Tennessee AD: SEC will expand beyond 13 teams

Dave Hart talks about his role as the University of Tennessee's new athletic director during a news conference Sept. 5 at Neyland Stadium. Hart previously was the executive director of athletics at Alabama.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

Dave Hart talks about his role as the University of Tennessee's new athletic director during a news conference Sept. 5 at Neyland Stadium. Hart previously was the executive director of athletics at Alabama.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart says the Southeastern Conference will expand again and officials at each school need to have a number of frank discussions before moving forward.

The addition of Texas A&M as the SEC's 13th team was a good one, Hart said, but the league's leaders must take their next steps deliberately.

"I think a lot of the conversation is just where we go from here, obviously, because at some point 13 will not be the number," Hart told The Associated Press. "There are a multitude of components to this that we have yet to really delve into. We will do that in relatively short order, but it's very complex in nature."

The SEC announced Sunday that Texas A&M will join the conference in July after leaving the Big 12. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said later in the week that the league's presidents and chancellors are not currently considering any other schools for admission and that he anticipates having no additional members for the 2012-13 season.

The SEC split into divisions after adding South Carolina and Arkansas in 1992, and the addition of just Texas A&M would leave those divisions unbalanced. Possibilities of a 14th member include the Big 12's Missouri and West Virginia or Louisville of the Big East.

Hart, who was hired by Tennessee on Sept. 5 after spending three seasons at Alabama assisting athletic director Mal Moore, declined to say who he would like the 14th school to be. He said he anticipated a number of conversations would take place in the coming weeks among the SEC's leaders on topics such as scheduling, division membership, academics and the "business aspect" of realignment. He added that those conversations will help Slive determine the future of the conference.

"I think to say the least, this is and will be a fluid situation for weeks to come, maybe months to come," Hart said." No one can really pinpoint that at this moment, and that's just inherent to the whole conference realignment scenario. ... There are too many variables. People understand to some degree the complexity, but they really don't understand the magnitude of the complexity. It's ongoing in nature."

NCAA President Mark Emmert is encouraging conference officials to consider factors besides revenue when weighing whether or not to change conference allegiances. Emmert told the AP he was concerned about the perception that money is driving the decisions, declaring "this is not the NFL, the NBA, it's not a business."

Hart disagrees.

"You can't be reactive in this business, and that's what it is," he said. "I know sometimes people are offended by the term 'business,' but there is a business aspect to intercollegiate athletics that you have to be cognizant of and be ready to position yourself as well as you possibly can."

Hart has a point. The SEC distributed a record $18.3 million to each of its 12 schools earlier this year.

While business is certainly one aspect of expansion, Hart said there are many factors to consider. The SEC wasn't actively seeking to expand, but when Texas A&M approached in July with its desire to join, conference leaders not only recognized that expanding into Texas was a smart financial decision but thought the Aggies' academic profile and fan base was a good fit for the league, he said.

"As Mike (Slive) has said many times, we were not in the market to expand, but when Texas A&M called the commissioner and expressed their strong desire to be a member of the Southeastern Conference, the landscape changed — as well it should have," Hart said. "I think you have to have vision."

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Comments » 71

foosballer writes:

Please tell me our new AD is not a walking headline. Wonder if he's already heard from Slive over this comment?

uttcut writes:

considering the recent history, I think we would want to ask if Kentucky had a sister over Vandy...

SummittsCourt writes:

West Virginia - Bank on it.

http://leatherhelmetblog.com/2011-art...

Fishpants writes:

For some reason, it just keeps popping into my head that if/when the SEC goes to 16 ,they'll take Mizzou, then OU and OSU, and move both Auburn and Bama to the East. Texas would then have to go independent or give up TLN and go Pac-16.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to TennesseeTonyT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Duke

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Fishpants:

For some reason, it just keeps popping into my head that if/when the SEC goes to 16 ,they'll take Mizzou, then OU and OSU, and move both Auburn and Bama to the East. Texas would then have to go independent or give up TLN and go Pac-16.

I have also been hoping one of the Ok teams would come in

FLORIDAGATORHATER writes:

This sucks. People just can't leave well enough alone. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to FLORIDAGATORHATER:

This sucks. People just can't leave well enough alone. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Heck, lets mix it up before the VOLS return

Hrockytop writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

West Virginia - Bank on it.

http://leatherhelmetblog.com/2011-art...

I believe your right! I would much much rather have the Tarheels but bring on the Mountaineers..

swingnducking1 writes:

in response to foosballer:

Please tell me our new AD is not a walking headline. Wonder if he's already heard from Slive over this comment?

No HE is a LEADER something we have not had since Dickey!!!!!!!

flafan2001 writes:

This is funny. The UT AD talking about SEC expansion.When Slive wants Dave Hart's opinion, he'll give it to him. I mean 4th choice AD Dave Hart???? Please.

GerryOP writes:

Univ of Maryland and/or UVa would provide the most visibility.

spvol writes:

How about Georgia Tech? They were an original member of the SEC.

GerryOP writes:

in response to flafan2001:

This is funny. The UT AD talking about SEC expansion.When Slive wants Dave Hart's opinion, he'll give it to him. I mean 4th choice AD Dave Hart???? Please.

Adult comments only ... please.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

Like I said, we need VA. Tech. Play at B.I.S. with 150,000 fans. UT is happy & makes money, VT is happy & makes money, Bruton Smith is happy & makes lots of money & the fans are happy! Tailgate all weekend with no KPD! Knoxville sucked in the 60's & it sucks worse now!

vol64 writes:

How big a salary and what benefits is NCAA President Mark Emmert entitled to from this "its not a business" NCAA?

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to Fishpants:

For some reason, it just keeps popping into my head that if/when the SEC goes to 16 ,they'll take Mizzou, then OU and OSU, and move both Auburn and Bama to the East. Texas would then have to go independent or give up TLN and go Pac-16.

I agree. I think those three additions would make sense for the SEC and their programs. Although, I'm not sure about balance. Having the big five of UF, UG, UT, AU, UA in one division doesn't seem to be balanced with LSU, TA&M, OU, and maybe OSU and Ark in the other?

STLVOLS writes:

As a UTK Vol grad/fan living n St. Louis suburbs, I would like Missouri to be added because Columbia, MO is only a two hour drive from my house. That way, I could see and root for Vols.

However, I realistically think SEC will eventually add a team further east.

GBO

flatrock writes:

SEC West: Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State.
Book it!

RoadTrip writes:

I was not high on the Hart hire initially. If he keeps this up I will have to change to his camp. I love that in a tactful way he told Emmert to go pound sand!

The reason I like expansion so much is that it brings a playoff system into play sooner as well as messes with the NCAA and member school presidents. Eventually they will have to move into the current century and eliminate all of the Mickey Mouse and "gotcha's" junk from the rulebook. Schools and coaches are getting rich; while the recruit can't be provided Philly or peanut butter on a bagel during a recruiting trip. All of the recruits' visits just become visits - official or otherwise. Who gives a rip how many times they visit a school?! They are going to commit to whoever they want to commit to anyway. No living expense stipend for the scholarship athletes. Coach leaves yet the players have to stay or skip a year. Etc., etc.

I have no problem at all with WVU being invited into the SEC. Tradition rich, crazy/supportive fanbase, hillbillies like the rest of us around Rocky Top. They are dang sure better than Vandy, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and most of the time MS. State in football. Their basketball program rocks. Not as high on Mizzou. Not a southern school. Been there a number of times and attended football games. I know Slive wants KC and St. Louis - but they are not a great fit culturally.

But really, really want FSU.

mikec1000000 writes:

This just in..."squeezing a cow's udder does indeed produce milk"

westknoxrepub writes:

I've heard rumblings there's a solid possibility Missouri submits an application next week.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

You guys are about as mindless about expansion as you are about Doolittle being successful..It's Mizzou..End of story and end of expansion.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

You guys are about as mindless about expansion as you are about Doolittle being successful..It's Mizzou..End of story and end of expansion.

No one on here is buying your mindless rants. Why don't you get a soapbox and stand outside the UTAD offices and preach your message.

Sir, you have a nice day.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

in response to GerryOP:

No one on here is buying your mindless rants. Why don't you get a soapbox and stand outside the UTAD offices and preach your message.

Sir, you have a nice day.

No preaching necessary...It's Mizzou...Anybody who gets out of Bugtussle occasionally already knows it.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

No preaching necessary...It's Mizzou...Anybody who gets out of Bugtussle occasionally already knows it.

OK, so you say it's Mizzou. Big Whoop. The Tigers are just SEC cannon fodder.

But we still don't buy your mindless rants about the current UT fooball program. BTW, you really look cute marching around in your "University of Phil" t-shirt.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

in response to GerryOP:

OK, so you say it's Mizzou. Big Whoop. The Tigers are just SEC cannon fodder.

But we still don't buy your mindless rants about the current UT fooball program. BTW, you really look cute marching around in your "University of Phil" t-shirt.

I'm sure all you Dooleyphiles are disappointed its not West Virginia...where you could go to Morgantown and live it up.

wallingdad writes:

reading these posts is far more entertaining than anything on tv

its obvious that the sec needs one more to balance out the divisions. my money is on tcu with auburn moving to the east.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

I'm sure all you Dooleyphiles are disappointed its not West Virginia...where you could go to Morgantown and live it up.

I am not a Dooleyphile, whatever that is. I am a fan of The University of Tennessee athletic programs ... all of them. You are not.

As I posted earlier, if you are against Coach Dooley why don't you get a soapbox and stand outside the UTAD offices and preach your message. Or let your checkbook do the talking.

Sir, you have a nice day.

1963VOLS writes:

in response to TennesseeTonyT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yea louisville

1963VOLS writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WVU,west va has a great fan base, and is crazy about their football, they open up recruiting in ohio wva penn and va. its a good choice.

1963VOLS writes:

in response to TennesseeTonyT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

the only thing is wva is no patsy and their coming only 421 miles from knoxville.their on their way,

1963VOLS writes:

wvu 421 miles from knoxville.
mizzou 691 miles from knoxville you make the choice or keep em in the west bring auburn to the east?

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It makes economic sense, new TV markets, contiguous, strong athletic programs, etc.
Two questions, is WV considered part of the Southeast any more than Texas? And what other program from AR, KY, or LA would you add?

hollywood9950 writes:

FSU

hollywood9950 writes:

in response to hollywood9950:

FSU

FSU is really who the SEC has wanted for past 20 years , they may not be the 14th team in but along with Clemson will be 15 and 16 if Slive has anything to do with it..

POTSVol (Inactive) writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You honestly think they care what the name of the conference is? Only one conference has stayed true to its name, the ACC. All their member schools are in states with a coast on the Atlantic. I think that was just pure luck for them anyway. Big10 has 12 now, Big12 down to 9, PAC12 now has four teams in the interior U.S., Big East inching closer to middle of the country with TCU and Air Force being targeted. Texas is a SOUTHERN state and West Virginia is an EASTERN state. So they partially fit. I wouldn't mind WVU and have the Battle for Appalachia. LOL Or Kentucky could start a Redneck Rivalry with them. That term did start in their neck of the woods. Anyway, it's vague enough to keep unless we invite Hawaii or Alaska to join. It's a well established name. Big10 didn't change just the look.

Besides, it's all about money and stability that presidents look at.

Only reason there are two schools from a couple states pays tribute to history. Back when they formed the conference, location to other schools and already established rivalries were bigger factors in school selection than tv markets. TV was still new and a novelty back then especially in rural areas. Those schools lucked out and didn't make hasty decisions to leave the SEC. Aside from Florida, there aren't any large enough tv markets to target schools in those areas. UGA has Atlanta just like the rest of the state, even with GTech there. KY has the whole state and partially Louisville, would UL really be worth the other half of the city? I don't think so. LSU dominates Louisiana, Clemson's market isn't large enough for SEC to sniff. I'd be surprised if they were being seriously considered. Can you really think of any other major university in ARK or a tv market worth the hassle?

So you started talking about geography which is my forte so that's why I couldn't resist to chime in.

I personally wouldn't mind WVU, a school from either NC or VA and Mizzou to get to 16 if that becomes a reality. All this realignment talk fascinates me. LOL

kwvolsfan writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

As a UTK Vol grad/fan living n St. Louis suburbs, I would like Missouri to be added because Columbia, MO is only a two hour drive from my house. That way, I could see and root for Vols.

However, I realistically think SEC will eventually add a team further east.

GBO

I would like to see Missouri as well since I live about one and a half hours from Columbia. We could roll over together and tailgate.

DannyVol writes:

in response to OrangeTexasVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Careful what you wish for; the last time I heard this "washtub" quote was the day Lane Kiffin was introduced as our head coach.

arkyvol writes:

i consider wva as the equivalent of mtsu or austin peay. if wva is all that's available, i say stick at thirteen. from what i hear to the west of me, the okies are coming around. that's the kind of addition that would enhance the conference.

arkyvol writes:

considering what he is following, hart is destined to come off looking great. i presume he can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

westknoxrepub writes:

In theory, you could switch East/West to North/South and keep everyone happy if Missouri comes on board.

North-Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina

South-Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn

Permenant Opponents:
Tennessee-Alabama
Mississippi-Mississippi State
Arkansas-Texas A&M
Georgia-South Carolina
Auburn-Vanderbilt
Florida-Kentucky

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

In theory, you could switch East/West to North/South and keep everyone happy if Missouri comes on board.

North-Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina

South-Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn

Permenant Opponents:
Tennessee-Alabama
Mississippi-Mississippi State
Arkansas-Texas A&M
Georgia-South Carolina
Auburn-Vanderbilt
Florida-Kentucky

Alabama would be in the South.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

In theory, you could switch East/West to North/South and keep everyone happy if Missouri comes on board.

North-Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina

South-Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn

Permenant Opponents:
Tennessee-Alabama
Mississippi-Mississippi State
Arkansas-Texas A&M
Georgia-South Carolina
Auburn-Vanderbilt
Florida-Kentucky

and LSU-Missouri would be the 7th yearly match-up

broom66 writes:

I don't think Hart said anything that wasn't transparent to the rest of the college football world. SEC will eventually even out the number of teams, they will look for and talk about those teams that might fill the spot, SEC makes a lot of money and what team comes in have affects that money. That is not to say that the president of the NCAA isn't going to be pissed off that he said it. Probably didn't help our cause out too much.

pogiegovols writes:

Just my personal opinion...Texas A&M and Missouri to the west and West Virgina and South Florida from the East....The Big East and the Big 12 is where all the expansion will come from

nomietn#281095 writes:

Emmert's comment "....it's not a business" tells you just out of touch the NCAA really is. Not only is intercollegiate athletics a business, it is BIG business. What does Emmert think is going on with TV contracts, the Longhorn Network, conference jumping, and million dollar coaching deals. No wonder the NCAA has become an over bearing laughing stock. Super conferences are on the way in and the NCAA. Is on the way out. Money for everyone except the labor force (players). The times they are a changing.

Troll_Here writes:

Apparently, your new AD hasn't been here long enough to know that Mike Slive and the SEC office handle all expansion talk. You haven't heard a peep from any other AD or school in the conference, and this guy pops off after a few weeks on the job. He was always opening his mouth when he was at FSU, usually to put his foot into it. I have no idea why you guys hired him. You are an elite athletic university in the best conference in America and you keep sabotaging yourself. Hopefully Slive does you all a favor and puts a muzzle on him before he embarrasses you.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

"Possibilities of a 14th member include the Big 12's Missouri and West Virginia or Louisville of the Big East."

Louisville? Seriously??

kcbigorngX writes:

The times they changed a long time ago.

The money grabbers will force the hand of all the universities in the name of 'stability'.

It used to be more than just a business. In the last generation somehow our leaders all turned into Gordon Gecko.

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