Clemson and Georgia have started talks that could result in the cancellation of the football series planned between the two schools for 2013 and 2014.
UGA athletics director Greg McGarity confirmed the talks Tuesday, though there has been "no resolution or final determination yet," according to UGA.
Talks were initiated by Clemson as a result of the ACC’s move earlier this year to expand to a nine-game conference schedule to accommodate 14 members in the league.
At least at this point in time, a nine-game football schedule has little support among the membership for myriad reasons, with the ADs at Georgia and Tennessee being the lone known exceptions.
2012 #SEC football conference schedule will be released tomorrow (Wed.) at 9 am CT (10 am ET). Catch it on www.secdigitalnetwork.com.
It is all but official, based on talking to someone with knowledge of the schedule talks, that Georgia will not play Alabama next year. A trip to Missouri early in the season (probably Sept. 8, the second week) will replace the previously-scheduled trip to South Carolina, which will be moved to midseason (probably Oct. 5, the sixth week).
And it's not expected that much if anything will change with the rest of Georgia's original 2012 schedule. The four non-conference games are expected to stay where they were.
McGarity said Thursday that a new model would be used for 2013 and beyond. It’s not known what that model will be, but it will not be a nine-game schedule, Bloom said. The SEC has repeatedly asserted it is not adding another conference game since expanding to include Missouri and Texas A&M.
Lost amid the expansion debate has been this question -- why does going to 14 teams make blockbuster financial sense for the SEC? (I've already written that 16 teams is the ultimate destination and explained why that makes sense).
Most have pointed to the renegotiation that will occur in the CBS and ESPN contracts. Indeed, there will be an increased rights fee paid for Texas A&M and the 14th team's addition to the league. And that increase may well be substantial. But that's not the only motivation behind expansion.
I talked with SEC commissioner Mike Slive in detail at the SEC spring meetings in Destin and again at SEC media days. He told me then that he had a couple of revenue producing ideas that he'd formulated. I asked him if he'd be willing to share those plans then and he wasn't.
But I think I know one of them -- Slive is going to pool the local multimedia rights for SEC schools and create an actual SEC Network when he gets the chance to reopen the CBS and ESPN contracts.
The official said there was a 30 to 40 percent chance that the presidents could vote against Texas A&M’s membership. He also said there was the issue of which university would become the 14th team, something many in college sports will monitor.
"We realize if we do this, we have to have the 14th," the SEC official said. "No name has been thrown out. This thing is much slower out of the shoot than the media and blogs have made it."
Chancellors like to be aligned with other schools that possess highly regarded academic reputations. The big dollars of the SEC are enticing, but having an association with Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia is not to be underestimated when evaluating chancellors’ motivations.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe promised big bucks last month to save his disintegrating conference at the last possible second, and Texas A&M is taking the man at his word: University president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement/warning Wednesday that A&M "fully anticipate(s) that the Big 12 will honor its commitment" to distribute $20 million a year to its biggest fish, TAMU, Texas and Oklahoma, beginning in 2012. If it doesn't? A&M will "explore every legal avenue" to get its money, according to another high-ranking official, including the much-rumored defection to the SEC the Aggies held over their rivals' heads when it looked like the rest of the Big 12 South was about to bolt for the Pac-10.
The saying goes that Texans like things bigger. So with this week’s public announcement by Texas A&M’s university president Bowen Loftin that his institution would forego a courtship by the SEC to join the biggest collegiate athletic conference in the country to remain in a smaller Big 12 minus Nebraska and Colorado, needless to say it hasn’t gone over well with the Aggie faithful.