DESTIN — The SEC will play eight league games in 2024 when it expands to 16 teams with the additions of Oklahoma and Texas, but beyond that the schedule model is to be determined.
Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Thursday, the second-to-last day of the SEC’s spring meetings, that the conference’s presidents voted to implement a short-term solution to a scheduling conundrum that has been debated within the league for more than a year.
“Our long-term options are fully open,” Sankey said.
Football matchups for the 2024 season will be released on June 14, without exact dates.
SEC leaders have been trying to decide between a nine-game conference schedule that would include three annual rivalry games and an eight-game model with one annual rivalry game.
The SEC leaders had already said they were planning to abandon the two-division structure the conference has had since 1991 when Texas and Oklahoma relocate from the Big 12.
The move comes a year earlier than the SEC originally expected. Texas and Oklahoma were contractually bound to the Big 12 through the 2024-25 school year.
The advanced timetable left some athletic directors apprehensive about rushing into an expanded conference slate.
Some schools such as LSU and Texas A&M have been clear in their support for playing more conference games, and a few such as Kentucky have been steadfast in their desire to stay at eight. It remains unclear exactly where each school stands.
Texas and Oklahoma athletic directors participated in this week’s meetings, but do not yet have voting rights.
Athletic directors cited College Football Playoff expansion from four to 12 teams in 2024 and the need to re-arrange future nonconference game that have already been booked.
There was also the question about whether ESPN, which becomes the exclusive home of the SEC next season, would pay for more an increased number of conference games.
By RALPH D. RUSSO, Associated Press