Football schedule, TV key topics at SEC meetings

DESTIN, Fla. — Football and television are two of the biggest entities on the American social landscape.

This week’s Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting will be no different.

The SEC’s 14 member schools are expected to once again take up the thorny issue of football scheduling this week as the conference tries to pencil in games for 2014 and beyond.

LSU officials and coach Les Miles will once again resume the drumbeat to significantly alter the SEC’s football scheduling format and eliminate permanent crossover opponents from the other division, in the Tigers’ case Florida from the SEC East.

The SEC uses a 6-1-1 scheduling format in which a team plays every team in its division, one permanent opponent from the opposite division and one rotating team from the opposite division.

LSU fought to eliminate permanent opponents at last year’s meeting and lost, but because the conference couldn’t come up with a long-term scheduling plan, the fight was carried over to this year’s meeting.

SEC members are also expected to consider the possibility of expanding the conference schedule from eight to nine games, which would help create more inventory for the new SEC Network, which will go online in 2014.

SEC schools and ESPN, which will run the network on the conference’s behalf, will discuss such issues as distribution, programming and how the network may impact scheduling in all sports.

Also likely to be on the agenda are SEC bowl tie-ins. With the Chick-fil-A and Cotton bowls joining the six-bowl lineup for the College Football Playoff starting after the 2014 regular season, the SEC may be looking for additional bowl partners or may decide to stay with who it has.

LSU will be represented at this year’s meeting by a familiar group of players, although that group will soon be changing.

Athletic Director Joe Alleva, football coach Les Miles, men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones and women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell are among the prime players. Also expected to attend is interim chancellor Bill Jenkins and several other LSU officials and administrators.

It was hoped newly appointed LSU President F. King Alexander would be able to attend this year’s Spring Meeting, but his final commencement ceremony at Long Beach State will keep him at that school instead. Alexander will begin serving as LSU system president July 1.

This will also be the final Spring Meeting as a member of the LSU staff for senior associate athletic director Herb Vincent. The SEC announced Friday that Vincent will be taking over as associate commissioner for communications in September.

The meetings wrap up Friday, when the SEC will announce this year’s financial distribution figures.

Member schools each received $20.1 million last year, though Texas A&M and Missouri did not get a share of the pie because they didn’t become SEC members until July 1, 2012.