$ugge$ted SEC Cutback$

A couple of weeks I ago, I wrote about some of the things the Gators should be looking at for cost-cutting opportunities in light of the economic downturn and strong likelihood that the 2009-10 school year could see a drop in revenues.

Well, there are a number of things the SEC should look into as well. Things that would enhance not hurt the competition within the league and put an end to wasteful events and sports structures that cause some student-athletes to miss too much class time.

Eight-team Basketball Tournaments ----- There is no reason for all 12 teams to advance to the SEC Tournament. It costs plenty to travel the four crummy teams that have not earned the trip and can only screw up the post-season (like the last two years) by making a run and taking a bid away from a more deserving team. Just take the top three from each two divisions and the next two teams. Seed them one through eight and let the top two seeds play in a Wednesday doubleheader. The other four teams play Thursday night with semis on Friday and the final Saturday. The top seeds get the reward of the day off and fans are not expected to buy tickets to four games a day the first two days. Revenue might drop slightly, but not enough to overtake the benefit of keeping the worst four teams at home.

Eliminate ALL other tournaments ----- Most of them serve no real purpose and all of them lose money. Baseball and Softball will instead have an SEC World Series with the winners of the two divisions playing best two-of-three for the conference title. I suppose the Golf tournaments might have to continue, but not if my radical plan (coming up later) is adopted. The outdoor track meet is not a "tournament" and would continue.

Division only play in baseball ----- Instead of having a goofy 10-of-11 team schedule, let's go back to home and home within your division. Ten series, which is the same number of games but you get enhanced rivalries and much cheaper travel. I'd no the same thing in Softball after forcing Vanderbilt to field a program or leave the league (Volleyball and Gymnastics, too, Commodores). This would really help the teams at the geographical extremes of the SEC --- LSU, Arkansas, Kentucky and Florida.

Make Golf match-play ----- The reason the Ryder Cup is so popular is because it turns a game into a sport. Match play would make gold much more interesting and would allow teams to play at home more and travel less. Instead of 20 teams going to a tournament, seven teams would go to one location for three days of match play. Fans and media would pay more attention too. The NCAA Tournament could then have the top eight teams "hosting" match play weekends with the eight winners advancing. Golfers travel way too much and this format would also allow them to play less on weekdays, too.

Eliminate Indoor Track ----- Talk about a relic that time has passed! There is not indoor baseball or outdoor basketball and there's no reason to have indoor track. Just stop it! First of all it makes the competitive season too long for all track athletes, especially distance runners but it harkens back to the days when there were few quality tracks in the South and so you needed meets up North in cold weather.

Move all SEC meetings to Atlanta ----- You don't need to meet at a resort in Destin when you can achieve the same things at an Atlanta airport hotel for far less money. You also set a better example and you save money for the media that covers the league. SEC Football Media Days should also be there and cover just two days. Six teams a day saves time and money. We can do without the golf tournament.

Now with all that money we've saved can you please fully fund the baseball programs. An average scholarship of less than 50 percent for guys who play 56-plus games a year is a disgrace.

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