SEC commish: We won't be left in lurch

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive says the league isn't considering adding teams but is working on a plan to keep up with other conferences if they expand just in case.

The commissioner said Monday that the 12-member SEC hasn't talked to any institutions about joining and has no plans to do so. The expansion exploration is just an internal look at the potential advantages and disadvantages in case there is a "significant shift in the conference paradigm," he said.

Slive didn't elaborate on how much expansion would fit that billing.

"But I'll know," he said.

League expansion has been a hot topic since the Big Ten announced in December that it was considering expanding.

SEC teams have won the past four national titles in football and have lucrative TV deals with CBS and ESPN.

"That doesn't cry for change," Slive said. Any changes would only be made if the league deems it necessary to maintain its prominent position, he said.

"We've always been known to be a creative league, be on the cutting edge," Slive said. "We're not going to allow ourselves in any way, shape or form, to be anything less than what we are now."

He declined to talk about what factors the SEC might look for in potential new members.

"The important thing is we're paying attention, we're going to be strategic, we're going to be thoughtful, but we're not going to relinquish our role as one of the premier conferences," he said.

Slive spoke to editors and writers from the Southeast Region of the Associated Press Sports Editors across the street from his office in downtown Birmingham.