the strong majority of Hokies are interested in moving down South!!  Gladly take fewer wins per season to play in the SEC . Also be glad to travel back to College Station!

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

 @Fore Hokies Back to College Station?  I don't recall that VPI ever played there.

 

But, I won't be surprised if the SEC offers y'all.  It will be a good move wherever the Hokies choose to land.



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