SEC has no plans to add 14th team to conference
After officially welcoming Texas A&M as the 13th member of the Southeastern Conference last week, commissioner Mike Slive is attempting to quell speculation about the possibility of a 14th conference member.
Texas A&M will officially join the SEC next July for the 2012-2013 season, and is reportedly the only school that submitted an application. It is the first addition since South Carolina and Arkansas joined the conference in 1992.
The Birmingham News substantiated an earlier story in the Kansas City Star about an informal agreement that would allow the Missouri Tigers to become the 14th member of the SEC.
The report prompted conference officials to release a statement regarding the article.
“The News, citing two sources familiar with the discussions, said a majority of SEC presidents have endorsed the agreement, though a timetable for the move remains unknown,” SEC officials said. “As of yet, there is no set deadline for adding a 14th member for next season.”
Slive stands by his assertion, however, that Texas A&M is the only addition the SEC is currently considering.
“This has all been about Texas A&M,” Slive said in a conference call to Texas A&M President R. Loftin Bowen, according to CBSSports.com. “We have not initiated any conversations with any [other] institution.”
The SEC will be faced with a number of issues as a 13-member conference, including scheduling problems and whether or not it will decide to add a 14th member in the future.
In addition, the SEC plans to open negotiations with ESPN and CBS to reevaluate and upgrade the 15-year contracts that stand with each network.
“It’s been a complex and intense couple of months,” Slive said, according to CBSSports.com. “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.”
Emmert voices opinion on realignment
Not only are schools and fans around the country upset with the recent mass movement for conference realignment, but president of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, has his qualms about it as well.
Emmert let athletic directors from all around the country know his stance on realignment at a meeting in Dallas, and was not afraid to show his distaste in unsubtle wording.
“The specter of the past couple weeks of conference realignment has not been a healthy thing,” Emmert said at the meeting. “The world’s convinced that’s all we care about … that all this is about money. I didn’t read many of us stepping up and saying that this will work really well for student-athletes because we’ll do X, we’ll do Y, it will create more resources, it will help us stabilize our programs.”
In addition to his announcement to athletic directors, Emmert also said the NCAA is going to have to make large-scale alterations in “policy” to prevent the realignment debacle from happening again.
In the past month or so, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M have all changed conferences, with the former two headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference and Texas A&M headed for the South Eastern Conference.
Rumors of Texas and Oklahoma joining the Pac-12 were shot down, however, and comissioner Larry Scott noted last week that the conference wasn’t as close to expansion as the media reported it to be.
Pac-12 upholds official calls against McDonald
Pac-12 officials supported official calls against USC junior safety T.J. McDonald during the Arizona State game, league spokesman David Hirsch said in an email.
The three controversial personal foul calls against McDonald accounted for 45 yards in a game that was separated by only one score going into the fourth quarter.
Though there was much discussion about Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s “dirty” play prior to Saturday’s game, it was the Trojans who were flagged more than the Sun Devils.
Arizona State had been flagged for 24 penalties for 241 yards in three games prior to its matchup against USC.
The Trojans, however, committed 10 penalties totaling 87 yards compared with the Sun Devils, who committed just six for 78 yards in USC’s 43-22 loss on Saturday. Burfict was only flagged for one personal foul.
USC coach Lane Kiffin did not agree with the calls and voiced his displeasure after the game, defending his star safety.
“When the runner is running at you, and you go to tackle him, isn’t it his job to get out of the way?” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “I really don’t know how you coach that unless you tell him to be a bad tackler.”
Though McDonald was penalized for the calls, he vows he won’t back down from his aggressive style of play in the future.
“After watching the film … what happened is what happened,” McDonald told ESPNLosAngeles.com, according to Pedro Moura. “I can’t change it but if I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t change it. The [penalties were] unfortunate but the fuel that comes behind it, that’s something we can all rally behind.”