Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey laid talk of a potential Auburn move from the SEC West to the East at the feet of the media. A day later, that university’s athletic director picked up the talk and ran with it. Hard.
After months of chatter on the subject, Jay Jacobs met the issue head-on at the conference’s spring meetings Wednesday, with the AU AD banging the drum very loudly for his football team to move from the West to the East and Missouri taking their place in the division.
While it makes sense football-wise for most involved, Jacobs cited the demographics of the student population at large as one of the reasons he will push for a divisional adjustment.
“It makes more sense for Auburn from the standpoint of the demographics of our students, not our student-athletes,” the athletics boss said according to 247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello. “Six or eight years ago, I looked at all the demographics. Most of all our students come from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, a few from Mississippi, very few from Louisiana.
“Since we went to the national championship twice we’ve got more geographical students from all over the place but still the majority of our students come from the southeast.”
The Opelika-Auburn News lays out the geographical argument, as it in reality relates to athletics budgets that are impacted by more than football specifically, very succinctly:
If you look at SEC universities laid out on a map, Auburn is closer to SEC East schools Georgia, Florida South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt than it is to SEC West schools such as Arkansas, LSU and Texas A&M.
Missouri is closer to all three of those schools than it is to the ones located in the Eastern Time Zone.
Jacobs is expected to broach the West-to-East subject with Sankey this week as the conference’s ADs talk shop with the commissioner, although it won’t be on the official agenda.
As for the the Iron Bowl as well as the annual matchup with the team Between The Hedges as part of any potential move? “[T]he bottom line is … we’re going to keep playing Georgia and we’re going to keep playing Alabama,” Jacobs said.
Moving to a nine-game conference schedule — and this is without even discussing eliminating divisions entirely as well — would easily facilitate an Auburn move to the East as well as limit, if not completely erase, the concerns over losing long-time rivalries across the league. Of course, we all know adding another league game will likely gain very little if any traction, at least not for the foreseeable future.
After all, you gotta continue to have those cupcakes as part of your Deep South college football diet.