MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (June 1, 2023)-----The 2023 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings, a gathering of the SEC's Presidents and Chancellors, Athletics Directors, Senior Woman Administrators, Faculty Athletic Representatives, Head Football Coaches and Head Men's and Women's Basketball Coaches, continued Thursday at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort.
Following Thursday's meetings, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey discussed a variety of topics with the media, including:
**The SEC's Presidents and Chancellors met for the first time this week on Thursday. The group met with the four student-athlete representatives in the morning and with the Athletics Directors later in the day.
**In the joint meeting with the Presidents and Chancellors and Athletics Directors, an update was provided on the SEC's scheduling approach for each sport. It was announced that the SEC established a scheduling format for the 2024 football season as it continues to finalize a long-term strategy as a 16-team conference.
In the one-year schedule, SEC teams will play eight conference games plus one required opponent from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 or major independent during the 2024 season when the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas join the league.
In addition, the SEC will eliminate divisional standings beginning in 2024. The SEC Championship Game will feature the two top teams in the Conference standings at the end of the regular season. The single-standings format will allow every school to play every other school a minimum of two times in a four-year period, regardless of whether the SEC utilizes an 8-game or 9-game format for future Conference competition.
Each school's opponents for the 2024 season will be announced June 14 on a special primetime show on the SEC Network, and dates of games will be announced at a later date.
**In November 2022 the SEC appointed a working group on event security to review and update policies intended to address post-game spectator incursion on competition fields and courts in the SEC. The group was also asked to consider strategies to support effective crowd management for the purpose of enhancing the safety and experience of fans, teams, staff and officials. New language has been added to the SEC's existing policy by the working group:
- Each member institution must provide security and uniformed law enforcement presence around each team and game officials before, during, and after the event to prevent contact with spectators.
- The area where teams and officials are dropped off and their path to/from team areas must be secure and not accessible to the general public.
- In the event of a field or court rush, use of uniformed law enforcement personnel and equipment (e.g. - rope, barricade, expandable tunnels) to secure a clear path off the playing surface for the visiting team, including their personnel (e.g. - equipment managers), is required.
- If a field/court rush ensues, the visiting team shall forgo the post-game handshake line and immediately move inside the barricade and get to their locker room as soon as possible.
- Communication before and during a game is critical, so each institution will develop a communication plan to encourage fans to staff off playing fields and courts. This plan could include the use of coaches, student-athletes and other athletic department representatives being proactive with educational messaging that communicates to spectators this SEC policy restricting access to the competition area.
- The SEC has escalated the penalty structure for field and court incursions, and now those fines will be paid directly to the opposing institution:
- First offense - $100,000 (was $50,000)
- Second offense - $250,000 (was $100,000)
- Third and subsequent offenses - $500,000 (was $250,000)
- Effective immediately, each school will reset to the beginning of a fresh penalty cycle.
- The penalty also shall reset if an institution is free from a violation in all sports for a consecutive four-year period. • The Commissioner may also impose additional penalties as appropriate.
- A field or court rush occurs when the visiting team and/or game officials are still on the playing surface. Member institutions may adopt a policy that allows fans to celebrate on the playing surface once the visiting team and officials have safely exited the field/court.
- If the visiting team and game officials are safely off the playing surface prior to fans entering the field or court, then the home institution may avoid the prescribed penalty.