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New UT A.D. Says SEC Will Expand Again

New-to-the-job Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said the obvious today, but that’s still more than SEC commissioner Mike Slive might have preferred.  According to the AP, Hart said the SEC will expand again – no kidding — and that officials at each school need to have a number of frank discussions before moving forward.

Where he said that and who he said it isn’t covered in the three-paragraph blurb.

According to the writer, Hart said the acquisition of Texas A&M was a good one, “but the league’s leaders must take their next steps deliberately because the SEC will expand again.”  Those are the author’s words, not Hart’s.  He also said those talks will take place “in short order.”  (His words, not the authors.)

While everyone knows the league won’t sit at 13 for long, Slive and others associated with the SEC have been singing a “we’re happy at 13″ tune for the past week.  Hart has taken things a step further.

And the press being the press, his comments will make headlines across the country as though they’re shocking to the ear.  Hey, sadly, it’s what we do.

Hart came to Tennessee from Alabama earlier this month where he had been the CEO of Bama’s program.  He formerly served as the athletic director at Florida State.

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UT Chancellor Says Expansion “Very Difficult”

As Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced new athletic director Dave Hart yesterday, the conversation briefly turned to SEC expansion.  No surprise there.  He was asked where expansion stands and how difficult the process will be.  His answers:


“I think we said it real clearly when the SEC presidents and chancellors met recently, we would prefer to stay at 12. If something happens, then we have to reconsider that and we don’t know what implications that would have for us. …

It is very difficult. It is so complex. It’s not just moving in that direction (to) conference realignment. It’s deciding on divisions. It’s deciding on rivalries. It gets extremely complex, having been through the process in the Atlantic Coast Conference going from nine teams to 12. If indeed this becomes a reality, certainly it will cause a ripple effect without a doubt across the country.”


A smokescreen to cover the fact that the SEC already has all it’s ducks in a row?  Or an honest admission that things aren’t quite as buttoned up with a Texas A&M entry plan as many believe?

You decide.

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Bama’s Hart Accepts UT A.D. Position

The University of Tennessee has finally landed a new athletic director.  Not only did they finally find their man, but he’s got a long track record at major programs, including one inside the SEC.

But some Vol fans aren’t going to be as happy about the hire as you might think.

Dave Hart — an Alabama graduate — has accepted Tennessee’s offer and will leave the University of Alabama athletic department where he has served as the day-to-day CEO of the program since 2008.  Technically, Mal Moore is still Alabama’s top athletic administrator overseeing funding and facilities.

Hart is 62, so it’s doubtful that we hill head to Knoxville only to return to Tuscaloosa when Moore (72) retires.

When word leaked out last week that Hart was a top candidate for the Tennessee job, a sizable portion of the UT fanbase voiced their displeasure with the idea of Tennessee hiring someone with Bama ties.  The outcry was so loud in fact that some Knoxville media outlets have reported that UT’s search committee became torn over Hart’s selection.

On paper, Hart appears to be a solid hire for the Vols.  He served as East Carolina’s AD for 12 years before moving to Florida State for 12 more years.  Pushed out after a power struggle with FSU president TK Wetherell, Hart landed back at Alabama where he played basketball in the late-60s and early-70s.

In reality, Hart will now have to win over some fans whose blood runs so orange that it clouds their decision-making.  If a man is the best hire for a job, where he went to school shouldn’t matter.  In fact, if his hire hurts a rival, that should probably be viewed as a positive.

But then again, there are a few UT fans who’ve taken to talk shows and messageboards to suggest that Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek — who moved to UT from Florida — is undercutting the Vol program from the inside as part of a UF conspiracy.

Hopefully sanity will prevail in Hart’s case.

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SEC Headlines 9/3/2011 Part Two

1. Dennis Dodd: “As the Big 12 looks for new dance partners and Texas A&M waits to be asked to the SEC prom, realignment is centering on Texas and Oklahoma.”

2. Late Friday afternoon Big 12 conference call – presidents from Oklahama, Texas and Texas A&M reportedly excluded.

3.  University of Oklahoma president David Boren: “There is no school in the Big 12 more active than we are right now.”

4. Coaches and television contracts have turned the SEC into the dominant league in college football.

5. Jon Solomon: “The games are back. Lord, do we need them.”

6. The three Boise State players withheld from tonight’s game are all from Amsterdam.

7. Mark Bradley:” I still can’t get over Boise State being favored against Georgia — in the Georgia Dome.

8. Jim Kleinpeter:” LSU might even need this game a little more than Oregon, with a tougher schedule to follow.”

9. Scott Rabalais: “If you think that (Jarrett) Lee might be panicked by suddenly being thrown into the role of starting quarterback and’d be mistaken.”

10.  ”(R)arely has a game on Labor Day weekend featured as much significance to the BCS title hunt as this one does.”

11. With both Alabama and Tennessee waiting for his answer, Dave Hart considers his options.

12. John Adams on Montana- Tennessee: “You want insight and information? Wait till next week.”

13. For only the second time in his 19 seasons as a head coach, Houston Nutt will not call plays this year.

14. By position, best and worst case scenarios this season for the Florida Gators.

15. Some of the rule changes impacting college football this year.

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UT Talks With Bama’s Hart, But No Offer Yet

Radio reports on Thursday claimed that Tennessee had offered its vacant AD job — sorry, “vice chancellor of athletics” job — to Alabama assistant AD — sorry, “executive director of athletics” and “chief operating officer” — Dave Hart.

Since then, follow-up reports have stated that UT has not officially extended an offer to Hart.  But both schools confirmed yesterday that Tennessee’s five-person search committee has met with Hart.

Alabama officials released the following statement:

“Mr. Hart has had conversations with officials at the University of Tennessee.  However, no decisions have been made, and no timeframe exists for making a decision.”

If Tennessee has made an unofficial offer to Hart — and we believe they have — the longer this process takes, the worse the odds look for UT.  Hart is a Bama alum.  He already runs the day-to-day operations of UA’s department, at least according to his job description.  And Mal Moore — the only man above him — is 71-years-old.

The longer this drags on, the more likely Hart will be given either a raise, a definite date for moving into the corner office, or both.

We’re not saying Hart won’t wind up in Knoxville.  But the longer the process takes… the better Tide fans should feel about their odds of keeping him in the Heart of Dixie.

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Conflicting Stories On UT’s “Offer” To Bama’s Hart

And let the spinning begin.

Radio reports from Tennessee and Alabama claimed early this afternoon that the UT athletic director’s post had been offered to Dave Hart, the Crimson Tide’s executive director of athletics.

The Associated Press has since confirmed those reports
through “a person familiar with the situation.”

Ah, but The Knoxville News Sentinel has heard a different story.  Andrew Gribble writes that UT officials have talked with Hart, “but they have yet to offer him the job of vice chancellor of athletics,” according to “a source with the direct knowledge of the search.”

Before offering its job to LSU’s Joe Alleva — who eventually spurned the Vols for a bigger cash package in Baton Rouge — it was reported that Tennessee had offered or was prepared to offer Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich it’s AD gig.

When Radakovich and Tech were surprisingly slapped around by the NCAA, the news leaked of UT’s efforts to hire him and the Volunteer administration was left with a bit of egg on the ol’ face.

However, a high-ranking UT source has told that Tennessee’s chancellor never spoke with or met with Radakovich.  Their point: UT might have liked the Tech AD, but reports of an offer were blown far out of proportion.

With that as background, it’s likely that some people at Tennessee are now trying to put the brakes on talk that the school has already offered its job to Hart… just in case Hart turns UT down.

While we still believe Hart would be an outstanding hire for Tennessee, it seems like a bit of a longshot that the Alabama grad would leave his alma mater when 71-year-old Mal Moore could step down at any time.

The fact that he’s mulling over the situation seems to suggest that he’s angling for a raise in Tuscaloosa or a definitive retirement date from Moore.

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Reports: UT offers Bama’s Hart AD Job

Reports out of Tennessee and Alabama are claiming that Tennessee has offered Alabama executive director of athletics Dave Hart the AD position in Knoxville.  No word on whether Hart has accepted the offer or not.

Hart served as the athletic director at East Carolina and Florida State before becoming Mal Moore’s heir apparent in Tuscaloosa in July of 2008.  Hart played basketball for the Tide under CM Newton in the late-60s, early-70s.  In 2009, he was given the title of “chief operating officer” for the entire Alabama athletics department.  At that point, Hart was to handle the day-to-day operations while Moore focused on fundraising and “facility enhancements.”

To leave, Hart would have to walk away from his alma mater, which could be tough.  Especially knowing that Moore is 71-years-old.  Hart could leave for Knoxville today only to see Moore retire in six months or a year.

From a Tennessee perspective, Hart would seem to be a very solid hire.  His 12 years at FSU coupled with his most recent stint at Bama certainly give him big-time BCS experience at a pair of major programs.

But if Hart says no and is convince to stay on in Tuscaloosa, then UT will have been turned down by two in-conference candidates in the past month.  LSU’s Joe Alleva flirted with the Vols before deciding to stay in Baton Rouge for a pay raise.

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