Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

How times have changed

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The Southeastern Conference decision makers were meeting on the Sandestin shores the past few days.
They will count their money and disperse it among the 14 member schools.
By the way, the SEC had to play second fiddle to the Big Ten when it came to payday. The 12-school Big Ten (those numbers don’t match) raked in $318.4 million in total revenue for fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013.
Not far behind was the 14-team SEC, with a reported $314.5 million for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2013.
I never was good in math and I never had that much money to count, but any way you slice it, it’s a pile of dough.
The Big Ten has a couple of years head start on its TV network. They were the first conference out of the box and at first had some glitches.
The SEC was smart to wait, observing what the Big Ten did right and what it did wrong. Hopefully, when the SEC Network launches in August they and ESPN partners will have their act together.
As this is written they are still waiting for DirecTV to come on board as a vehicle to provide the SEC Network packages.
Attending the SEC Spring Meetings during the first years at the Sandestin Hilton, it was the first year the beachfront hotel was opened.
Now much of the media has been out-priced at the Hilton and has secured cheaper accommodations. Oh, ESPN, CBS and the big boys will be staying in the lap of luxury to report news that usually amounts to what most fans declare boring. They can’t wait for someone to line up and hit somebody with a different color jersey on.
Back then it was a more casual atmosphere. That changed with the arrival of the Brinks trucks. Commissioner Mike Slive makes more money than his predecessor, Roy Kramer. The school’s athletics directors make more money and heaven knows, football and basketball coaches make more money than they ever dreamed of.
They’ve gone from Timex to Rolex.
The SEC is BIG business. With that comes pressure to perform. There’s more pressure for coaches to win, and not just conference titles. We’re talking national championships.
They finally quit dragging their flip-flops and created a four-team football playoff to determine a national champion. It is predicted to add measurably more coins to the bank accounts.
When Kramer was running these meetings, it was big news when he added South Carolina and Arkansas. It gave the SEC the required 12 teams required to have a conference championship game. That will be chump change compared to what a national playoff format will produce.
Slive and other of the old BCS conferences are now talking autonomy. I understand many SEC fans will have to look the word up and couldn’t care less about the meaning. They can’t wait for the preseason college football magazines to hit the shelves. Autonomy can wait.
It has been building up to this point. We have forecast the major conferences breaking away from the NCAA for some time now. They will still be under the NCAA umbrella, but I predict not for long. They will make their own rules, police what have been the busiest of rules-breakers in football and basketball and cut their own deals.
Egads, they will be paying football and basketball players above the table.
My, how times have changed.
Contact Wilson Post Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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