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.