ATHENS - I just spoke with Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity about the addition of Texas A&M, and the logistical planning that will have to be done for 2012 with the addition of a 13th team.
While the presidents make the big decisions - i.e., whether to expand - the A.D.s are then entrusted with implementing it. McGarity expects meetings to be held in the next couple weeks to discuss scheduling models.
A few quick hits:
- Texas A&M is the only anticipated addition for 2012, and scheduling logisitcs involve just that.
"Yes. Right now that's the direction we've heard, is that we're moving along with 13 and basically that's where we are right now," McGarity said.
- McGarity reiterated that certain rivalries, such as Georgia-Auburn, will receive a strong push to be retained. He also cited Tennessee-Alabama
"You'll probably see several A.D.s that will think it's very important to preserve several long-standing games," he said. "You've got a handful of games there that date back so many years. There's a definite hope that those games are preserved."
- Don't look for a ninth conference game to simply be added to the 2012 schedule. McGarity pointed out that Georgia's non-conference schedule is filled through 2014.
"You would end up getting out of contracts," McGarity said. "But I think the eight-game model is probably the one that everybody is comfortable with. But who knows, we haven't even discussed it yet. We're not sure what will be on the table to discuss until we meet as a group."
- McGarity said the basic deadline for finalizing a new schedule would be the end of this calendar year.
"The urgency you have is the dates. You've got tickets to consider, you've got all your printed material (promoting the schedule). And that's all done in January," McGarity said. "You've got two-three months to wrap this thing up. Two, three months to basically get our house in order."
- Finally, McGarity praised the addition of Texas A&M, pointing out that the College Station school won three national titles last year, including women's basketball, and this year would rank No. 2 in the Director's Cup all-sports standings.
Travel concerns have been brought up, as College Station is about 950 miles from Athens. But McGarity said it won't be much different than what teams do now when they play Ole Miss, flying to Memphis, then driving an hour down to Oxford. Teams would now fly to Houston and then make the drive to College Station.
"It'll be a little further out, but not that much further out when you compare it to flying out to Fayetteville," McGarity said.