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Former MSU AD Templeton will help league with 13-team format

 

Matthew Stevens

 

Former Mississippi State Athletic Director Larry Templeton expects to contribute to the Southeastern Conference's 13-team league schedules for all sports next season. 

 

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday he has organized a "transition team" to evaluate options in making the schedules for an uneven number of teams in the league. 

 

"We understand it's not easy," Slive said. "We understand it's particularly difficult in football. We'll be convening our ADs in the next several weeks, and they'll begin to view the different options we can put together. I really just don't want to get out in front of all that at this point." 

 

On Tuesday, two days after welcoming Texas A&M as the SEC's 13th member, Slive said SEC presidents and chancellors aren't considering any other schools for admission into the league, and that Texas A&M was the only one to submit an application. 

 

Templeton, a paid consultant for the SEC, said his opinions won't be the only ones voiced in the scheduling issues. He stressed in a phone interview Tuesday that no decisions about the course of action to follow in making schedules have been made. 

 

"I would assume and expect everybody in the conference office would be involved in this monumental task of assigning schedules for our 16 sports," Templeton said. "Nothing has even been discussed. I've seen reports already about potential solutions and that's all speculation that are a hundred steps closer than we are in reality right now." 

 

Slive said Tuesday that at least four people will have most of the control of the transition team. 

 

"We have a point person and then we have three of our senior associates at the executive level," Slive said. "Then we have a whole raft of our people." 

 

Templeton, who helped the SEC negotiate its current television package with ESPN, said the division makeups and the number of league games for football is still up for debate. 

 

"We have to talk to our television partners and see what their input is (and) are we playing a seven-, eight-, or nine-game football schedule next season," Templeton said. 

 

Slive reiterated Tuesday he anticipates the SEC having just 13 school members in 2012-13. 

 

"I know there will be enormous speculation," Slive said. "There will be speculation about how we're going to schedule. There'll be speculation about whether we're going to go to 14, and if we go to 14, who's that going to be, how's that going to happen, when's that going to happen. They're all appropriate questions. We will deal with those on a timetable that works for us." 

 

Templeton is confident Texas A&M's move to the SEC won't affect the league's television arrangement, which is a concern for MSU officials and fans in one of the smallest media markets. 

 

"We feel comfortable every game will be on a major network and will be in as good or better situation as we have now," Templeton said. "We got those assurances before formally accepting A&M to the league. That was part of the deal." 

 

Slive attempted to explain Monday in College Station, Texas, about a "look-in" line item to the contract with ESPN/ABC and how expansion to the league will allow for modifications. 

 

"That means that periodically, when either side wants to, we can take time out, meet, look into the agreement based on all the changes in the landscape, changes in technology," Slive said. "The bottom line is to make sure both sides of the agreement get the basis of the bargain that they came to the table with at the outset, so we will be doing that with ESPN."

 

 

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