Is SEC preparing for a facelift?
With conference expansion a hot topic across the nation, particularly in the Big Ten, Mike Slive wants to be as prepared as possible for a changing college football landscape.
So on Monday, the SEC commissioner announced that the league is internally preparing a plan in case reactionary measures must be taken to keep the conference as strong as possible if other leagues expand. While there are currently no plans to add any teams to a conference loaded with so many football-rich traditions, there’s little doubt that change is on the horizon in the college game.
Slive said that the conference has been weighing the potential pros and cons of expansion in case there is a “significant shift in the conference paradigm” in the near future. In December, the Big Ten announced that it was considering expanding beyond its current 11-member field, which prompted league expansion to become one of the more intriguing offseason topics because of the potential domino effect of such a move.
According to the Associated Press, Slive said that his 12-team league has not held any talks with any universities about joining the conference and that it has no plans to do so. SEC teams have won the last four national championships in football, including Alabama last season. The league currently enjoys lucrative television deals with CBS and ESPN.
“We've always been known to be a creative league, be on the cutting edge,” Slive said. “We're not going to allow ourselves in any way, shape or form, to be anything less than what we are now.”
“The important thing is we're paying attention, we're going to be strategic, we're going to be thoughtful, but we're not going to relinquish our role as one of the premier conferences,” he said.
While an argument can be made that the Big 12 conference is closing the gap in depth and talent, the SEC remains the preeminent conference in major college football.
The SEC last expanded prior to the start of the 1992 season, when it added South Carolina and Arkansas. As a result, divisional play began in the league, as well as the formation of the SEC championship game.
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