Looks like I owe Mike Slive something of an apology.
Why now for the SEC? In part because the SEC got passed financially by other conference TV deals since 2008. The SEC had a “look-in” — a review of the agreement — written into the contract after the first five years, although in this case it happened sooner. [Emphasis added.]
Given the typically conservative nature of SEC business – note that the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the conference isn’t taking an ownership stake in the new network – I can’t say I’m surprised that Slive exercised that level of prudence in negotiating the prior deal. But I am surprised we’re just now hearing about it.
Which is why I say something of an apology. Because what I thought all along was the compelling reason for the SEC’s expansion to 14 schools – to back out of a dated set of broadcast deals – turns out not to be relevant at all. So where was the fire, Commissioner?
I don’t ask that question as a knock against either Missouri or Texas A&M. But the rush to expand has left the conference struggling for two years trying to figure out how to schedule its two marquee sports and it’s clear to this point that the results have been less than great. Why couldn’t a little more time have been taken to get everyone’s ducks in a row?
All I can figure is that, never mind the serene talk about how the SEC would have been fine staying at twelve, Slive was a lot more worried about being cut out of new dance partners than he’s ever let on. I’ll let you decide what that might mean about further conference expansion.