HOOVER, Ala. — The SEC is in the final weeks of evaluating the feasibility of an SEC television network, and conference commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday a final decision is expected this fall, a year before the league's existing contracts expire.
The conference is trying to decide whether to form a network completely devoted to SEC sports, similar to that of the Mountain West, the Big Ten and the NFL Network. The SEC currently has television contracts with CBS, ESPN, Raycom Sports and FSN South.
"(An SEC channel) would include the ability to improve national distribution for all of our sports, the ability to enhance the SEC brand nationally, the opportunity to provide a window for nonathletic programming … and the ability to increase revenue distribution to our member institutions," Slive said.
Slive said there has been a "high" level of interest shown by many networks, which he attributes to the league's success. Five SEC teams were ranked in the Top 15 in the final AP poll last season and the league has had the past two BCS national champions (Florida and LSU).
NO DEFENSE NECESSARY: Add LSU coach Les Miles to the list of coaches who win a national championship then swear they aren't the defending national champions.
"The '08 is where we're at," Miles said. "We're not defending. We're not dealing with rankings. This is a brand new year. If we're defending, come see the trophy. It's in our trophy case. We're not defending it, it's a brand new year. We got a brand new team."
STAR POWER: Make no mistake, Tim Tebow is the star attraction wherever he goes. Florida's junior quarterback upstaged his coach, Urban Meyer, and skateboarding phenom Tony Hawk during the first day of SEC Football Media Days.
Normally, the lobby at the Wynfrey Hotel is reserved for an overflow of Alabama fans hoping to get an autograph from the Crimson Tide coach. Or Auburn. With Tebow making his first media days appearance, Florida fans looking for him filled the lobby.
Among them was Emma King, who was celebrating her seventh birthday. She and her mom, Michele, stood in the lobby with a sign that read: "ALL I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY IS TO MEET TIM TEBOW."
Even Hawk, a star in his own right who was in town as part of his tour, was upstaged by Tebow. For the 20-year-old Heisman Trophy winner, it's par for the course.
"It's not a negative at all," he said. "… Gator fans are just like that. They're excited and they are everywhere."
HE SAID IT: "If my father were alive, he'd say you're not worth it. And I'd say, 'You're right.' " — Miles on the salaries SEC coaches earn, including his. (He earns more than $3.5-million annually).
OBSCURE FACT OF THE DAY: With Tony Joiner gone, Tebow has a new roommate — receiver Riley Cooper, a former Clearwater Central Catholic standout.