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Expansion a hot issue, but on SEC's back burner

SANDESTIN — The SEC wraps up its spring meeting today, and though expansion wasn't officially among the agenda items, it has been among the hot topics.

Commissioner Mike Slive made it clear Tuesday the league won't seriously consider expanding in the near future. And if Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany sticks to his December-issued timetable of making an expansion decision in 12 to 18 months, it's likely the topic will come up again next spring.

For many SEC coaches, the concept relates more to others than their league.

"I know that even back when I was in the Big Ten — and that's really the big key to all this stuff — it was always about Notre Dame then," Alabama football coach Nick Saban said. "Each year there was a big discussion about trying to get Notre Dame to join the Big Ten. And I think that's a lot of what it's about right now.

"(The Big Ten) may have some alternatives, and I'm sure that expansion is something that they want to try to do to improve their league so they can improve their TV contracts and maybe get a situation like we have with a great championship game, a two-division type thing. That was always the talk when I was in the Big Ten. Now that was 10 or 12 years ago and it's never really happened. I think that's what they are sort of after."

Georgia football coach Mark Richt said he hasn't studied the issue but he doesn't think it will affect the SEC soon.

Richt said he would be concerned about adding to the number of league games if the league were to expand. "You can add more teams as far as I'm concerned, but let's not add more league games," he said.

MOVING ON: Questions about how the Gators will fare in the post-Tim Tebow era continue for Florida coach Urban Meyer. Instead of distancing themselves from the past, Meyer said, the Gators will embrace it and try to build on it.

"You don't try to remove the past," Meyer said. "We've had a couple of team meetings, and I think — I don't know if 'chip on the shoulder' is the right word — but we've kind of developed a program there where they expect to try to go and compete for (the SEC Championship Game) every year. And there's a bunch of good players still there now. … It might not be the marquee-name guys right now, but hopefully they'll become that. I don't know if you turn the page; you just keep going. Everything's in decent shape. We did lose some good players, but others have got to step up."

TO RESEED OR NOT: Despite several days of discussion, the men's basketball coaches remain divided on a potential new seeding formula for the SEC tournament. The coaches spent time deciding whether to recommend legislation to re-seed teams. The idea of abolishing division play was essentially abandoned.

Antonya English can be reached at English@sptimes.com.

Expansion a hot issue, but on SEC's back burner 06/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 11:12pm]
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