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SEC sets new scheduling format for basketball, tables football talk
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Monday, July 19, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
DESTIN, Fla. — The Southeastern Conference approved future regular-season schedules and postseason formats for six sports — just not football — to conclude its annual league meetings Friday.
SEC presidents and chancellors reached an agreement on schedules for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and softball to accommodate the addition of Oklahoma and Texas beginning in the 2025-26 athletic year.
Future schedules and championship formats in all other SEC sports remain under discussion and will be announced at a later date.
Football scheduling was a main topic of conversation at the league meetings, with coaches and athletic directors discussing the pros and cons of switching to a nine-game conference schedule and doing away with East and West divisions. The conversation was tabled, and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said any movement on the future format could come in late summer or mid-fall.
Schedule changes the SEC announced Friday:
—Men's basketball teams will play 18 conference games: two permanent opponents home and away, one rotating opponent home and away, plus 12 remaining teams in single contests either home or away. The SEC men's basketball tournament will include all 16 teams competing in a single-elimination format. The top four seeds will continue to receive a bye through the first two rounds.
—Women’s basketball teams will play 16 conference games: one rotating opponent home and away plus the 14 remaining teams in single contests either home or away. The SEC women's basketball tournament will include all 16 teams competing in a single-elimination format. The top four seeds will continue to receive a bye through the first two rounds.
—Softball teams will play 24 conference games: a three-game series against eight rotating opponents. The SEC softball tournament will include all 16 teams competing in a single-elimination format.
—Soccer teams will continue to compete in a two-division format. Teams will play 10 league games: seven divisional opponents plus three cross-divisional opponents on a rotating basis. The SEC soccer championship will include 12 teams competing in a single-elimination format, with the top four seeds receiving a first-round bye.
—Men's and women's tennis teams will play every other team in the league in the regular season. All teams will compete in a single-elimination postseason championship, with the top four seeds receiving a bye through the first two rounds.
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