Why Arkansas will not leave the SEC

 Looks like it is going to be a long, hot summer on the expansion front with reporters chasing ghosts and rumors of ghosts.

A radio station in Kansas City got everybody hot and bothered yesterday when it reported that the Big Ten had already extended offers to four schools: Missouri, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Rutgers. For the rest of the day there was one report after another from those respective campuses saying: “That’s news to us.”

Understand that a story like this is not true right up until the minute that it is. In other words, the invitations won’t be (officially) extended by the Big Ten until that league already knows they will be accepted.

The Big Ten is not going to extend and invitation to a school and say “No hurry, guys. Just do your homework and get back to us when you can.”

Nobody will get a chance to say “No” publicly to the Big Ten.

So let’s talk about something we do know when it comes to expansion and it is this: There has been speculation that if Missouri and/or Nebraska leave the Big 12 that SEC member Arkansas would be tempted to go back to its Southwest Conference roots. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier speculated as much on a recent conference call of SEC coaches.

Let me tell you in no uncertain terms why that won’t happen. Back in 1991 Arkansas left the Southwest Conference for the SEC because athletics director Frank Broyles, one of the shrewdest administrators to ever walk on a college campus, could look down the road and see that he’d make more money—a lot more money—in the SEC. Commissioner Roy Kramer had a plan that entailed a 12-team conference with a championship game.

You’d have to say that Frank Broyles was right. In 1990 the 10 SEC schools shared $16.4 million, about $1.6 million per school.  Today, the SEC now has a $3 billion TV contract with CBS and ESPN. This season each SEC school will receive about $17 million in shared revenue during the spring meetings in Destin.

When you are trying to guess what school will land where if there is expansion upheaval, remember that these decisions made on the basis of money. Also remember that the SEC and the Big Ten are the big financial dogs in this game. Arkansas is not going to jump off the SEC train for less money in the Big 12. And they would get less money.

Berry Trammel, the fine reporter with the Daily Oklahoman, pointed out earlier this year that while the Big Ten and the SEC share their revenue equally, the Big 12 does not. The Big 12 puts half of its revenue in a common pool which is shared equally. The other half goes into an “appearance” pool and is passed out based on the number of times a team is on TV. Obviously a system like that accrues greater benefits to Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. The gap between Texas, which will earn about $12 million this season, and the bottom team in the league is several million dollars.

 Obviously, the other members of the Big 12 don’t particularly like this arrangement but those three schools, especially Texas, make up the engine that drives the financial train. You want Texas to leave? Try changing that formula.

Missouri will go to the Big Ten if offered for that very reason. Do you think Arkansas wants to jump into that environment? No chance.


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262 comments Add your comment


May 12th, 2010
6:24 pm

You also referenced we were not as much aligned with states like Kentucky and Georgia. Kentucky? Really? Its borderline not even in the south and is has a much weaker southern heritage than Arkansas. That statement alone proves you have no idea what you are talking about. I rest my case.


May 12th, 2010
6:32 pm



You do realize there is a HUGE bridge in West Helena, Arkansas and you don’t drive to Memphis to get to Oxford or Starkville. My Cousins live in Dothan, AL, I happen to know the fastest route, with less miles, throughout all the Southeast. Plus, my father owned a trucking company when I was young.

Another Map for you, Little Rock to Oxford, Ms.

From Little Rock, Ark

1. University of Arkansas 190 Miles
2. Ole Miss 199 Miles
3. Miss State 297 Miles
4. Vandy 342 Miles
5. Baton Rouge 349 Miles
6. Alabama 363 Miles

Big 12
1. Okie State 344 Miles
2. OU 352 Miles
3. Mizzou 376 Miles
4. Texas A&M 412 MIles
5. Kansas 454 Miles
6. Texas 512 Miles

You sir, need to learn how milage works.

Until the Majority of the Arkansas population moves, onto the Oklahoma border, and the Big 12 makes an offer, bigger than the SEC, it will never happen. Good luck with your losing fight.


May 12th, 2010
7:09 pm

Arkansas’s athletic director has already said there is no interest in the Big 12. Most of this is being started by people not associated with the Arkansas program. As far as being competitive Arkansas has been to the SEC championship 3 times. Ole Miss (0) Miss ST (0) Vandy (0) SC (0) Kentucky (0) I may have missed somebody else with zero. We also have a National Championship in basketball and are always competitive in baseball. To the Bama guys that are trashing the hogs we have been very competitive with you with the exception of the last two years (go look at the record). So I’m trying to understand the arrogance and the dismissal of a proud and historically prominent top 25 program ( again look at the top 25 all time programs Arkansas is in it (fact)


May 13th, 2010
11:04 pm

Don’t think Texas is an AAU school. Something the SEC doesn’t care about, but the Big 10 does. Means the SEC would look to Texas , Tex A&M, Ok and Ok St. With Colorado being eyed by the Pac 10 and Mo and Nebr by the Big 10, think it’s the Big 12 that is in worse shape than anyone as far as survival. Leaves Kan, Kan St, Ia St, Tx Tech and Baylor looking at joining a conference. Maybe the old Southwest gets revived to an extent with TCU, Houston and Rice rejoining those schools….The ACC may not lose any schools, but better get a contract with a major network FAST!!


May 14th, 2010
1:58 pm

Best idea floated was the west of the Mississippi TV domination concept… our pool turned out this conference

Big 12 – Pac 10 merger (many holes but fun to think about)


Texas Tech
Texas A&M
Baylor (for other sports)
Okla St.


Arizona St.

TV money would be big (lay it out)


May 14th, 2010
5:14 pm

The rivalries figure people have cited are interesting but irrelevant. Unless we have a Big 12 with 7-8 members in the South and 4-5 in the North, Arkansas would be going to the Big 12 North. Assume that Iowa State, Colorado, Kansas, and Kansas State stay. Arkansas has played them a total of once since 1926: Iowa State in 1973. They did play Air Force, another possible replacement, once in 1975 but has never played BYU or Utah.

On the other hand, they couldn’t play Texas every year. While they would play them sporadically, it isn’t like they haven’t done that now (4 games since 1999 with one cancellation for last year). And they would have to cancel the series with Texas A&M that they currently have.

However Boise State might be added to round out the Big 12 North with Arkansas if Colorado and Utah both join the Pac ten. Arkansas did play Boise State twice recently, 2000 and 2002. I guess that settles it. Give up $75 million over the next decade (Jeff Long’s estimate) and the A&M series while playing Texas as many times as we normally would so we can save the Arkansas-Boise rivalry.


May 17th, 2010
6:18 pm

Not without my Baylor! — Ann Richards


May 20th, 2010
10:04 am

Please allow us back in the SEC.

Ghost of Bobby Dodd.

josh collins

May 20th, 2010
11:03 pm

I would like to say that Arkansas is a perfect fit for the SEC. I am 30 years old and I started watching the hogs around the last two seasons they were in the SWC. I remember the excitement it brought to the state playing teams like Ole miss, LSU, Alabama, and others was like playing in a bowl game. hog fans were more excited about playing those teams. Arkansas has only been in the SEC for about 20 years now and they really havent established themselves as a traditional SEC team. Arkansas has a lot of business to take care of in this conference. if they left the conference today it would be a downfall for Arkansas and the SEC

josh collins

May 20th, 2010
11:09 pm

I think that georgia tech should rejoin the SEC I also would like to see Memphis join the SEC why dont they offer those teams to join

josh collins

May 20th, 2010
11:26 pm

Arkansas is on the cusp of being a true SEC power why would they want to jump out of the SEC that wouldnt be a good idea

josh collins

May 20th, 2010
11:38 pm

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