At a press conference Monday naming a new athletic director, University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and new Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart answered a couple of questions on conference expansion and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Here are the questions and answers from the official transcript. Transcript excerpt on conference expansion courtesy of UT Media Relations
Q: What are your thoughts on SEC expansion?
Dave Hart: I’ll do this (makes motion as if to turn it over to Dr. Cheek).
Jimmy Cheek: “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.”
Q: How difficult is it to expand a conference?
Dave Hart: “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.”
In other conference expansion news, Texas continues to take heat as the cause of the latest instability in college football.
According to Blair Kerkhoff of KansasCity.com, “How did we get into this mess? History will point to Texas. The school’s over-reaching influence when the Big 12 started formed the genesis of Nebraska’s departure 15 years later… No other major power, not Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, anybody, acts on its arrogance as destructively as Texas.”