Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; The view from the Georgia side of the stadium during late first quarter action. Saturday   s annual Florida vs Georgia football game, October 27, 2018 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Bob Self-USA TODAY NETWORK

Ncaa Football Georgia Vs Florida

Georgia-Florida game to remain in Jacksonville at least 2 more years

The annual Southeastern Conference clash between Georgia and Florida will continue to be played in Jacksonville through at least 2023.

The Jacksonville City Council voted Tuesday night to approve terms of the agreement, which also gives the schools the option to extend the deal until 2025.

The Athens Banner-Herald said the contract calls for each school to receive a minimum guarantee from the city of $1.25 million in 2022 and 2023 and $1.5 million in 2024 and 2025.

The minimum for this year’s game is $1 million. It will be played Saturday, with Georgia the No. 1 team in the nation.

Jacksonville has hosted all but two games in the annual series since 1933.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only 19,000 fans were allowed at TIAA Bank Field last season. A capacity crowd of 76,000 is expected Saturday.

–Field Level Media

A pizza box is thrown onto the field from the stands after it was ruled that Jacob Warren was a yard short of the first down marker on a 4th and 24 play during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Tennessee fans littered the Neyland Stadium field with debris for several minutes following Ole Miss' game-clinching defensive stop with 54 seconds to play.

Kns Tennessee Ole Miss Football

SEC punishes Tennessee for fan behavior

The SEC on Monday levied penalties against Tennessee for the behavior of its fans during the football team’s loss to Mississippi on Saturday.

Those penalties include a fine, a requirement to find and ban specific fans and a review of the school’s alcohol policy.

The home crowd in Knoxville caused a stoppage of nearly 20 minutes as fans threw water bottles and other objects onto the field in the final minute against Ole Miss.

“The disruption of Saturday night’s game is unacceptable and cannot be repeated on any SEC campus,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “Today’s actions are consistent with the oversight assigned by the membership to the SEC office, including the financial penalty and review of alcohol availability. We will use this opportunity to reemphasize to each SEC member the importance of providing a safe environment even with the intensity of competition that occurs every week.”

The conference is assessing a $250,000 fine, which will be automatically deducted from the school’s share of SEC revenue distribution.

The school is also required to use all available resources — including security, stadium and television video — to identify anybody who threw objects onto the field. Once identified, those individuals will be banned from attending future Tennessee athletic events, and the university will be required to report on its progress to the conference office.

The SEC also is asking Tennessee to review its stadium alcohol policy and provide an update on its findings.

Per the SEC’s release: “The Conference is not suspending alcohol sales privileges for the University of Tennessee at this time but reserves the right to do so if other requirements outlined above are not met.”

Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman was shocked by the conduct of the school’s fans.

“I am astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans at the end of tonight’s game,” she posted to social media after the game. “Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers. Behavior that puts student-athletes, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 19, 2021; Hoover, Alabama, USA; SEC commissioner Greg Sankey speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

SEC extends commissioner Greg Sankey through 2026

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey has agreed to a contract extension through at least the 2026 season, the SEC announced Thursday.

The SEC’s presidents and chancellors approved the contract extension for Sankey, who became the conference’s eighth commissioner on June 1, 2015.

“College athletics is in the midst of a transformational period, and the SEC is fortunate to have a highly impactful leader to guide us forward at this critical time in our history,” said Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia and current president of the SEC.

“He has effectively introduced change and advancement for the conference while respecting the institutional traditions that make the SEC unique. His leadership and ability to foster collaboration through the COVID-19 pandemic helped establish a framework for all of college sports, and those leadership skills will be critical as we move forward with change in the years ahead.”

Sankey, 57, has launched the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice and finalized a 10-year agreement with the Walt Disney Company, a deal that allows ABC and ESPN exclusive broadcast rights to the conference’s football and basketball events beginning in 2024-25.

“I am grateful for the support of the SEC’s presidents and chancellors, and for the continuing opportunity to serve our universities while supporting the student-athletes of the Southeastern Conference,” Sankey said. “We are in the midst of a time of change for college athletics, and I look forward to working with the SEC’s campus leaders to identify a path forward that will sustain the incredible success of our Conference and provide opportunities for young people to grow academically and challenge themselves athletically.”

The SEC will also expand to 16 member universities in 2025 with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma.

Sankey was Southland Conference commissioner for nearly seven years before joining the SEC in 2002. His roles included executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer prior to replacing Mike Slive as commissioner.

–Field Level Media

Jul 22, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA;  Florida State Seminoles Coach Mike Norvell speaks to the media during the ACC Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

FSU, Clemson refute reports regarding interest in joining SEC

After reports emerged that Florida State and Clemson had “reached out” to the Southeastern Conference about joining the league, FSU president John Thrasher issued a statement maintaining that such reports are “inaccurate.”

“I want to be clear that persistent reports that Florida State has been in contact with the Southeastern Conference are untrue,” Thrasher said in the statement issued Tuesday. “We have had no communication with the SEC or any representatives of the SEC.”

On Monday, a radio program director in the Clemson market reported that both schools were interested in joining the SEC, which recently agreed to add Big 12 programs Oklahoma and Texas in the coming years. Later in the day, The Athletic reported a Tigers’ spokesperson refuted the rumor, saying: “There is no truth to the report that Clemson University has been in contact with the Southeastern Conference regarding membership.”

Thrasher might have opened the door to the rumor in a recent interview with the Tallahassee Democrat when he stated that he wanted FSU to “be prepared” for the shifting landscape in college football.

“My point to (FSU director of athletics) David Coburn and to (new Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner) Jim Phillips is I don’t want Florida State to be left behind,” said Thrasher, who is set to retire this month after nearly seven years as Florida State’s president. “I consider us as part of the ACC, but I also know that we have a marquee name, Clemson has a marquee name. I think there might be people coming after us, I don’t know, but we’ve got to be prepared no matter what the options are.”

–Field Level Media

SEC logo seen during SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency  in Hoover, Ala., Monday, July 19, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Sec Media Days

SEC unanimously votes to invite Texas, Oklahoma

Southeastern Conference presidents and chancellors unanimously voted Thursday to extend invitations to Texas and Oklahoma to join the league, beginning with the 2025-26 academic year.

The vote was 14-0.

“Today’s unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC’s longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a release. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”

The SEC will become a 16-team superconference on July 1, 2025.

Oklahoma and Texas formally applied to join the conference on Tuesday.

The Texas A&M board of regents voted earlier this week to recommend president Dr. M. Katherine Banks to support the league’s expansion, not long after Texas A&M athletic director said in an interview that the Aggies “love being the only school in the state of Texas in the SEC.”

–Field Level Media

OU's DaShaun White (23) and Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) bring down Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) during the Sooners' 53-45 win in Dallas on Oct. 10, 2020.


Big 12 sends ESPN cease-and-desist letter over alleged meddling

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby alleged in a cease-and-desist letter that ESPN reached out to at least one of the conference’s member institutions to try to convince it to leave the league.

The letter was leaked to media outlets Wednesday in the wake of Texas and Oklahoma formally applying for membership in the Southeastern Conference a day earlier.

Bowlsby alleged that the sports media giant “has taken certain actions that are intended to not only harm the Big 12 Conference but to result in financial benefits for ESPN.”

Bowlsby wrote, in part, to Burke Magnus, ESPN’s president of programming and original content, “The Big 12 Conference demands that ESPN immediately cease and desist all actions that may harm the Conference and its members and that it not communicate with the Big 12 Conference’s existing Members or any other NCAA Conference regarding the Big 12 Conference’s Members, possible conference realignment, or potential financial incentives or outcomes related to possible conference realignment.”

ESPN responded to the allegations in a brief statement: “The claims in the letter have no merit.”

Only eight universities would remain in the Big 12 if and when Texas and Oklahoma are granted membership in the SEC. The Big 12 may not have long-term standing as a power conference as a result, and ESPN and other media partners in turn may be incentivized to restructure their future partnerships with the Big 12 and other conferences.

Bowlsby told CBS Sports that ESPN actively tried to “pursue” three to five members of the Big 12 to join the American Athletic Conference, long seen as the sixth-best college football conference behind the power five leagues. The AAC had no comment on the allegation, the Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Jul 19, 2021; Hoover, Alabama, USA; SEC commissioner Greg Sankey speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma, Texas apply for SEC membership

Oklahoma and Texas formally applied to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025.

The SEC released a statement Tuesday as the Big 12 Conference schools revealed separate meetings for their university governing bodies to discuss the next stops in conference alignment later this week.

“The University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, two esteemed academic institutions with storied athletics programs, today submitted formal requests for invitations to become members of the Southeastern Conference in 2025,” the league said in a statement. “While the SEC has not proactively sought new members, we will pursue significant change when there is a clear consensus among our members that such actions will further enrich the experiences of our student-athletes, and lead to a greater academic and athletic achievement across our campuses. The Presidents and Chancellors of the SEC, in their capacity as the conference’s Chief Executive Officers, will consider these requests in the near future.

A formal vote of the SEC’s current 14 member institutions will be taken and three-fourths approval is required before the league can offer membership to Oklahoma and Texas.

Oklahoma and Texas said in a joint statement they have reached out to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and “look forward to the prospect of future discussions regarding the matter.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 15, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA;  Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Texas, Oklahoma not renewing Big 12 media rights

Texas and Oklahoma took their first step toward leaving the Big 12 on Monday by notifying the conference that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights after they expire in 2025.

“Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement,” the schools said in a joint statement. “The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements. However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future.”

Multiple media outlets previously reported the schools’ move to the Southeastern Conference is imminent. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has refused comment on reports that the Longhorns and Sooners are heading to the conference.

With the schools’ announcement on Monday, the SEC can take steps to vote on adding the two universities.

To leave the league, each university would owe at least $76 million, ESPN reported.

Texas and Oklahoma were founding members of the Big 12, and their departures will set off a ripple effect throughout the conference. Reports Friday indicated Kansas is seeking to join the Big Ten.

The Big 12’s charter members were Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.

Membership dropped to eight with the departures of Nebraska (Big Ten), Colorado (Pac-12) and Missouri and Texas A&M (SEC).

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners fans cheer during the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks  at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Texas, Oklahoma to announce Big 12 exit soon

The announcement of a move by Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference — just a rumor a few days ago — is imminent, multiple outlets reported Friday.

The two traditional conference powers will inform the Big 12 on Monday that they won’t renew their grant of media rights deal that expires in 2025, Horns247 reported. Once that happens, the SEC can take steps to vote on adding the two universities, and that process “could move quickly,” per the report.

To leave the league, the schools each would owe at least $76 million, ESPN reported.

Texas and Oklahoma were founding members of the Big 12, and their departures will set off a ripple effect throughout the conference. Reports Friday indicated Kansas is seeking to join the Big Ten.

Officials from Big 12 schools, not including Texas and Oklahoma, held a conference call Thursday night to talk about the league’s future. An ESPN report indicated the league could reach out to other Power Five programs to assess their interest in joining, or see if Group of Five schools such as Houston, Cincinnati or UCF might want a spot in the Big 12.

The Big 12’s charter members were Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.

Membership dropped to eight with the departures of Nebraska (Big Ten), Colorado (Pac-12) and Missouri and Texas A&M (SEC).

–Field Level Media