By Jimmy Hyams
SANDESTIN, FLA. – Auburn to the East? Missouri to the West? SEC realignment?
Those appear to be hot topics in the media, but not among athletic administrators at the annual SEC Spring Meetings.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey joked with the media Tuesday night that the only time he hears those issues mentioned is when he talks to reporters.
“I only address it in these meetings,’’ Sankey said of the Auburn to the East hypothesis.
In other words, it ain’t happening – at least not in the foreseeable future.
Sankey said an SEC study was done in 2013-14 about all football options and scheduling.
“And we landed where we are currently: eight conference games with the expectation of a ninth game played against a colleague conference institution with a divisional alignment that’s in place. And it’s worked well,’’ Sankey said.
What about eliminating divisions and having the two teams with the best SEC records play for the championship?
Sankey said that over the past 25 years since the league first expanded, division play in football “has worked. Are we comfortable? We’d said, absolutely.’’
Sankey said some years the SEC has pitted the two best teams. Other years it hasn’t.
“That’s a reality the membership has accepted,’’ Sankey said.
Sankey said doing away with divisions or realigning divisions are not agenda items at these meetings.
On other topics, Sankey said:
*Several proposals are in place for graduate transfers, including a penalty of one year (not the current three) for a school that signs a graduate player that doesn’t meet academic requirements.
*Alcohol sales at non-premium areas of football and basketball games is not on the agenda, but Sankey expects some discussion on the issue.
*The SEC is looking at collaborate replay for basketball.
*The NCAA has proposed a 14-week football model annually so as to grant two open dates a year.
*Basketball season might start earlier to provide a longer holiday break for players.
*South Carolina coach Frank Martin, who took the Gamecocks to the Final Four, got a standing ovation from his colleagues when he walked into the basketball meeting room.