CLEMSON — Clemson president James Barker told The Post and Courier on Saturday the school has not been in contact with the Southeastern Conference regarding its reported conference expansion plans, adding Clemson is “committed” to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Reports have Texas A&M making an imminent jump to the SEC, which has sparked a torrent of speculation on what other program or programs would join the powerful conference as the current 12-team SEC would be unlikely to remain at 13 teams. Multiple reports have SEC presidents meeting at a secret location today to discuss admitting Texas A&M along with other expansion discussions.
An ESPN report Saturday morning was the latest linking Clemson to the SEC, reporting the Tigers would be joined by Texas A&M, Florida State and Missouri. However, Barker told The Post and Courier the report is untrue.
“We have had no contact at all (with the SEC),” Barker. “We are committed to the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
Missouri’s athletic director refuted the report, and New York Times reporter Pete Thamel wrote on his Twitter account that he had been contacted by an SEC official who was upset over the ESPN report, claiming there was no truth to it.
“We realize if we (add Texas A&M), we have to have the 14th,” the SEC official told the New York Times. “No name has been thrown out. This thing is much slower out of the chute than the media and blogs have made it.”
Other reports suggest SEC schools like South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, which have in-state ACC programs, would lobby strongly to block the addition of an in-state program to the SEC.
But if the conference paradigm shifted and the ACC lost several members would
Clemson be interested in exploring a jump to another conference? Would Barker discuss options with the board of trustees?
“I think I have to keep the board updated with all the things that are flying around,” Barker said.
“The idea of us meeting and talking about that is something we should do.”
“I know Clemson is happy with the ACC as it is now,” Wilkins said.
South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier said he would welcome his state rival to the SEC with open arms.
“I think it would be great if Clemson joined the SEC,” Spurrier said.
Spurrier said the Tigers would likely be in the SEC Eastern Division, like the Gamecocks, making the annual end-of-the-season matchup that much more intense.