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Friday, June 4, 2010

SEC Meetings: Expansion on the Agenda

Wrapping up SEC meetings today. Yesterday was a rather light day with most coaches gone and the morning filled with golf and tennis for the remaining executives.

At yesterday's meeting of school presidents, there was no expansion talk, but there was plenty of discussion about TV -- all of it good, according to Michael Adams.

“The (numbers) aren’t good – they’re phenomenal,” Adams said. “Ratings are good, ESPN’s happy, we’re happy, and obviously the money is good.”

That TV deal is one of the reasons Mike Slive isn't talking up expansion, he said. With the ESPN and CBS contracts, the SEC already reaches more than 100 million homes, Slive said, so distribution isn't a worry. And with the additional revenue teams can generate by individually selling their local TV rights, the SEC is in a position where its own TV network isn't a potential payday the way it would be for, say, the Pac-10.

Of course, the thing about this TV deal is that things can change -- even for the better. As Adams pointed out, the deal can be changed annually if both parties agree, and there are five-year windows in the 15-year contract that would allow an out for either the network on the league.

Obviously, everyone is pretty happy now. But might ESPN and the SEC be even happier -- and potentially talking about even more money -- should someone like Texas decide to join the party?

Of course, that's all speculation -- as is all of the expansion talk. But Slive and the rest of the presidents will at least indulge in some of that speculation at today's final session. Given all the rumblings coming out of the Big 12, that makes sense. The SEC isn't going to make the first move, most likely, but it needs to be prepared when the blocks start tumbling.

“We’re not complacent,” Slive said. “There’s never a moment when you don’t want to get better.”

The beauty of being on top is that you can be patient. But the price of being on top is that everyone is always gunning for you, and you have to be ready.

Among the other issues on tap for today:

-- Use of text messaging in recruiting, which Adams said is unlikely to result in a relaxation of rules.

-- Creating a league-wide rule regarding class attendance policies for student-athletes, which currently rests with the individual institutions.

-- Artificial crowd noise enforcement, which will be a hot topic in Starkville.

-- Numerous other sport-specific and academic issues.

Not likely to see much discussion or movement: Re-seeding of the SEC hoops tournament, early signing periods for football, Alabama's wacky schedule with six opponents coming off a bye.


Texas_Dawg said...

The SEC isn't going to make the first move, most likely, but it needs to be prepared when the blocks start tumbling.

If that is true, it is just really, really stupid.

The SEC is a non-starter for Texas, but A&M would move to the SEC. And it would be a huge steal for the SEC, getting it into major media markets in Texas.

A&M has the 5th largest endowment of all American universities, solid academics, and a solid athletic program. And it being in the SEC would be a huge threat to Texas's recruiting dominance.

I really hope Mike Slive isn't so stupid as to just be waiting to see what others do while schools like A&M and Oklahoma are up for grabs and right next door. He's a smart man, so whatever it may look like on the surface and however quiet it may be, surely he has people out actively lobbying A&M and Oklahoma.

If not, he needs to be fired.

Anonymous said...

DH Thanks for the answer on the "out clause" question in my mind--- still 5 yrs a very long time in this changing environment; 4 to go.