St. Louis awarded 2018 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament

SANDESTIN, Fla. ( – The 2014 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings got underway from the Hilton Sandestin Resort on Tuesday.

The meetings are the annual end-of-year gathering of each institution's Athletics Director, Senior Woman Administrator, Faculty Athletics Representative, Head Football Coach, Head Men's Basketball Coach and Head Women's Basketball Coach.

Quick Hitters

Here are some of the high points from Tuesday's SEC Spring Meetings:
•    The sites for the 2018 and 2022 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament sites were determined and voted upon. The 2018 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament will take place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., while the 2022 event will return to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
•    The SEC Athletics Directors have decided to remain with 18-game conference schedule format for the sport of men's basketball. A revision to the format will now include three permanent opponents. The previous format included just one permanent opponent among the 18. That permanent opponent from the previous format will be included as one of the three permanent opponents in the new format.
•    Commissioner Mike Slive noted that NCAA governance and restructuring is the "primary issue" being discussed this week in Destin. He stated Tuesday that discussions on those topics began with both the Athletics Directors and the three coaches groups, and will continue through Friday.
•    Slive noted that the impetus for the push towards autonomy by the big-five conferences was focused on the well-being of student-athletes, and the ability to provide them more opportunities that meet their needs and the full cost of attendance, while keeping the student-athlete model intact. This was a focus that pleased the SEC's football coaches in Tuesday's meeting.
•    Slive reiterated that the SEC would play no part in dictating to member institutions whether or not they could schedule non-conference football games against Football Championship Subdivision opponents.

Men's Basketball Tournament Sites Set Through 2025
With Tuesday's announcements regarding the sites of the 2018 (St. Louis) and 2022 (Tampa) SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, the sites for the league's annual basketball tournament have now been set through the 2025 season.

The SEC announced last October that it had inked an agreement with Nashville to serve as the primary site of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, which will now appear in the Music City in nine of the next 11 years.

On Tuesday, it selected the remaining two years in that span to a first-time site in St. Louis and a second-time site in Tampa, which also hosted the event in 2009.

"Tampa is a great scene for us in terms of the facility and in terms of the environment," Slive said. "We think that we can get the kind of support that we want."

Football Strength of Schedule Discussion

Strength of schedule in the game of college football has been a hot discussion topic since the SEC announced its future football scheduling format in late April. The SEC, which is remaining with an eight game league schedule, added a component that requires each school to play an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 opponent on an annual basis.

With nine guaranteed games against opponents from the big-five conference, Slive said the SEC has no plans to place any parameters on the other three opponents each school schedules.

"I'm in favor of making sure our strength of our schedule is as good as it can be," Slive said. "As we enter into a new era, we're not going to dictate to our schools except for the one game that we've talked about. Those decisions are going to be made by our institutions."

Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff, stated that the CFP Selection Committee – chaired by Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long - would evaluate each team's schedule over the course of a 12-game season, rather than placing any particular weight on any one opponent.

"Scheduling is tricky and our committee will evaluate a team based on who they played over the 12 games," Hancock said. "We haven't talked specifically about FCS but, the issue with FCS is, if you're going to play North Dakota State, that might be better than 'team Y' in one of our conferences, so you have to be careful when you talk about FCS teams."

Slive stated that with two-thirds of each team's games annually being conference contests, the strength of a team's conference is an extremely significant factor in strength of schedule.

"The strength of schedule is based on 12 football games, which means that two-thirds of your strength of schedule is your conference schedule," Slive said. "There's a lot of focus on the non-conference schedule, but the reality is that the test of the best team is 12 games and two-thirds of those games are in the conference."