The dust finally settled for Commissioner Greg Sankey's Southeastern Conference. After a heated debate about the SEC football schedule, the NCAA Division 1 schools have finally decided on an option for the 2024 season and Alabama football's Nick Saban was a crucial factor in the decision. A lot of changes came after heads of schools exited their spring meetings in Destin, Florida.
Coach Nick Saban initially wanted SEC football to push through with the nine-game schedule. The Alabama football godfather eventually changed his mind in a statement with Alex Scarborough of ESPN.
“I think one of the more difficult things with going to nine games is we've tried to schedule two out-of-conference Power 5 games to try to improve our strength of schedule over the next seven, eight, nine, 10 years. And if we go to nine games, we'll have to unwind that,” Saban said in a turn of events that swayed the SEC football board's decision to play eight games in 2024.
Saban posits that the need to play more Power 5 teams makes the SEC more exciting for fans and increases their teams' schedules substantially as compared to the nine-game format.
“My deal was always to play more SEC games because we couldn't get other people to schedule. So now I think there's more people in tune to scheduling. So having a balance is probably the most important thing,” Saban declared as the reason for his change of heart regarding the scheduling changes.
Doors are still open for changes in the SEC come 2025 as they are yet to discuss long-term plans for the format.