DESTIN, Florida — Gus Malzahn believes talk of sending Auburn to the SEC East could happen.
There’s one problem: it doesn’t appear SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is willing to listen.
“I don’t answer hypotheticals, so we’ll continue that tradition as well,” said Sankey, echoing a well-worn response his predecessor, Mike Slive, often used during his tenure.
Malzahn, however, did say a move could happen — hypothetically — on the record. “I think there will be discussion on that,” Malzahn told ESPN’s Chris Low on April 13.
Sankey’s response? Well, it wasn’t directly on the nose.
“I’ve read those stories,” said Sankey, who refused to elaborate further or entertain more questions on the Malzahn quote.
Simply put, moving Auburn to the SEC East doesn’t appear to be on the docket this week at the SEC spring meetings. In fact, it’s not even on the sunny Destin horizon. The SEC is also not interested in disbanding divisions amidst the SEC West’s recent dominance over their Eastern Division counterparts in football.
“We have a long history of divisions,” Sankey said. “It’s worked incredibly well. I think they have meaning for us.”
The NCAA voted in January to allow 10-team conferences — notably the Big 12 — to conduct a conference championship game in football. The previous rule required 12 teams for an end-of-the-season conference championship game. The SEC was against the proposal.
In other words, the SEC doesn’t plan to eliminate divisions or switch teams between the divisions, either.
“We had great crowds, great success and that dynamic has worked well,” Sankey said. “There’s an ebb and flow between those divisions, but there’s great competition in both and the chance to be in Atlanta means something for both teams — something very meaningful and our membership sees value and seeks to continue that tradition.”
Many thought the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC in 2012 would result with Auburn moving to the SEC East. After all, it made sense geographically. Instead, Missouri was added to the SEC East.
“Most Auburn people say that it would be more logical for Auburn to play in the East,” Auburn president Jay Gogue told the Auburn Villager in 2014. “We’ve told the SEC we are willing to move to the East.”
Should Auburn be in the SEC East or SEC West?
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) April 14, 2016