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Greg McGarity's Comments to Athens Touchdown Club Regarding Conference Expansion

For years, the UGA head football coach has spoken to the Athens Touchdown Club regarding the state of the team at the club's bi-weekly meeting.  This year, that practice has been abaondoned as CMR stated he and his staff need Tuesday night for gameplanning (and I can't say I disagree.)  In CMR's stead, a representative from the UGAA will be speaking at each meeting.  Tonight, we were fortunate enough to have Greg McGarity, and he spoke primarily on conference expansion.

The twelve SEC athletic directors will meet with Commissioner Slive in Birmingham on Wednesday, October 5 to reconfigure football schedules for the 2012 season, as well as discuss changes to the various conference tournaments.  McGarity said that we can expect "scrapping" the 2012 schedule as we know it, at least in regards to conference games.  Our non-conference slate will not change.  Clearly, Texas A&M must pick up eight games, and these meetings should work out how it's done.  He praised A&M for their overall standing in athletics.  The Aggies finished 8th in the 2010-11 Director's Cup standings, behind Florida (4th), and ahead of LSU (19th) and UGA (20th.)

Much to the chagrin of the Mayor, neither Clemson, Florida State, nor Georgia Tech will be the fourteenth member of the SEC.  It remains uncertain if or when a fourteenth team will be added, but McGarity made reference to the Big 10 playing with 11 teams for almost 20 years as why an odd number of teams is workable.  He specifically stated there would not be an addition of any school from a state which is already represented in the conference; it simply does not expand the footprint of the conference and increase exposure or generate revenue.

When asked whether West Virginia had applied for membership in the SEC, McGarity replied, "Not to my knowledge."  He also stated that if a 14th team were added, realignment options, including Auburn to the east, would be visited.

Finally, McGarity gave a glowing report on the academic progress of UGA athletics.  Georgia is well above the bar required by new rules regarding academic performance for postseason participation.  McGarity noted that numerous participants in last year's NCAA Basketball Tournament, namely UConn, would not have been eligible under the new rules. 

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