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Mike Slive talks scheduling ‘when’, not ‘if’, A&M joins

Mike Slive AP

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?

According to multiple sources still very likely for both OU and OSU.

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.

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12 Responses to “Mike Slive talks scheduling ‘when’, not ‘if’, A&M joins”
  1. southernpatriots says: Sep 12, 2011 7:44 PM

    If another college/university president telephones President Slive and speaks to him in a similar impassed way that Aggie President Loftin likely did, it would be likely that Slive would respond favorably and put all the remaining presidents on the line and present it all to them.

    We cannot see the SEC member university presidents rejecting an appeal from an university which would add to the SEC. We think Slive made it plain that he did not communicate with Loftin but Loftin telephoned him. So much for any accusation or lawsuit about tampering or interference. Slive apparently was wise and careful.

  2. pabstman says: Sep 12, 2011 7:48 PM

    Southernpatriots,
    How do your constituents feel about the possibility of West Virginia University joining the SEC and please feel free to be frank with your opinion?

  3. thefiesty1 says: Sep 12, 2011 8:04 PM

    I think West Virginia would be a excellent 14th member of the SEC. Better suited than a Missouri in the SEC East. The Big 4 of the Big XII will most likely announce soon to go West and make it the PAC16. So the SEC might as well go to 16 and then let the remainders of the BIG East and SEC combine into another 16 team super conference while the Big 10 adds Missouri, Pitt, Iowa St and Kansas to get to 16.

  4. whoisedgy says: Sep 12, 2011 8:21 PM

    I’ve attended games in SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 stadiums. Gameday in Morgantown has a definite SEC feel. I think WVU makes great sense because they bring the Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and Charleston-Huntington markets.

  5. be4bama says: Sep 12, 2011 8:23 PM

    My pick for #14 is FSU……and ROLL TIDE ROLL

  6. southernpatriots says: Sep 12, 2011 8:26 PM

    pabstman: Thank you for your kind inquiry. To this point those we know at LSU, Georgia, Auburn and around the SEC have mentioned West Virginia only in passing or adding them as “also mentioned.”

    The talk primarily has been about Oklahoma (which from all indications is going PAC), Missouri, Georgia Tech (because of their past affiliation and the Atlanta market), Florida State (with their coach having LSU and SEC connections).

    There seems to be resistance toward further expansion unless it is with the right schools (meaning what can they contribute…academics, research, athletics (and not just football). So far, Slive must be greatly commended and we know he is making himself greatly appreciated by the member presidents especially for the way he is handling the A & M drama.

    Those presidents who is time past were somewhat independent are now trusting Slive to make the right decisions and would probably go along with his recommendations because they have been sober, wise, and careful. The presidents we know are exactly like that as well.

  7. florida727 says: Sep 12, 2011 10:05 PM

    Read Slive’s comment carefully.

    “When Texas A&M joins our conference, we don’t have immediate plans for a 14th member.”

    Emphasis on the word IMMEDIATE. Translation: he would not rule out moving, and moving rapidly, if the right university became the point of interest. Love it or hate it, the SEC is in the most powerful position of any conference in America. They can pick and choose who they want… for now. It is cyclical though. They have to be smart and not get too arrogant about their position, because it might not last forever.

  8. southernpatriots says: Sep 12, 2011 10:24 PM

    florida727: You are sooo right! Slive and the SEC presidents can pick and choose right now. We completely understand why they want to be careful. They currently enjoy the best of all worlds–success in all areas, increasing academic progress, a bevy of champions and not just football. The envy of stability around academia. The envy of success in athletics.

    With A & M they would get the best track coach in the history of track and his continuing collection of U.S. championships which he began at LSU, along with other successes, including and certainly not least–academic excellence. A & M brings alot to the SEC and will receive alot from the SEC. So, it’s a good addition, and we will get to resume our field on field contests which always was such fun.

    The next addition is somewhat of a puzzle because some are obvious in that they were once a member (Georgia Tech) or offer a good tv market area (West Virginia) or a legendary journalism school and the St. Louis market (Missouri), etc. We think the next addition will have to make an impassioned plea to President Slive and once he is convinced, the presidents will follow (or abstain as did Vanderbilt).

    Hopefully everyone is learning something from the A & M drama. Both of what to do and what not to do in the future.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you for joy and peace and great success!

  9. Deb says: Sep 12, 2011 11:50 PM

    Excellent comments by Slive. With good people like Coach Stallings working on the A&M situation–compared with the character of those trying to throw a wrench in the works–I’m sure it will be worked out soon. Then, as he says, we’ll wait to see which schools, if any, approach the SEC and what they bring to the table. I strongly favor maintaining our focus on the traditional South, which means limiting expansion to states already represented in the SEC plus Texas, Virginia, and North Carolina. But I’d be open to West Virginia. Missouri would be the furthest I’d want to stretch, but I still feel my alma mater, Mizzou, is a better fit for the Big 10. GaTech remains my first choice.

  10. dcroz says: Sep 13, 2011 7:13 AM

    This speech is nothing more than legal ass-covering. If Slive openly advertised that the SEC was seeking applications for expansion, then the league could get slapped with tampering lawsuits by the current conference(s) of whatever team(s) submits an application.

    Of course the SEC is not going to stop at 13 teams; it’s not just a scheduling nightmare, but the teams in whichever division winds up with seven (West unless Auburn is moved into the East) are going to complain that their road to the SEC Championship game is unfairly harder than those in the other division. In all likelihood, the league is already in talks with some potential candidates and will announce a 14th member before this season is out. So don’t start giving yourselves headaches trying to figure out how a 13-team league would work just yet.

  11. pabstman says: Sep 13, 2011 9:42 AM

    I appreciate everyone’s opinion on the consideration of West Virginia University (WVU) into the Southeastern Conference (SEC). I do believe WVU would open up new TV markets, obviously a new state that keeps within the concept of Southeastern concept and limits the SEC and Mr. Slive from having to deal with such things as “tortuous interference”.

    Southerpatriots, If I’ve read most of your past posts correctly, I’ve assumed you are a Louisiana State University (LSU) fan…If I’m correct, WVU (Morgantown) is looking forward to hosting LSU and we welcome you to Mountaineer Field!! I hope everyone enjoys their time there, has safe travels and are looking forward to an exciting game.

  12. southernpatriots says: Sep 13, 2011 10:51 AM

    pabstman: You read the posts correctly. We are an extended family with all but one having at least one degree from LSU, a few members having 2 and 3 degrees from there. Several older generation members (not that we aren’t ourselves, ha) having degrees from St. Mary’s of Notre Dame, one a former renowned football player from Georgia, all now retired professionals who have traveled extensively. Though retired now, we think we are working harder than we have for some years, though without the pay as volunteers helping others. We are currently working to establish a Neighborhood Watch program in south Louisiana.

    We “bleed purple and gold” and the younger generation (nephews, neices, etc.) are currently attending LSU. We have attended home games for more than 50 years, and away games everywhere as long as our health permitted for over 40 years. We have relatives and friends throughout the South and all around America….new found friends from Oregon who loved our Cajun tailgating and Southern Cajun hospitality at Texas Stadium.

    The accusations of tortious interference, Slive can easily prove untrue. The words of the A & M president himself has readily admitted that he telephoned Slive and he initiated all communication and contact. They might sue A & M but any lawsuit v. SEC will probably be thrown out/dismissed.

    If you think West Virginia would be a good addition to the SEC, telephone the president’s office and “put a bug in their ear.” It appears that WVU will have to put in a plea to Slive to get him to pursue the matter to the university presidents.

    If it was 10 years go we would be in Morgantown. Lungs can’t take the altitude and older bodies can’t take the long travel as we once did so extensively. We will be watching on a HD big screen tv alligatorsnapper brought for us all to use for a couple of weeks while they remodel after the recent floodings from tropical storm Lee. Many of our friends and neighbors are traveling to Morgantown. We are going to prepare some great food they can take with them

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