How the SEC was formed by leaving a 23-team super conference

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Tennessee competed in the Southern Conference from 1921-32.

The Southern Conference, a super conference, consisted of 23 schools: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ole Miss, Sewanee, South Carolina, Tennessee, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Virginia, VMI, VPI and Washington and Lee.

In 1932, 13 schools of the Southern Conference departed and formed their own conference.

13 members of the Southern Conference located west and south of the Appalachian Mountains departed to form the Southeastern Conference. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane, and Vanderbilt were the founding institutions of the newly formed Southeastern Conference.

Separation to form the new conference was in part of having more of a focus on better athletic administration with fewer teams from the 23 schools of the Southern Conference. The Southern Conference also planned on increasing eligibility requirements.

The Southeastern Conference was formed in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Farragut Hotel on Dec. 8-9, 1932, during the annual Southern Conference banquet.

 

Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - December 10, 1932 b
Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - December 10, 1932 b

Knoxville News-Sentinel – December 10, 1932

Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - December 10, 1932
Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - December 10, 1932

Knoxville News-Sentinel – December 10, 1932

 

Dr. John J. Tigert, president of the University of Florida, spoke for the 13 institutions and formally presented resignations at the meeting in Knoxville.

Dr. Frank L. McVey, president of the University of Kentucky, was named president of the SEC, J.F. Broussard of LSU was elected vice president and A.H. Armstrong of Georgia Tech was named secretary.

 

Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - December 7, 1932
Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - December 7, 1932

Knoxville News-Sentinel – December 7, 1932

Fordham
Fordham

The Daily News-Journal – December 17, 1932

 

Tennessee head coach Robert Neyland returned to Knoxville in time to attend the conference meetings at the Andrew Johnson Hotel following his mother’s death in Greenville, Texas.

Neyland also turned down an offer to become Fordham’s head coach. He was approached by Fordham officials while attending the Army-Notre Dame game at Yankee Stadium, Nov. 26, 1932. Fordham was looking to replace Hall of Fame head coach Frank Cavanaugh following his final season.

The Army-Notre Dame game was two days following Tennessee defeating Kentucky, 26-0, played on a Thursday. The Vols then finished the 1932 unbeaten season by defeating Florida in Jacksonville on Dec. 3, days before the conference meetings in Knoxville.

 

Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - November 25, 1932
Knoxville News-Sentinel (Published as The Knoxville News-Sentinel) - November 25, 1932

Knoxville News-Sentinel – November 25, 1932

 

Rules for showcasing athletics was at the forefront of the meetings. Due to the Great Depression, game attendance for many schools began to decline and many institutions and conferences established bans on radio broadcasts in order to have more people attend games. That was not an issue for the newly formed SEC as the conference would lift a broadcasting ban on football games along with awarding sites for athletic championships. Atlanta was named host city for the SEC’s basketball tournament, while tennis and boxing were awarded to New Orleans. The annual writer’s meeting was awarded to Baton Rouge.

Reinstating Vanderbilt’s Julian Foster was also a topic of discussion after being ruled ineligible by the Southern Conference for the 1932 football season. Foster was deemed ineligible after violating a summer baseball rule that did not allow playing in more than three games per week.

 

Knoxville News-Sentinel - December 10, 1932
Knoxville News-Sentinel - December 10, 1932

Knoxville News-Sentinel – December 10, 1932

4662133520_IMG_7620
4662133520_IMG_7620

Inside the Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville where the SEC was formed. Photo by Dan Harralson, Vols Wire

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4701771184_IMG_7652

The Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville where the SEC was formed. Photo by Dan Harralson, Vols Wire