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Tag:Bernie Machen
Posted on: November 6, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 11:36 am
 

SEC officially announces Missouri joins in 2012

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The worst kept secret in the south became official Sunday morning, as the Southeastern Conference officially announced that Missouri would join the league in 2012 along with Texas A&M. The announcement from the SEC is below.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (November 6, 2011) – The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that the University of Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year. 

The addition of Missouri will increase SEC membership to 14 institutions.  The additions of Texas A&M, announced on September 25, 2011, and Missouri, are the first expansions for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league.  The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in August of 1991.  With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC was the first conference to split into divisions and add a conference championship game in 1992.

“The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC,” said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida.  “The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”

“The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri,” said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. “In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university.  We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league.”

Missouri, located in Columbia, will also be the fourth institution in the Southeastern Conference to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, joining University of Florida, Texas A&M University and Vanderbilt University.  Missouri has an enrollment of 33,800 students, which would be the fourth largest institution in the SEC, with Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M having a larger student body.  There are more than 260,000 “Mizzou” alumni around the world.  The State of Missouri borders three SEC states: Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, and they bring an existing rivalry with former conference foe Texas A&M.

Missouri athletic teams have excelled recently.  Its men’s basketball team has made it to the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and 24 times overall.  The Tiger football team has been to post-season bowl games for six straight years and 28 times overall.  The softball team has participated in the College World Series each of the last three seasons.  The Tigers have won Big 12 Championships in men’s basketball, soccer and softball. 

“I am pleased to officially welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC family on behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.  “Missouri is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program.  We look forward to having the Tigers compete in our league starting in 2012.”

The Tigers sponsor 20 varsity sports.  Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country.  Women’s sports include basketball, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country and volleyball.  Missouri participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except men’s tennis and the SEC sponsors every sport the Tigers participate in except wrestling.

Posted on: September 25, 2011 5:09 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2011 5:21 pm
 

It's official: Texas A&M to join SEC July 1, 2012

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The wait is over: Texas A&M is a member of the SEC.

The conference announced on its website Sunday afternoon that the Aggies will join as official members beginning July 1, 2012, and will compete in all sports for the 2012-2013 academic year.

"The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family," Florida president Dr. Bernie Machen said in a statement. "The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."

On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family," commissioner Mike Slive said.  "Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence—athletically, academically and culturally."

Aggie president R. Bowen Loftin repeated his oft-stated claim that the Aggies' bolt from the Big 12 to the SEC was a "100-year decision" the school "addressed carefully and methodically, and I believe the Southeastern Conference gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country."

With the announcement, the SEC officially puts behind it the legal questions that had dogged A&M since it announced its plan to join the league and the possibility those questions would keep the school out of the league until the 2013 football season. The recent commitment of Oklahoma to keep the Big 12 together likely played a substantial role in Baylor withdrawing its legal objections.

The SEC is expected to play the 2012 season with 13 football teams. A schedule has yet to be announced--but the Aggies now know for certain they'll be one of the teams included.

Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Baylor stands between A&M and the SEC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As we've told you about, the SEC voted to accept Texas A&M as the conference's thirteenth member on Tuesday night, but there still seems to be a roadblock or two in the Aggies way. The SEC originally received a notice from the Big 12 on September 2nd that said the SEC was free to accept Texas A&M as a member without fear of any legal repercussions from any other member of the Big 12. 

Something that no longer seems to be the case according to a release from the SEC on Wednesday which said that the conference has voted to accept Texas A&M, but won't officially bring the school into the fold until a certain member of the Big 12 agrees to accept the move.

"After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member," said Bernie Machen in the statement. "The presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011."

Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin released a statement of his own saying pretty much the same thing on Wednesday morning.

“We are certainly pleased with the action taken last night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league’s 13th member. However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.”

While neither the SEC or Texas A&M will name this one Big 12 member, it's generally been acknowledged that the school is Baylor. The same Baylor that launched a bit of a grassroots campaign to keep the Big 12 together on Tuesday.

Can Baylor keep Texas A&M from leaving the Big 12? Probably not, but it's hard to blame the school for trying seeing as how the school doesn't know what the future will hold should the Big 12 completely dissolve.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 9:37 am
 

Official statement from SEC on Texas A&M

Posted by Chip Patterson

Statement from Dr. Bernie Machen, Chair, Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors:

After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.
Posted on: August 14, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:44 pm
 

SEC finishes meeting, doesn't invite Texas A&M

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The SEC has just finished its scheduled meeting of its presidents and chancellors, and unfortunately for secession-minded Texas A&M fans, the conference is staying put at 12 teams -- for now. Here's the full statement released by presidents and chancellors chair (and Florida president) Bernie Machen:

“The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.”

What Machen didn't say is that Texas A&M won't be invited to the SEC; if the chancellors and presidents didn't want the Aggies to come, the statement would likely have been worded with a bit more finality. As it stands, the conference is clearly leaving the door open to expansion.

It's also worth pointing out that the Texas A&M Board of Regents has yet to authorize school president R. Bowen Loftin (who did not attend the SEC's meeting) to negotiate its conference standing; that action is set to take place Monday. Texas A&M is still a member of the Big 12, and it might not even be legal for the SEC to invite the Aggies at this point.  In other words, the "future conditions" Machen talks about may be as simple as Texas A&M applying to the SEC, or at the very least setting an end date to its affiliation to the Big 12. Either way, the metaphorical ball likely wasn't in the SEC's court to begin with.

Moreover, Texas state Rep. Dan Branch has called for a hearing before his Committee on Higher Education on Tuesday, with officials from the Big 12, SEC and Texas A&M invited. The Texas state legislation has been active in conference affiliation matters in the past; it pushed for Baylor's inclusion alongside Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech in the "Pac-16" plan that eventually fell through, for example. Branch has said it would be "inappropriate" for Texas A&M to go to the SEC before the Tuesday meeting, and Loftin said that he would be present at that meeting, and that the Regents.

Arkansas chancellor Dave Gearheart attended the meeting, and said that while no action was taken on Texas A&M, the school was certainly one of the topics of discussion. "It was really an open discussion, not just about A&M but about the future of the conference and the future of other conferences," Gearhart said. "We did talk about Texas A&M. It's a great university, a great place. But I think the decision was to make no decision at this particular time."

This issue isn't put to bed by any stretch. An unnamed SEC official told the New York Times' Pete Thamel that the meeting was to let Texas A&M "get its house in order." But for now, Texas A&M is stuck with the Big 12. Saturday, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe issued a statement that the conference had "unanimous desires" for Texas A&M to remain a member, and that the conference "took actions [...] to adequately address those concerns" that Texas A&M had raised.

Texas A&M's main problem revolved around the upcoming Longhorn Network, the Texas-affiliated sports channel set to launch this fall. In particular, Texas A&M was among many Big 12 members who objected to the channel's plans to air an in-conference football game and high school games involving high-profile recruits. Both of those options have since been taken off the table, with the NCAA issuing a moratorium on all collegiate networks airing high school games.

Still, the mere suggestion that these ideas were planned by the network may have been enough to sour Texas A&M on the Big 12 for good, regardless of what the Longhorn Network actually does, and it probably didn't help matters when Beebe told the conference that it can survive without Texas A&M and speculated on candidates to replace the Aggies, namely Houston and Notre Dame

Members of the Texas A&M coaching staff and its players declined any comment that indicated any interest in the potential move. Head coach Mike Sherman said "I don't pay a lot of attention to [the SEC issue]" after an afternoon practice on Sunday. Senior safety Trent Hunter agreed, saying "it's not anything that's going to affect us playing SMU in that first week."

Loftin issued a statement through Texas A&M on Sunday on the issue.

"As we have seen over the past several days, there has been a considerable amount of misinformation regarding these discussions and any associated timelines. The chairman of our board has indicated that the regents will proceed with tomorrow's agenda item, which authorizes the president of Texas A&M to take all actions related to athletic conference alignment. I will also accept Chairman Branch's invitation to participate in his committee's hearing on Tuesday. These are extremely complex issues, and it is imperative that we proceed methodically and in the best interests of Texas A&M." 


RapidReporter Brent Zwenerman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Posted on: May 15, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 2:29 pm
 

Richt: oversigning 'an awful thing to do'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Could the SEC be headed towards a showdown over oversigning?

Mike Slive has promised the league will "take a look" at stronger measures to address the issue during its annual spring meeting, and you don't have to squint to see two factions forming as regards that "look": one featuring coaches like Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier (amongst others) who have defended their use of "grayshirts," and one with Florida president Bernie Machen and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity who would like to see it prohibited.

So where does Mark Richt's allegiances in this potential battle lie? If McGarity's position didn't already make them plain, his comments to a Greenville (S.C.) gathering of Bulldog alumni this past week put them beyond all doubt:
"If you sign a class, you can only bring in as many as you have room for, so let's say you have 85 on scholarship and let's say you have 15 seniors graduating. Well, there's only 15 more spots for 85, you can sign 25 guys, by rule, and in February you can sign those 25 guys," Richt said. "Now, by the time that season starts, you may have more attrition, five more guys may leave for whatever reason, may go pro, transfer, so let's say you're down to 20.

"You've got 20 spaces but you've still signed 25. Well, you can bring them in during the summer, work them and let your strength staff work with them, and decide which ones you like the best. The other five, you can tell them, 'Hey, we know we signed you, we expect you to come in, but we don't have space for you, we're sorry, but you have to leave and come back in January.'"

After a brief pause, Richt gave his feelings on that particular tactic.

"I think that's an awful thing to do," Richt said. "It's nothing that we have ever done since we've been at Georgia."
Of course, with his very next breath, Richt admitted that he had "talked to a kid about grayshirting" before Signing Day, in the unlikely event the Bulldogs roster remained too full for fall enrollment. (He said that despite those discussions, the Bulldogs' recruits had all "come in with their class.") It'd an admission that illustrates how difficult legislating change would be for Slive and proponents like Machen. How do you write a rule that differentiates between the kind of agreed-upon-by-all-parties scenario Richt describes, and a case like LSU's Elliott Porter, who last August was asked to move out of his LSU dorm room after Les Miles ran out of scholarships?

We're not sure. But given his vehemence, it sounds like Richt will be perfectly happy to see Slive and Co. try ... or simply do away with grayshirting all together.

HT: the AJC.

Posted on: May 5, 2011 4:00 pm
 

SEC to donate $500,000 to tornado relief

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Are there any sports fans in America more completely devoted to their competition of choice than SEC fans are to their football?

We're going to say no, and so it's only appropriate that the conference has repaid a small part of that devotion today by announcing a $500,000 donation to the University of Alabama to aid its relief efforts in the wake of last week's tornado disaster. The conference issued a release including the following statements:
“Our hearts go out to all the victims of these recent tornados but especially to our academic colleagues and their students,” said Dr. Bernie Machen , President of the University of Florida and the Southeastern Conference. “While we compete fiercely in athletics we also support each other fiercely in times of need. The efforts of the conference and our institutions will help alleviate the effects of this devastating catastrophe" ...

“The tornados that went through Tuscaloosa have severely impacted the lives of students, faculty and staff of the University of Alabama, and will continue to do so for months to come,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “We express our sympathies and prayers to everyone who has been impacted by this storm and we are pleased to be able to assist in the recovery efforts.”
The league has also encouraged its fans to donate to the university's "Acts of Kindness" fund, available here, which has been "established to support an emergency-assistance program for university faculty, staff and students."

It goes without saying, however, that even $500,000 is only a drop in the bucket of what is needed to help the South rebuild from the deadliest U.S. disaster since Katrina. Please consider donating $10 by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 or visiting redcross.org.
Posted on: March 1, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Offseason of Oversigning continued to make headlines last week when a pair of South Carolina recruits publicly admitted they were told less than 24 hours before Signing Day that the Gamecocks would not have room in their 2011 class for them. (Though academic concerns may have played a role in Steve Spurrier and his staff's decision, other Gamecock recruits with similarly uncertain grade issues were not asked to grayshirt.)

Thanks in part to the timing of that story, it seems, the Wall Street Journal has also turned its attention to oversigning . In this piece , published yesterday, SEC head coaches Spurrier, Houston Nutt, and Bobby Petrino each defend their team's having signed more players than permitted by the NCAA's 25-players-per-class or 85-players-on-scholarship limits.

Petrino said he signed according to a formula that took players' academic standing into account and included players with "absolutely no chance" of qualifying; on oversigning in general, he said he doesn't "see it as a bad thing unless you're being dishonest or waiting until the last minute." Similarly, Nutt said he had never waited until the last minute to tell a recruit "oh by the way you don't have a scholarship." (This might be news to receiver Collins Moore, who Nutt told a week before Signing Day he didn't have a scholarship at Ole Miss, at least not until 2012.)

But the most interesting quotes of all belonged to the "Ol' Ball Coach," who criticized the Big Ten for not oversigning ("I think that really hurts them a lot"), said that initial problem with the two potentially grayshirted recruits was that more prospects had chosen the Gamecocks than had been expected, and that they'd been chosen because they were the two commitments with the most work to do academically. Most intriguing of all, Spurrier admitted he could have handled the "situation" more smoothly:
"What we probably could've done earlier in the recruiting is tell them that this could happen," he said. "But then again, we didn't know it was going to come up. It's a ticklish situation."
"Ticklish" or not, the coach of one of those players clearly isn't happy with the Gamecocks over their approach:
[Jordan] Montgomery's high school coach, Walter Banks , said, "I told them this was foul. I didn't have a clue until 18 hours before signing day, and if they say anything else, they're lying."
To be fair to Spurrier and the other coaches, the story's bevy of quotes from recruits (and their parents) makes it clear that oversigning isn't a particularly big concern on their end (though that also seems to stem from the abundant self-belief that they won't be the ones in danger should the roster ax end up swinging). And with at least one of the two Carolina recruits (and possibly both) still planning on enrolling in Columbia once they can, it's safe to say the parties most immediately affected don't see Spurrier's actions as -- to quote Florida president and grayshirting critic Bernie Machen -- "morally reprehensible."

But whether it's an issue to recruits or not, whether Spurrier and the other SEC coaches defend it or not, the assault on oversigning from power brokers like Machen and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity mean legislative change on oversigning could be coming all the same. (Maybe as soon as this year's annual SEC meetings , if Mike Slive is to be believed.) And until/unless that change happens, Spurrier and the rest of the SEC can't expect the negative attention from outlets like the Journal to simply go away.
 
 
 
 
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