SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said that this summer, and perhaps into the fall, "negotiations will continue on amending the SEC's TV contracts with CBS and ESPN to reflect the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri to the league." In Atlanta, Tim Tucker notes Slive "made it clear he feels the conference's expanded footprint significantly increases the value of its TV rights." Slive said, "There has been a whole lot of speculations about Project X. Is it still a secret? I don't think so, but we now call it Project SEC." He added, "Our objective long-term is to work with our television partners to provide fans with greater access to their favorite teams, more opportunities to watch rivals and more insight into who we are: a conference of 14 great universities" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 7/18).
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports SI Group Editor Terry McDonell is "expected to reveal to staffers by tomorrow that the buyout offer did not yield enough volunteers, forcing a number of involuntary cuts" to take place. McDonell's restructuring plan "aims at saving about $3 million in costs -- and a dozen people or more could lose their jobs." A source said that only "about nine people stepped forward to take a voluntary buyout package" (N.Y. POST, 7/18).
NEXT UP: In Indiana, Robert Howard noted NFLer Antwaan Randle El last Friday "officially announced his retirement." Randle El "will be working with the Big Ten Network in the fall as both a color analyst on the football field and in the studio." He also will "work on BTN's 'The Next Level' and will assist with" the Redskins preseason games as an analyst (TIMES OF NORTHWEST INDIANA, 7/14).
NEW ADDITION: Gabriele Marcotti is joining ESPN as a writer and analyst for the net's soccer coverage on TV and ESPNFC, a new multi-language, multi-country brand (ESPN). BROADCASTING & CABLE's Tim Baysinger noted Marcotti will "appear regularly on 'Press Pass,' the network's online soccer discussion show" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 7/16).