SEC anticipates 13 schools in ’12-’13
League commissioner expects Texas A&M to join SEC West
Commissioner Mike Slive tried to temporarily quell the "enormous speculation" about whether - or more likely when - the Southeastern Conference will add a 14th member to join Texas A&M.
Slive said Tuesday, a day after festivities welcoming member No. 13, that the SEC presidents and chancellors are not currently considering any other schools for admission and that Texas A&M was the only one to submit an application. He reiterated that he anticipates having just 13 members in 2012-13.
"I really can't emphasize this enough. This has all been about Texas A&M," Slive said in a conference call with Texas A&M President R. Loftin Bowen. "We have not initiated any conversations with any institution. This was about Texas A&M understanding that some of the complexities that 13 teams brings, and that's really it."
Slive said the SEC will begin negotiations this fall with ESPN and CBS to upgrade the current 15-year contracts with both networks.
He has appointed a point person and three senior administrators - who he declined to identify - to work with Texas A&M's transition team that Loftin said includes "well over a dozen people."
Slive said league athletic directors would meet in the next few weeks to begin considering options such as scheduling. He said he wasn't sure if Texas A&M would land in the SEC West but "obviously it makes sense to me that Texas A&M be in the West."
Slive declined to discuss what would make a potential 14th member appealing, saying "we'll just see how the future plays out."
He said he didn't know if there was a specific deadline when the SEC would need to add a 14th member for next season.
Adding a 13th team was just another step in the conference expansions that began last year with Colorado (Pac-12) and Nebraska (Big Ten) leaving the Big 12.
"I know there will be enormous speculation," Slive said. "There will be speculation about how we're going to schedule. There'll be speculation about whether we're going to go to 14 and if we go to 14, who's that going to be, how's that going to happen, when's that going to happen.
"They're all appropriate questions. We will deal with those on a timetable that works for us."
Texas A&M called the SEC in July to explore joining the league - and leave behind rival Texas and its lucrative Longhorn Network. The union was temporarily held up when Baylor and other schools reserved the right to sue to keep the Big 12 together. Loftin said he felt that threat was resolved when the Pac-12 said it wouldn't admit any other teams after Big 12 powers Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech explored that option..
Now, Slive and others can rest - for a bit.
"As soon as you folks let me off this call, I'm going to go home and sit on my porch and do what I like to do best and relax," the commissioner said. "It's been a complex and intense couple of months. There's also this enormous feeling of satisfaction that the Southeastern Conference has added really one of the pre-eminent institutions in the country to the family."