DESTIN — The SEC basketball tournament is expected to return to Tampa before the league begins its effort to host the tournament at a "primary site" on a more permanent basis.
The SEC athletic directors this week gave commissioner Mike Slive the green light to proceed finalizing agreements to host in St. Louis in 2017 and Tampa in 2018.
Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director Rob Higgins said Wednesday afternoon that his organization bid for both years, but he has not received official word from the conference.
"We bid on 2017 and 2018, and we're eager to find out the results to that bid," Higgins said. "We felt good about our conversations with SEC officials."
Slive said this week that the league has decided to explore the option to start hosting the men's tournament at a primary site, with an occasional rotation.
"The (athletic directors) thought it was time to explore the possibility of a primary site, and we will begin that exploration shortly," Slive said.
CARTER'S STATUS UP IN THE AIR: Florida coach Billy Donovan said Wednesday that he's still uncertain whether Rutgers transfer Eli Carter can play for the Gators this season. Carter transferred after the dismissal of coach Mike Rice following allegations of abusing his players.
"There's probably going to be some kind of an appeals process, and really it probably starts first and foremost with Rutgers," Donovan said. "Rutgers has probably got to figure out how they are going to handle that kind of stuff. We have not done anything in terms of reaching out to Rutgers at all. I think that will probably start with Eli in terms of what he's going to do on his end for the appeal. I think at the end of the day the NCAA is going to go to Rutgers at some point and going to want to hear from them, that they're fine for this to happen if these kids that have decided to leave are going to be in position to play right away. But that's something that Eli is going to have to write a letter and the NCAA, I'm assuming they will look at them all individually.
"I haven't heard anything one way or another and have not been involved with it."
Donovan said he's also awaiting grades for incoming recruits Kasey Hill and Chris Walker. Their status is uncertain. "I always keep my fingers crossed on every freshman class coming in," Donovan said.
UF-UM football, NO MORE? The Gators and Hurricanes will play in Miami on Sept. 7, but UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said that continuing to keep Miami on the football schedule is not a priority. The schools met annually from 1938-87 but have played only five times since — twice in bowl games.
"You never say never," Foley said. "But that's not high on the agenda right now. You've got too many other issues. For me to sit here and say we'll do that right now down the road, there's too many unknowns with scheduling right now. Your nine conference games, plus Florida State. I'd probably tell you it's really unlikely."
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]