HOOVER | Mike Slive's state of the conference address opened Southeastern Conference Media Days on Tuesday afternoon, with the commissioner bragging about his institutions' achievements during the 2012-13 school year, while looking ahead to the conference's partnership with cable giant ESPN for the SEC Network.
"I continue to be amazed by the accomplishments of our student-athletes year after year," Slive said. "This past year was no exception."
Slive hailed the 63 National Football League draft picks from the conference this year, more than double any other league, the four Heisman Trophy winners in the last six years and the five SEC teams that finished in the final Associated Press top 10 last season (Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Florida).
The SEC Network, announced this spring, continues to take shape.
"ESPN has surveyed our campuses, and we will focus on the traditions, rituals and spirit that distinguish the SEC. We'll bring the full color and passion to the entire nation."
On top of the 450 events the network will broadcast live, 550 digital programs will available across an array of platforms.
"Each Saturday in the fall we'll broadcast three football games for our tripleheader," Silve said. "There will be a signature two-hour on-site pregame show as well.
"The distribution for the network continues to be a focus. Negotiations are ongoing."
It wasn't all about the on-the-field achievements as Slive championed the classroom successes of SEC student-athletes.
"Many football student-athletes excelled academically," Slive said. "The Campbell Trophy, known to most as the Academic Heisman went to Barrett Jones (Alabama). The SEC also had 10 first-team academic All-Americans."
Football scheduling continues to be a hot topic for the conference, and Slive said the league is still examining the issue.
"The conversation continues and we're examining issues with eight- or nine-conference-game schedules," he said. "With that is whether we keep regular nondivisional opponents. We'll continue to schedule with a 6-1-1 model pending the results of that review with the simple goal of reviewing what's in the long-term best interest of the conference as a whole."
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Deal ends 08.31.13