SBD/February 1, 2013/Colleges

SEC's Womack Says Conference Discussing Football Scheduling Partnership With Big 12

A series might be difficult because most SEC teams need seven home games
SEC Exec Associate Commissioner Mark Womack on Wednesday said that the conference has "engaged in limited dialogue with the Big 12 about a partnership that includes regular-season football scheduling," according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. Womack: "That's a situation we would keep an open mind on, but we haven't had a lot of significant discussions at this point. There's a lot of different ways that could work. At this point, we're continuing to move forward with scheduling the conference as we've planned." Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby last week said that the league is "actively exploring a possible alliance with the ACC and two other conferences." Solomon wrote the idea would be "to use scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships to prevent further expansion in college sports." Womack said that a challenge series with another conference "would be difficult because most SEC schools need seven home games and some teams play traditional rivals in nonconference games." Solomon noted the SEC "remains in renegotiation discussions with CBS and ESPN since adding Texas A&M and Missouri." The conference is "expected to launch its own television network." Womack said that the SEC's TV partners are "most interested in dividing conference games evenly throughout the season to have quality inventory" (AL.com, 1/30). ESPN.com's Edward Aschoff wrote, "The SEC hasn't exactly been very consistent when it comes to scheduling tough out-of-conference foes, so having a partnership with the Big 12 would certainly boost SEC teams' strength of schedule with all those directional schools and FCS teams thrown into the mix." But a partnership with the Big 12 "would be a win for both conferences." It would "certainly make it tougher for SEC teams to get through the year unscathed, but a stronger résumé won't hurt in the end." Plus, "better matchups make for better, more exciting games" (ESPN.com, 1/31).
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