Slive stays the course on expansion

League content with status quo for now

DESTIN, Fla. - Put SEC commissioner Mike Slive in an interrogation room, shine a light in his face and ask him the same question over and over.

Put him in isolation and demand an answer to the question of the day.

The man showed on the first day of the league business meetings on Tuesday at the Sandestin Beach Hilton that he isn't going to crack.

Mike, is the SEC going to expand past its current 12 teams? Maybe next year? Or in five years? By two teams? By four teams?

"I'm going to say what I've said before and that's all I'm going to say," said Slive, sounding a bit like Forrest Gump. "Given our success of the past decade, we are very comfortable where we are and the family we are in.

"If there is a significant shift in the conference paradigm, then we'll be strategic and thoughtful about that."

When asked if the SEC could re-negotiate its 15-year contracts with ESPN and CBS that went into effect this past school year, if the league should expand, Slive said "it's not unusual to have clauses in contracts if a league should get smaller or bigger."

Expansion isn't officially on the agenda at this week's meetings. But like a couple of years ago here when the league presidents and athletic directors talked about establishing a position on a possible football playoff, expansion will be kicked around with probably no conclusions.

"We'll talk about it and I'll share some thoughts," Slive said. "But I won't say anything that I haven't said so far."

Most of the conference expansion talk has centered on the 11-team Big Ten wanting to expand to 14 or 16.

Such a move would create a domino effect among the five other BCS conferences - the Big 12, the Big East, the Pac-10, the ACC and the SEC.

Although Slive has denied a recent report by Knoxville sports radio host Jimmy Hyams that he has had discussions with CBS about four possible expansion candidates - Texas, Texas A&M, Florida State and Clemson - the general feeling from SEC football coaches on expansion is proceed with caution.

"I like where we're at right now, 12 is a good number, but I guess we could go to 14 teams," said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who thought Miami and Florida State would be prime expansion candidates. "But I guess if you expanded to 14 or 16 teams, it would take away some rivalries."

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he doesn't think expansion will happen any time soon in the SEC.

"As far as I'm concerned, you can add more teams, but I just don't want to play anymore league games (the SEC now has an eight-game conference schedule)," Richt said.

Nick Saban, coach of national champion Alabama, thinks the SEC is in a win-win situation whether it eventually expands or not.

"Because the quality of competition in our league and the TV exposure we already get that attracts recruits, it's going to be a quality league if it stays like it is or will be even better if the league chooses to expand," Saban said.

"I know from being in the Big Ten about 10 years (when Saban coached Michigan State), the expansion talk was about that league trying to get Notre Dame. And I think that's what a lot of it is about now. They (the Big Ten) want to improve so it can get a TV contract like ours (in the SEC) and a championship game like ours."

Arkansas' name has been thrown around in conjecture about going to the Big 12, but Razorbacks' basketball coach John Pelphrey said the Hogs are already in the right league.

"Some of the expansion possibilities are pretty amazing," said Pelphrey, who believes football and the desire for a BCS playoff is pushing the expansion talk.

"But we're already playing Texas and Oklahoma (in non-conference games), so our natural rivals are alive and well. We are very, very happy in the league we're in. I like where we are."

Slive knows that his product, especially in football with four straight national champions by three different teams, is in the catbird's seat.

"Historians might look back on this era as the golden age of the SEC," Slive said. "And we've made some considerable progress on other areas like compliance. Our TV package has made us the most widely distributed conference in the country, it has made us a national conference. We're in the position as one of the nation's premier conferences, and we want to stay there."

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Comments » 13

bullit writes:

They can talk all they want up there in the Little Ten league, but Notre Dame doesn't have the guts to join a conference that doesn't include the military schools they can beat up every year.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

voloffaith writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Defamatory and abusive comments and guess what the rules say...oh yeah off topic also....o

on topic expansion is only necessary if the playing field changes drastically and we need to save ground....

voloffaith writes:

in response to NeylandWest:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Same reasons other was removed. Using abusive back at the original poster and off topic also...

FWBVol writes:

in response to rcr12:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I would be very surprised if one dime of it came from the state tax revenues of the SEC members. On the other hand, every tax payer that purchases a ticket, buys a cap or sweatshirt or watches a game on TV helped pay that bonus.

I think it would be a pretty good guess to say the money came from the big TV contracts the SEC signed last year.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Same reasons other was removed. Using abusive back at the original poster and off topic also...

Dude...seriously? Relax. Pop some more pills. Breathe. Take a walk. All I did was post the users comments right back at him.

Gzus Christ...chill.

cc623 writes:

NW you should know by now that most of these people have to feel "superior" about themselves by limiting the freedoms of expressing/using a person's right to free speech.Always have to have a Hitler in the bunch...

VolunteerLifer writes:

I just want Slive to expand the number of competent football officials that he puts on the field each fall.

HallowedHill writes:

IMO, All BCS-qualifying leagues must at least 12 teams and a conference playoff, but since the SEC already has this, I don't see any further need for discussion.


AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

I don't want expansion, but if there is a team a'-comin', why not GA Tech? That's makes more sense than any other team to me.

easleychuck writes:

in response to iamnotDCtoo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Short, fat, and delusional is no way to go through life, son.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah but that was SOOOO LOOOOONNNNNGGG ago. No one even at Tech or the SEC even is still there from that time.

Like Japan in WW2, they learned their lesson and now nobody even seems to care.......

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to MYFAVORITECOLOR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Also still waiting on officials to call illegal procedure at start of Bama's game winning drive vs. Auburn. Left tackle moved before snap. Would have been 2nd and 17 instead of 3rd and about 4, and there's a good chance Bama would have lost. \

Also still waiting on officials to call offensive holding on Tide. LSU fan tells me that Bama was not penalized for holding in last 7 SEC games.

Also hoping Slive will quit allowing retired referees who are Alabama citizens sit in the press box with the replay official.

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