Conference expansion: What the SEC and its presidents really mean

The SEC released a comment on conference expansion Sunday.

University of Florida president J. Bernard Machen, chair of the SEC Executive Committee, released this statement: “The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.”

What does that mean?

Simple. The SEC wants Texas A&M, but doesn’t want to be seen as the culprit in the breakup of the Little 12 (Big XII or whatever, it is these days).

The statement makes things very clear. Everyone in the SEC is satisfied with the present alignment. Schools like Alabama and Florida are topping the $100 million athletic department budget mark. The SEC has claimed five straight BCS crowns (well, until the NCAA decides what it will do in is sweeping cheating probe of SEC member Auburn.) Things are looking good for the SEC.

However, everyone knows the Big Ten and Pac-12 are in a war with the SEC. Both conferences are trying to reclaim dominance—and the best way to do that is with money.

Like Cicero said, unlimited money forms the sinews of war.

The SEC must respond to the growing television contracts and the threat to its college football dominance. One of the best moves it could make would be a deep penetration into the football crazy and large television markets of Texas.

However, the SEC isn’t going to announce it wants Texas A&M until A&M requests admission. Such a situation would mark a change in “future conditions.” For all the SEC knows, the Aggies might fold again to the wishes of the Longhorns and the political pressure of the Longhorns’ minions in state government. That looks to be unlikely. A&M fans and boosters seem unified in desire to join the SEC.

Another reason the SEC isn’t going to extend the invitation at this time comes down to deciding on team #14. And we can’t forget discussions about if and when the league might need teams number 15 and 16.

The only constant in this entire expansion drama is money. SEC presidents want it. Texas A&M will bring more of it. Therefore, the SEC wants Texas A&M.

Fans should be confident in that.


Add Yours
  1. 1
    Rogue Elephant

    Assuming you are correct and the SEC will welcome the Aggies if they vote the right way on Monday, then the next question is, who will be #14 (and #15 and #16)?
    Are the Missouris and FSUs of the world also BSing when they say they haven’t been talking to the SEC?
    Based on what you’ve already said, the obvious answer would be a resounding, “YES!”

  2. 2

    Dude I’ve come to peace with the realization that awbarn will never be penalized for anything! I think we all just need to accept that and spank their ass on the field

  3. 3

    Follow the money. I don’t mean the team money–the media money. ESPN has a contract with the SEC. Fox has a brand new, 13 year contract with the Big 12. ESPN made this loser deal with UT for their Longhorn network and included language suggesting UT would get high school teams on the network and add a second college game. All this while the UT athletic director (Dodds) was saying the opposite. Some unknown person (not associated with the media) requests the contract through a freedom of information act. The Aggies (and anyone else remaining in the Big 12 (10, 9?) with even a little bit of gumption went ballistic. Did ESPN just orchestrate a coup? This will strengthen ESPN’s ratings and dramatically harm Fox’s (the Big 12 may not even survive).

  4. 5
    # 1 al. fan

    I seem to recall that Fla. State had the opportunity to join the SEC a few years ago. They turned that request down and went to the cream puff ACC. Texas A&M had the chance to join as far back as a year or so ago. I say to the SEC just stay put ! we’re doing just fine with things the way they are. And as far as Aubarn is concerned, I’ve always said that the ncaa is so weak I’m surprised they still exist! they can’t touch the Aubies because Aubarn covers their tracks very nicely………

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