April 22, 2014 9:20:15 AM
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive wants to know the future of his league's football teams to set their schedules before the conference meetings.
Slive expects the SEC to decide in the next month whether its football teams will move to nine-game conference schedules for the 2016 season and beyond.
While speaking to reporters at the Associated Press Sports Editors' Southeast Regional meeting at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Slive said the SEC will make the decision before its schools' chancellors, athletics directors, and coaches' annual spring meetings next month in Destin, Fla.
"People are going to have to make a decision knowing whatever decision they make, they are going to have advantages and disadvantages," Slive said.
Former Mississippi State Director of Athletics Larry Templeton is in charge of scheduling in the conference office. He would need a template as soon as possible to divide the schedule evenly for the next three or four seasons.
The league is looking at several proposals that involve eight- and nine-game schedules that could end the permanent cross-divisional opponents. MSU always has had a cross divisional rivalry with Kentucky. The problems for athletics directors and coaches have been removing a non-conference game for another SEC opponent and permanent crossover opponents for schools. The athletics directors for all 14 member institutions have seen what those schedules would look like if selected. MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin has declined repeatedly to say how he'll vote on the issue.
"You have to figure out what's more important," Stricklin said. "Do you just worry about playing everybody in your division, or play everybody as often as possible? I don't know the answer."
Stricklin said in 2012 when Texas A&M and Missouri joined the league he believed the SEC had to be creative in scheduling for 14 members. He said that the league's predecessors developed a model in the early 1990s so that teams played each other more often.
"I think the fans enjoyed it and it served its purpose really well," Stricklin said. "They didn't get stuck in the past."
Al.com reported Monday the decision about scheduling could be made in early May at a pre-scheduled meeting with athletics directors, according to a source familiar with the process.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.
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