DESTIN, Fla. -- The 2012 SEC spring meetings get under way on Tuesday at the Sandestin Hilton.
The SEC football coaches, men’s and women’s basketball coaches and athletic directors will meet over the next two days, while the presidents and chancellors arrive later in the week.
But there's more to this week in the Sunshine State than just checking out that white sand and the blue ocean. There's a little business that needs to be discussed.
For one, the league is welcoming in two new schools in Missouri and Texas A&M. It's time for everyone to get nice and acquainted with one another. I can't think of a better location to do that at this time of year.
For the football side of the conference, one of the hot topics will be about future scheduling for the regular season. With two new teams, there are a lot of questions about how the league will schedule in the future. Remember, 2012's football schedule is a test run, so future schedules might not look like it.
There's been talk about a nine-game conference schedule in order to preserve cross-divisional rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-Auburn. While a nine-game league schedule would certainly make it possible to keep those rivalries, it's hard to believe it will happen. That means your SEC champion would have to play 10 SEC games before playing in a bowl game. I don't think SEC commissioner Mike Slive wants to make it any harder for an SEC team to make it to the national championship.
Talks will also surround keeping the current 6-1-1 scheduling model, which has a permanent opponent and one that's rotated each year.
There will also be discussions about the SEC's new bowl partnership with the Big 12. The conferences' own Rose Bowl should get a lot of attention in Destin, and it'll be interesting to see what the coaches think about the new game.
Here are some other topics that will be discussed:
College football playoff: Slive and the SEC are such big players when it comes to this, so you better believe the future of a college football playoff will be discussed behind closed doors. And don't expect any push for the notion of only having conference champs in a four-team playoff. That idea should be discussed for about a second.
Stipends: The NCAA could approve college athletes receiving extra funds starting this fall, so that should come up in conversations this week. Remember, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier felt very strongly about paying players last time everyone was in Destin.
New college football rules: Kickoffs are being moved up 5 yards to the 35-yard line, which should have a big impact on field position. Let's see what coaches have to say about this.
Expansion: The SEC flexed its muscles when it expanded to 14 schools, but with the college football landscape changing almost daily, Slive won't get caught looking. If he feels the league needs to grow, he'll make sure it happens. But is there any rush to expand to 16 schools? What do the presidents think about possibly growing even more? Hopefully, we'll find out something. Just imagine the scheduling issues then ...
Early signing period: It's been brought up plenty of times before, so it might as well be brought up again.
Championship credentials: Spurrier made it clear this spring that he'd like to see divisional records used to determine which teams make it to the SEC championship game. It'd be tough to pull it off, but Spurrier will likely made his feelings on the subject known again this week.