By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
DESTIN, Fla. – Following a full day of meetings at the Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings at the Sandestin Hilton on Wednesday, Commissioner Mike Slive addressed the media, discussing a wide variety of topics, including football and basketball scheduling formats.
Slive spoke about a joint meeting between the league’s athletics directors and head football coaches that took place on Wednesday afternoon regarding future scheduling formats.
“We had a vigorous discussion,” Slive said. “I thought our coaches were really impressive. They came in and they were very thoughtful. It was a sharing session with our athletic directors, thinking about all the various different formats and the pros and cons of each one. [The coaches] were really very thoughtful. I think they share the same complexities of developing a format that our athletic directors have been sharing over the last several months.”
Some of the issues discussed in regard to the football scheduling format included the desire to preserve traditional rivalries, the number of conference games to be played and how often each school will face members of the opposite division.
“I think everybody is trying to figure out what the priorities are,” Slive said. “It’s not easy. Depending on where you sit, your priorities may be different than another institution’s priorities, and how do you balance that? That’s really what is going on. It’s really a healthy discussion. I was quite impressed. I think before they get done, everybody will have thought through all the issues and the decision will be made.”
Slive said the groups seem to have devised a format that is most universally agreed upon. However, the formats will need to be discussed further between the SEC’s athletics directors before making a recommendation to the presidents and chancellors of each institution.
“Coming in, I think there’s a leader in the clubhouse, but I think the coaches went to the ADs and had a chance, after looking at it very carefully over the last several days, to come in and express their views on the pros and cons of each one,” Slive said. “It wasn’t a debate, it was just a discussion of what everybody thought was in the best interest of their own institution and what’s in the best interest of the league. At some point, a decision has to be made.”
Slive said Wednesday that he expects a decision to be reached by the conclusion of the meetings on Friday. The league’s presidents and chancellors would then vote on the recommended format.
“At this point, our athletic directors will think it through and, if they’re ready by Friday, they’ll decide on a format,” Slive said. “I anticipate that by Friday afternoon, we will have a format. There are pros and cons for every format. I was impressed with the thoughtfulness that the football coaches brought to the meeting today.”
The SEC’s head men’s and women’s basketball coaches also conducted joint meetings with the league’s athletics directors on Wednesday. Slive said the scheduling formats for basketball are close to being complete, and that there is no particular emphasis on making the men’s and women’s schedules similar.
“The ADs will have to finalize it, but I think we’re pretty much there,” Slive said. “It will be finalized Friday, I don’t think there’s any question about that. I think it’s important that we treat each sport on its own merits rather than try to mirror them. There’s no advantage for the league to try to mirror them. We listened to the women’s basketball coaches and they put forth a different format that we will consider, and will probably be accepted, but it’s different than the men’s.”
The league’s intent is that the decisions regarding the scheduling formats will help create a long-term model, but that it would always be possible to make adjustments if necessary.
“You can try something and if it isn’t really working in the best interest then you could always make an adjustment,” Slive said. “We’re going to try to take the best shot we can first.”
The SEC Spring Meetings continue through Friday in Destin.