BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has unfinished business, and he isn’t leaving what has become college football’s penthouse anytime soon.
With two new members, six consecutive football national titles and a four-team playoff to determine future champions. Slive said he has agreed to run the powerhouse SEC for “at least a couple more years,” continuing his decade-long tenure.
His contract was set to expire July 31, five days after he turns 72.
Slive is negotiating new TV deals that figure once again to be the most lucrative in college athletics. The exact method of choosing the four-team playoff field each season must be hammered out, and the SEC is trying to assimilate Texas A&M and Missouri into the now-14-team league.
“I have agreed with the league that I will stay at least a couple of more years, and then we’ll sit down and decide what happens after that,” said Slive, who makes just more than $1 million a year.
Auburn’s Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the league’s athletic directors, noted that the SEC produced 42 Academic All-Americans, nine national team champions and seven runners-up in 2011-12.
“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Mike Slive is the best commissioner in the nation,” Jacobs said. “It’s not an accident that the dominance of the SEC in recent years coincides with his tenure as commissioner. … His leadership transcends football and even all of athletics.”
Slive has no shortage of projects before handing over the reins.
University presidents approved the switch to a four-team playoff model June 26.Slive said conference commissioners will gather in September to work on details such as revenue distribution and a college basketball-style selection committee for the four semifinalists.
“We’ll have to sit down and talk about what would be an appropriate number” for the committee, said Slive, who led the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2008-09 season. “There have been different numbers floated around – 16, 20.”
The first order of business for the SEC is a likely return to the top of the heap in TV money. The conference is renegotiating its pre-expansion 15-year, $2.25 billion TV deal with ESPN and a $55 million-a-year contract with CBS, both signed in 2008. The Pac-12 has a $3 billion TV deal.
Slive said “there is no timetable” for the deals.
He’s not sure whether new deals will be in place before the SEC’s quest for national title No. 7 in a row begins.
The SEC might have had even more shots at a national title under the four-team system. The league had at least one team ranked among the Top 4 in the final BCS standings in 11 of the 14 years the system has been used.
Using that formula, at least, two teams would have made the cut in both 2006 (No. 2 Florida and No. 4 LSU) and 2008 (No. 2 Florida, No. 4 Alabama) as well as 2011. The first two times could have led to a rematch of the SEC championship game in the finale.
Slive demurs when asked if the change is yet another win for the SEC.
‘I think it’s a win for everybody,” he said. “It’s a win for college football in that all of us were able to come together in a collegial way and find a way to marry our own parochial interests as advocates for our leagues with our responsibility for what’s in the best interest of college football.”