Mike Slive: Eight-game and nine-game conference schedule on table for football

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comApril 21, 2014 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Auburn's annual game against Georgia isn't safe. Neither is Alabama's traditional cross-divisional tilt against Tennessee.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive made that clear during a meeting with reporters at the Associated Press Sports Editors Southeastern regional meeting Monday. With the future of the conference schedule still up in the air, Slive said no rivalry was sacred.

"Last spring in Destin (Fla.), our presidents said to us, 'Study the formats and we want a decision in time for the 2016 season,' which is now," Slive said. "So we've been working on that since then."

Slive said a decision would be made prior to the conference's spring meetings this year, which will take place during the final week of May. There have been "lots of discussions at different levels" about the issue, Slive said, with a quartet of proposals still on the table: an eight-game league slate, with and without permanent crossover rivalries and a nine-game schedule that includes the same two scenarios.

"There may be one offshoot of that, but essentially that's it," said Slive, mentioning that the conference's athletic directors would convene soon to vote in favor of one of the formats.

Regardless of the result of the vote, Slive conceded no plan exists that would please all 14 schools.

"We tell them that all of the formats — every one of them — has a series of advantages and disadvantages," he said. "There's no one that lines up with all advantages and there's no one that lines up with all disadvantages. So people are going to have to make a decision knowing that whatever decision they make is going to have some advantages and some disadvantages."

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