Finebaum and McMurphy: “Could Virginia join SEC?”

The landscape of college athletics is continuously reshaped by conference realignment, a process that gained significant momentum following the move of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC two years ago. The potential for further expansion of the SEC remains, particularly if schools like Virginia, with its uncertain ACC future, become viable options.

At the SEC Spring Meetings held in Destin, Florida, the topic of conference realignment was a hot discussion point. During a session, college football analyst Brett McMurphy shed light on what the addition of Virginia could offer the SEC. Noted for being a flagship university, Virginia represents a new geographical footprint for the SEC, one that it currently does not occupy. This expansion could also pave the way for including other states, such as North Carolina, further enhancing the conference’s reach.

Virginia, with its rich history dating back to 1888, boasts long-standing rivalries with schools like Virginia Tech and North Carolina. However, its recent performance has not been at the same level as powerhouses like Texas and Oklahoma. McMurphy argues that diversifying the competitive landscape can be beneficial. He points out that incessantly adding only top-tier teams could lead to an overly competitive environment that could, paradoxically, be detrimental.

The backdrop of these discussions is the uncertain future of the ACC, heightened by legal battles involving Florida State and Clemson, both of which are exploring exits from the conference. These developments have led to speculation about the future alignment of several ACC schools, showcasing the dynamic nature of college athletics beyond the field.

McMurphy emphasized the strategic considerations behind expansion decisions. It’s not merely about enhancing the football product but also about bringing in universities that contribute to the SEC’s prestige and overall strength. Transitioning from the ACC to the SEC would undoubtedly be challenging for Virginia, but the alternative could be less appealing given the current instability within the ACC.

The potential inclusion of Virginia into the SEC raises many questions, especially concerning the ACC’s response to such a move. McMurphy suggests that the SEC’s expansion could transform it from a traditional conference into something resembling an association, highlighting the changing dynamics within collegiate sports.

While there are no immediate plans for the SEC to expand, the possibility of considering Virginia in the future remains. This scenario underscores the fluid nature of conference realignment and its implications for the collegiate athletic landscape.