SEC going to 8-game slate in ’24 sans divisions

  • Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff WriterJun 1, 2023, 05:59 PM ET


    • Covers the SEC.Joined ESPN
    • in 2012.
    • Graduate of Auburn University.The SEC won’t be moving

to a nine-game conference schedule after all. But it will be moving forward in 2024 without divisions.Commissioner Greg Sankey told reporters Thursday that the league has authorized a temporary eight-game conference schedule for the 2024 football season when it invites Texas and Oklahoma to the league.Sankey stated that the league will continue checking out scheduling options for 2025 and beyond.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated

Sankey had highly hinted at his choice for a nine-game conference schedule leading up to the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin,

Florida, this week. The proposition would have included three permanent opponents, which would preserve enduring rivalries, along with six rotating opponents.In response to a question about the argument for a nine-game schedule, Sankey stated Monday, “A league at the leading edge of college sports does not stand still.”The SEC presently plays an eight-game conference schedule– games against all 6 division opponents plus two cross-divisional games. The eight-game conference schedule talked about at this week’s spring conferences includes one permanent challenger and 7 rotating opponents.Sankey stated the eight-game schedule in 2024 will be based upon “fairness and balance”and that”standard competitions”would be a major factor.”We comprehend the essential matches,”he said.Other than the obvious competitions such as Alabama-Auburn, Georgia-Florida and Mississippi

State-Ole Miss, sources informed ESPN’s Chris Low that a concern for the league would be preserving other enduring competitions such as Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia and Texas-Texas A&M throughout the 2024 season.There were a

variety of problems causing concern amongst stakeholders relating to the nine-game conference schedule. Among them: competitive balance and the desire for more profits in return for the extra conference game.Asked about the possibility of being made up for an additional conference game, Sankey stated he thinks,”Money follows. It does not lead.

“Coaches concentrated on the effect a ninth conference game would have on bowl eligibility and the ability to make the College Football Playoff.Alabama coach Nick Saban had been a supporter for playing 9 conference games in the past. However his position appeared to alter recently, focusing instead on the requirement to play only Power 5 groups, which he said would be much better for fans and improve groups’

strength of schedules.”I think among the more difficult things with going to 9 games is we’ve attempted to arrange 2 out-of-conference Power

5 games to attempt to improve our strength of schedule over the next seven, 8, 9, ten years. And if we go to 9 games, we’ll have to loosen up that,”he stated.”My deal was constantly to play more SEC games because we could not get other individuals to schedule. So now I believe there’s more individuals in tune to scheduling. So having a balance is most likely the most crucial thing.”Florida coach Billy Napier stated he wondered about the effect scheduling would have on at-large bids in a broadened 12-team playoff in 2024 and beyond. How strength of schedule is viewed would be a”important aspect” in the choice, he said.Georgia coach Kirby Smart took a various approach, calling the entire debate over 8 vs. nine conference games “the most overrated conversation there ever was.” He explained that, despite 8 or nine conference

games, by moving to a division-less format each group would play every opponent in the SEC two times– house and away– throughout a four-year period.In the past, cross-divisional groups might go long extends without playing each other. When Georgia took a trip to Mississippi State last season, it was its very first journey to Starkville given that 2010.”I get conventional rivalries. You have 2, you have three, you have one, “Smart stated.”You guys need something to write about bad when you start speaking about this. It’s just not that huge an offer to me. Because you need to win your games to advance, right? You require to be in the SEC championship, perhaps, with broadened playoff. That’s a lot better subject for me.

Is somebody going to get an advantage by not going to the SEC champion however making the playoff?”Smart said it would be hard potentially losing the Auburn rivalry. A previous Georgia football player, he

counts himself among the fans who wish to see it continue every year.” But I believe it’s one of the costs of progress bringing two more teams in,”he stated. “It’s one of the costs of scheduling, getting more balance in terms of you’re going to play everybody. I think that it’s not going to be just Georgia -Auburn, it’s going to be someone else vs. somebody else. In some cases you call that progress. In some cases you distress the fan.”I think that that’s an excellent dispute

… due to the fact that your traditionalists desire those rivalries and others wish to see you play the teams they never ever get to see you play. You can’t have both. “The SEC will reveal the full 2024 schedule June 14.

“We have actually been engaged in planning for the entry of Oklahoma and Texas into the SEC considering that the summertime of 2021, however the modification of the membership date from 2025 to 2024 creates scheduling intricacies that can much better be handled with a 1 year schedule,”Sankey stated. “Producing an one-year schedule will supply a longer on-ramp to handle football scheduling around existing nonconference commitments of our members. It will likewise offer additional time to understand the effect of an expanded College Football Playoff and engage with our media

partners as we determine the appropriate long-term plan for

SEC football scheduling.” The SEC likewise updated its field gain access to policy.Each school should offer security and a uniformed authorities existence around the going to group and game authorities before, throughout and after competition to prevent contact with fans. It will also be a requirement that groups produce a safe, clear path off the playing surface in the event of a field or court storming.Penalties for violations were increased to$100,000 for the first offense,$250,000 for the 2nd offense and$500,000 for each extra offense.If the checking out team and game authorities have actually cleared the playing surface before fans enter the field or court, the home school may avoid the prescribed charge.

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