SEC once again considering a nine game conference schedule

As the SEC has expanded, it’s also had to consider expanding its conference schedule. The additions of Oklahoma and Texas did away with the east-west divisional format the conference had worked under for years to create more flexibility and equity in the scheduling while also keeping the marquee rivalry games intact.

But the league wasn’t ready to move to nine games last year when it was discussed at the spring meetings in Destin. Instead, it held at eight conference games and four nonconference games for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Still, with the ever-changing landscape of college football, Greg Sankey and the SEC are having to consider nine games.

The motivation for adding a a ninth SEC game comes as major college athletics is set to institute a new revenue-sharing program with players as soon as the fall of 2025. Expenses are estimated to approach $30 million annually, and as such, programs are scrambling to find new pockets of revenue. – Brandon Marcello, CBS Sports

The NCAA’s move to allow schools to share revenue with their student athletes puts a new emphasis on conferences generating new revenue for member institutions. Schools are looking at advertising on the field and they could potentially put ads on the jerseys, though that doesn’t seem as likely. It’s not likely you’re going to see Gaylor Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium or Owen Field be available for naming rights, but schools will have to be more creative to fill their coffers.

According to Marcello’s piece, a ninth game could be worth as much as $5 million to ESPN in the conference’s media rights deal. However, given some teams may have to cancel games, there’s uncertainty on how much a ninth conference game could actually be worth.

Though the money matters, the decision won’t only come down to how a ninth game would be valued. Bowl and College Football Playoff eligibility will be factors.

The nine-game SEC schedule became a popular option early in the debate. Teams would play three permanent rivals each year and then play everyone else in the conference in home and homes every in a four year cycle.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire