For a man who has been eerily quiet on the conference realignment/expansion front, SEC commissioner Mike Slive just had one of the loudest statements on the very subject during a speaking engagement earlier this evening.
Below is the entire statement. We’ll get to what (we think) it means in a minute.
“In the 78 year history of the SEC, the conference had accepted the membership applications of only two institutions—Arkansas and South Carolina. Texas A&M is now the third. We remain optimistic that Texas A&M will be a member of the SEC and have started to look at schedules for 2012-13 involving 13 teams.
“As I said over the past year or so, the SEC has had no particular interest in expansion. We were, and are, happy with 12 teams. If Texas A&M’s President, Dr. Bowen Loftin had not called me in late July, we had no plans to explore adding an institution.
“However, when President Loftin called we became interested. Texas A&M is an outstanding academic institution with an exceptional athletic program, passionate fans and wonderful traditions. While the SEC wasn’t thinking about expansion, it was impossible not to be interested in Texas A&M. As you can see from the unanimous vote of our twelve Presidents/Chancellors, we would very much like to have Texas A&M as a member of our conference.
“When Texas A&M joins our conference, we don’t have immediate plans for a 14th member. We aren’t thinking in terms of numbers. We think about the strength of the SEC and the attractiveness of Texas A&M as an institution.”
If those words are true, it would completely turn around just about every notion — including our own — that a 14th, 15th or 16th member would join the SEC — at least for the immediate future.
So, the SEC is content with 13 members for now. What about the rest of college football? There is, just as there have been before, more speculation as it appears there are numerous schools scrambling to figure out exactly what in the hell is going on and how to position themselves in the best possible way if a shift comes.
In a way, though, Slive put the ball in someone else’s court. The SEC now has the Aggies, the Houston television market and direct access to the Texas recruiting landscape.
It’s time for someone else to make the next move. If there’s a move to be made, of course.
The University of Missouri’s Board of Curators are set to meet tonight to discuss a search for a new president and a “executive session“. What that executive session will cover is, well, a mystery, but the pieces are in place to make you go “hmmmm”.
And what about Oklahoma/Oklahoma State? How likely is it still that they will leave the Big 12 for the Pac-12?
However, a source with knowledge of the situation has told the Associated Press that officials from Texas and Oklahoma met over the weekend to discuss the future of the Big 12.
Clearly, there’s still a lot that can happen in all of this. College football could still get a huge shift in its landscape, or a moderate one more similar to last year.
But the fact is that nobody really knows what’s going to happen until it does.