THE REALIGNMENT CAPERS
Before we actually go line-by-line through Mike Slive's statement on conference realignment, let's explain why it's important to go line-by-line through Slive's statement. First, it's a bit extraordinary for the SEC to openly release this kind of statement, much less put it on their website. Slive could have quietly delivered these lines in a speech, and they might have gotten picked up by the local media, but it would have been just another statement. The only reason for the SEC to make such a big production of these lines is that they wanted it to be heard.
Secondly, Slive is a lawyer. If you've ever known anyone in law school, you know that they have to learn the slightly differences between words that you and I would use interchangeably. Lawyers are extraordinarily careful about what they say. The only way to read Slive's statement is to look at like he carefully crafted every word, because odds are he carefully crafted every word. Now that all of that introduction is out of the way, let's look at the statement.
In the 78 year history of the SEC, the conference had accepted the membership applications of only two institutions -- Arkansas and South Carolina. Texas A&M is now the third. We remain optimistic that Texas A&M will be a member of the SEC and have started to look at schedules for 2012-13 involving 13 teams.
We're not conference wreckers. The SEC has sparingly expanded in the last. Despite all the sound and fury you've heard over the last few days from Baylor, SEC expansion with Texas A&M is full speed ahead, and we intend to have them join the conference before next year.
As I said over the past year or so, the SEC has had no particular interest in expansion. We were, and are, happy with 12 teams. If Texas A&M’s President, Dr. Bowen Loftin had not called me in late July, we had no plans to explore adding an institution.
Texas A&M approached the SEC, not the other way around. Your case has no merit, Ken Starr, though that hasn't necessarily always stopped you.
However, when President Loftin called we became interested. Texas A&M is an outstanding academic institution with an exceptional athletic program, passionate fans and wonderful traditions. While the SEC wasn't thinking about expansion, it was impossible not to be interested in Texas A&M. As you can see from the unanimous vote of our twelve Presidents/Chancellors, we would very much like to have Texas A&M as a member of our conference.
Yes, we really do want Texas A&M. We're making sure that they have their legal house in order before we make everything official, and we didn't start this whole thing, but we want A&M now that they're available. So, please, other Big 12 schools, get out of the way and don't make this messier than it has to be. And we didn't start this whole thing. Please don't sue us.
When Texas A&M joins our conference, we don't have immediate plans for a 14th member. We aren’t thinking in terms of numbers. We think about the strength of the SEC and the attractiveness of Texas A&M as an institution.
When Texas A&M joins out conference. That means that we're only going to allow you to hold this thing up for so long, Baylor and the other Big 12 dwarfs. You want to lawyer up and come after Mike Slive; make my day. I've got a couple billion dollars sitting around in the conference account, and I'm not afraid to use it. Oh, and all aboard that's getting aboard. The expansion train is about to leave the station.
Note the stylistic and thematic similarities between that last line and this line from the statement Bernie Machen put out after the SEC non-vote on Texas A&M that was supposed to mean the conference wasn't taking Texas A&M.
The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.
It's the same thing here. Slive either is already in discussion with a 14th team or has a wish list. But that team has to come to the SEC first. Oh, and we're not starting anything with the 14th team. So please, don't sue us.
Oklahoma in the driver's seat
Whether this is some kind of feint to keep Texas from being the bad guy -- I doubt it -- or honestly how it went down, the words is that Oklahoma is now the problem. Ken Starr is now talking to lawyers in Norman.
In fact, before the Longhorns party had arrived, OU's board of regents had instructed school President David L. Boren to prepare a document to formally apply for admission to the Pac-12, a source close to the situation said.
Oh, and return of the pod people.
The ACC is willing to talk about a unique conference format that has intrigued Texas. Instead of divisions, the conference could be divided into four pods, with each pod containing four teams, to aid scheduling.
It's an idea that didn't work when the 16-team WAC tried it and won't work if a 16-team ACC tries it. It's confusing, a logistical nightmare and hurts the product on the field. Which is exactly why the ACC will probably try it.
Will Muschamp trying to break Urban Meyer's record
BOOM! has already had seven players arrested in nine months on the job -- and we have our latest incident involving a scooter. And violently resisting arrest. This Finley guy's a keeper.
UPDATE: Finley's charge was reduced by the state attorney to misdemeanor resisting arrest without violence.
Mass confusion in the AP poll
The upshot for the SEC is that Alabama has one more first-place vote and South Carolina is really in the Top 10. The Gamecocks' win against Georgia was so impressive they moved up a day later.