SEC appears poised to stick with eight-game league schedule amid ongoing concerns about payments, playoff

DESTIN, Fla. — Among the certainties this time of year in the Florida Gulf are seafood, surf and a passing rain shower each afternoon. At least there are some guarantees this week at the 2023 SEC spring meetings.

Just don’t ask about the biggest debate at Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort this side of grouper or sea bass for dinner.

SEC officials are inching closer to doing essentially nothing when it comes to deciding whether to start playing nine conference games beginning in 2024. For reasons large and small, SEC presidents are likely to stay at eight games Thursday when the issue is scheduled to be voted upon, CBS Sports has learned.

The SEC will most likely decide on a temporarily stay at eight games before reconsidering its options in a year or two.

It appears only five schools of the SEC’s 14 current members support a nine-game league slate: Florida, Georgia, LSU, Missouri and Texas A&M. A simple majority of eight schools is needed for a deciding vote in either direction.

Chief among the obstacles of adding an additional conference matchup is uncertainty whether ESPN will pay for a total of eight extra games in 2024, once Texas and Oklahoma join the league. Also being considered are the additional game’s impact on College Football Playoff contention, bowl eligibility and the bottom line.

Some schools would make eight figures in additional ticket revenue by playing an extra home game every other year as part of that nine-game schedule. Despite that windfall, a majority of programs question the benefit of playing a ninth game.

“The one that hit me: [The system is] not broke,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “Georgia has won it the last two years. Alabama before that.”

And LSU before that. In fact, the SEC has won 13 of the…


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