Mike Slive sat down for an extended chat with USA Today this week and the paper/website continues to roll out snippets from their Q&A with the SEC’s commissioner. This morning, they share the portion of the conversation dealing with conference expansion and realignment.
Here are a few of the highlights from their piece — which you should read in its entirety right here — as well as our thoughts on Slive’s comments…
“Q: What’s your take on the recent events in the Big East? Is there further realignment coming?
A: Really, just following it. We read what you read and we read what you write. And maybe to go back a little bit, because this is probably where you’re going, we were very comfortable at 12 (member schools). We were successful. We weren’t looking to expand. And then Texas A&M came to us and subsequently Missouri, and at that point our folks evaluated the institutions. We were obviously looking to the future, and decided to take them.
We’re pleased to have 14 (members). Scheduling is not easy and we’re integrating that into our planning. But I think we’re at the same place at 14 that we were at 12. So needless to say, we’re aware, we watch what’s going on around us with interest. At this point in time that’s all we’re doing.
Q: Is 14 members viable for the long haul?
A: Yeah, we think so. You know, scheduling is not easy with 14. But we’re well down the road (scheduling).”
The SEC was well down the road with 12-team scheduling, too, when Texas A&M and then Missouri came aboard. If the landscape changes and forces the league to move… and if the SEC can find a way to move that would add money and power to the conference, you better believe it will do so.
“Q: We’re all chasing realignment now. Where do you think college sports will be in five years? Would we be talking about super conferences? Could we see a separate subdivision or a breakaway from the NCAA?
A: When the question gets asked about super conferences, the sense I get is it’s not asked about the quality of the conference, it’s about a number (of members). For us it’s not about numbers. It’s about the quality of the conference and the institutions. From my observation, is there a concerted effort among conferences to get to a (certain) number? I don’t think so. I can’t speak for individual conferences, but to me, I don’t have any sense that there’s this master plan that governs the athletic universe that’s marching toward getting conferences with 16 teams. We’re all very different, we’re all very competitive, we all have different cultures.”
“For us it’s not about numbers.” Well, the commish is obviously talking about hitting a specific number of schools and teams and we believe he’s right that there is no “master plan” driving every league to a 16-school limit. We’ve been saying that for a few weeks now. If things continue to move — and at this point it certainly looks like we’re headed in that direction — there could be some leagues with 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 or more schools.
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