"One of on our goals was to increase the exposure nationally about football, and this allows us to do that," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said, adding that the deal makes the SEC the most widely distributed conference in the nation.
Slive said the deal would allow for local cable syndication, but the deal likely ends – at least for now – the possibility of the conference launching its own network, similar to what the Big Ten did in 2007.
Slive said this agreement allows the SEC to achieve the same goals the network would have, while avoiding the significant distribution pitfalls with various cable providers that has plagued the Big Ten.
Burke Magnus, ESPN's senior vice president of college sports programming, said the network was currently involved in talks to add the ESPNU channel, which will carry a minimum of 13 SEC football games annually, to more cable providers within the SEC region, while increasing the national audience for the conference.
"We're going to work hard to do that, and this is the first step in that direction," Magnus said.
The agreement also guarantees broadcast of all men's conference basketball games, and includes an significant increase in the number of women's basketball games and other Olympic sports currently televised.
"We'll show over 5,500 events over the next 15 years, including every football game, every conference men's basketball game, as well as unprecedented numbers of women's basketball games and Olympics sports," said John Skipper, ESPN's executive vice president of content.
SNAPS UP FOR GRABS:
"We're pretty set with the starters, but it's just how many are going to rotate, how many guys are going to roll in and out, who's deserving playing time and how much," Richt said. "Those are some of the answers we have to have."
Today's practice will be the final full-speed practice with pads before Saturday's game, and Richt said he would meet with his assistant's to firm up the gameplan after that.
Regardless of how the depth chart shakes out, Richt said one thing was certain – a lot of people would play.
"We're going to roll skill people," Richt said. "We're going to roll running backs. Tailbacks for sure, fullback, probably some, maybe not as much. Wide receivers, we've got to keep them fresh."
BACK AT WORK:
Sophomore running back Knowshon Moreno donned a red jersey Monday for the first time in nearly three weeks after team trainers determined his sore shoulder had heeled sufficiently for him to return to full-contact drills.
"Knowshon ditched the green jersey," Richt said. "It was not his call, but he's out of the green right now. No limitations."
Redshirt freshman Caleb King also returned to action, and Richt said he showed no ill effects from a hamstring injury.
Linebackers Akeem Dent and Darius Dewberry remained in green jerseys Monday, but participated in nearly every drill, Richt said, while defensive ends Demarcus Dobbs and Jeremy Lomax also returned to action.