SEC Dials 6-1-1

On the final day of the conference's spring meetings in Destin, Fla,, the SEC adopts a 6-1-1 format for scheduling purposes and pairs Arkansas and Missouri up as permanent foes in the new 14-team league. Also Razorback coach John L. Smith says he has a plan for three recently arrested players to possibly rejoin the team if they make it through their legal issues.

While they may or may not be playing at the end of the regular season each year, Arkansas and Missouri will strap it up in football and basketball each year for sure.

That was announced Friday at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., as the 14-team league announced it would be going to a 6-1-1 format for scheduling beginning in 2013.

That means each SEC program will play the six football teams in its division, one rotating cross-division opponent and one cross-division permanent foe – which in the Razorbacks' case will be the Tigers.

"I believe that the Arkansas and Missouri series will develop into a competitive rivalry in all sports for both institutions," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a release. "With our close proximity, both schools will have the opportunity for fans to travel to events and help spread the reach of the Southeastern Conference within the region."

That has been much speculation that the annual Arkansas-LSU regular season finale would be replaced by Arkansas-Missouri, who do not play in 2012.

But Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said that would be news to him in a Friday morning tweet.

"Hog Fans, I do not know where LSU is getting this information. Have had repeated conversation with SEC Officials and there are no plans as of 6/1/12 to change LSU from our season ending Football game."

Just a few days ago, LSU athletic director Joe Alieva told the Baton Rouge Advocate that would be changing and he expects A&M to be the end of the season foe.

"Arkansas will be in the middle somewhere," Alieva told the paper.

The Razorbacks and Tigers are scheduled to play on the Friday after Thanksgiving this season in Fayetteville – a switch from Arkansas normally hosting the game in Little Rock.

The other permanent foes will be LSU-Florida, Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia, South Carolina-Texas A&M, Ole Miss- Vanderbilt, Mississippi State-Kentucky.

The cross-division rotating opponents have not been announced yet.

"The idea you'll be able to schedule for 10 or 12 years out can't happen any longer," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "The league is free to look in on the format any time it wishes. We need to establish the format so we can continue to build the schedule."

Slive noted that the 6-1-1 football scheduling format was not for a sett number of years, but likely would be for three or four years at least.

The SEC also announced Friday that the league will have an 18-game conference slate with each school playing five teams twice and the other eight clubs a single time.

Arkansas-Missouri will also be permanent cross-over foes in basketball along with Florida-Kentucky, Georgia-South Carolina, Alabama-Auburn, LSU-Texas A&M, Ole Miss-Mississippi State and Tennessee-Vanderbilt.

The league also approved a five-round SEC basketball tournament that includes all 14 teams, it will begin on Wednesday with the bottom four teams and feature double-byes with the top four teams not playing until Friday.

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Arkansas head coach John L. Smith told ESPN he has an undisclosed plan that would allow Marquel Wade, Andrew Peterson and Maudrecus Humphrey to rejoin the team if they make it through their legal issues.

He says it is one they will have to agree with and complete before being able to rejoin the team.

"That's what they're going to have to do," Smith said during the SEC spring meetings. "It's a matter of you getting up -- you're not a member of this football team -- and you earn your way back onto this team. It's going to be very, very hard and they understand that. And it's going to be demanding."

Other Tidbits:

…Arkansas and the other SEC schools can now host unofficial visitors at any home venue and any neutral site game after a chance in legislation.

…The league passed out $20.1 million to each of its 12 schools and brought in a record $241.5 million.

…The SEC reaffirmed its stance that the best four teams should play in the a four-team playoff – not just conference champions.


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