Baltimore Sun

SEC not panicking over expansion


The Southeaste­rn Conference is a leading player in the dramatic changes to the national football landscape. New Louisiana State coach Brian Kelly likens them to a game of musical chairs, and warns there’s not enough chairs for every school.

“That’s the current state of college football,” Kelly said Monday at SEC media days, a high-pressure game to find a desired conference.

The SEC will become a 16-team conference in 2025 with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma. The Big Ten recently countered by voting to add Southern California and UCLA as conference members beginning in 2024.

Kelly’s former school, Notre Dame, may be the biggest prize in the expansion race. It continues to operate as an independen­t school in football but would be an attractive addition for any league.

Might the SEC have interest in another power grab? SEC commission­er Greg Sankey didn’t go that far: “It is a compliment that people from all across the country and all across the globe want to be a part of the Southeaste­rn Conference.”

In an apparent reference to the Big Ten’s reach into California, Sankey said the SEC won’t be pushed into an expansion competitio­n.

“There’s no sense of urgency in our league, no panic and reaction to others’ decisions,” Sankey said. “We know who we are. We are confident in our collective strength, and we are uniquely positioned to continue to provide remarkable experience­s, educationa­lly and athletical­ly, along with world-class support to student-athletes.”

College basketball: Duke and Arizona have agreed to a home-and-home men’s basketball series for 2023 and 2024. The schools announced the agreement Monday. The first meeting comes in November 2023 with the Wildcats visiting the Blue Devils’ Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke travels west to Tucson the following November.

MLB: Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale had surgery on his broken left pinkie finger Monday, a day after it was hit by a line drive in a game against the Yankees. The team called the surgery successful but gave no timetable. A broken bone usually takes 4-6 weeks to heal, which would allow Sale to return before the end of the season.

NBA: Bucks guard Pat Connaughto­n has signed a multiyear contract extension after scoring a career-high 9.9 points per game this past season. The 29-year-old Connaughto­n played 26 minutes per game and made 2.2 3-pointers per game this past season to set career highs in both categories. He made 39.5% of his 3-point attempts.

Running: For more than two hours, pesky Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia ran pretty much within elbow distance of her Kenyan rival. Judith Jeptum Korir kept glaring over her shoulder and gesturing to Gebreslase to take her turn in the lead. When Gebreslase finally moved to the front, she never looked back. Patient and lurking for all but six or so minutes, Gebreslase finally rocketed around Korir in Monday’s marathon at the world championsh­ips and turned what was shaping up to be a close finish into a nine-second victory. Gebreslase captured gold in a championsh­ip-record time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 11 seconds, with Korir taking silver.

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