What is the SEC? Southeastern Conference

Southeastern Conference: Everything You Need to Know About the SEC

The Southeastern Conference (a.k.a. SEC) is an college athletic conference in the United States. The SEC is made up of schools who are located mostly in the South Central and Southeastern part of the US. The SEC is most definitely one of the five most popular and competitive college athletic conferences out there.

The SEC is home to 14 schools that compete in basketball. The SEC’s headquarters was established and, still is, located in Birmingham, Alabama. The SEC participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 and is known throughout the states as a mighty machine and a championship-winning monster! From the moment the SEC was created, it has been heavily focused on football. However, SEC basketball has and currently does, play a major role within the conference. The SEC also has its own television network which we’ll take a look at later in the article.


Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots

NOTE: The largest amount of money generated for the SEC was $455.8 million in the 2014-15 year.What an amazing amount of money to have raised! Mind blowing really.


The Southeastern Conference (SEC) came into existence in the winter of 1932 when 13 members of the Southern Conference split to form the new SEC. This was done based on the logistics of the schools. All of the universities that founded the SEC were west and south of the Appalachian Mountains. Ten of the original thirteen members have remained in the SEC, these schools are listed below:

  • University of Alabama
  • Auburn University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Tennessee
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Louisiana State University, and
  • Mississippi State University

Three original members would eventually leave the SEC which included Georgia Tech (left in 1964), Tulane (left in 1966), and Sewanee (left in 1940). In 1991, the Southeastern Conference expanded from 10 teams to 12 teams. They added the University of South Carolina and the University of Arkansas. After the expansion from 10 to 12 teams, the SEC was divided into 2 divisions: the Eastern and Western divisions.

NOTE: The University of South Carolina represents the most eastern school, the University of Arkansas represents the most western school, the University of Kentucky represents the most northern school and the University of Florida represents the conference’s most southern member school.

Going all the way back to the SEC’s earliest days, you can see that SEC basketball has been dominated by the University of Kentucky, a distinguished basketball program throughout the history of the SEC. From the first year of the conference’s existence, the Kentucky Wildcats were the SEC Conference Champions, and have not looked back since, winning 43 SEC Championships, more than 5 times the total of the programs that have won.

The SEC now consists of 14 member schools (with the newest arrivals being Missouri and Texas A&M)  located in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

The Eastern Division consists of the following schools:

  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Tennessee, and
  • Vanderbilt University

The Western Division consists of the following schools:

  • University of Alabama
  • University of Arkansas
  • Auburn University
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Mississippi, and
  • Mississippi State University


The official SEC Champion was determined by a tournament format in 1933–50 (the exception was 1935). The beginning of 1951 saw a “round-robin” schedule introduced. The SEC championship title was awarded to the team with the highest regular season in-conference winning percentage.

Let’s take a look at the SEC’s Championship time-line history:

  • 1951–64: the round-robin consisted of 14 games
  • 1965–1966: An expansion to 16 games happened with the leaving of Georgia Tech from the league
  • 1967–91: The round-robin schedule was 18 games due to Tulane’s departure
  • 1979: The tournament was renewed with the winner receiving the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament (the official league champion remained the team(s) with the best regular season record)
  • 1985: Auburn defeated Ole Miss, LSU, Florida, and Alabama to win their first SEC tournament.
  • 1991–1992: In this season, the SEC split into an Eastern and Western Division with the re-expansion to 12 members. It continued to recognize the SEC Champion based on a winning percentage over the new 16-game conference schedule. This was the season when the SEC league also began awarding division championships.
  • 2000: The Arkansas Razorbacks became the first team since the league expansion in 1992 to win the conference tournament by playing all four days, beating Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, and Auburn to receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Basketball Championships
  • 2008: Georgia won the conference tournament
  • 2009: Mississippi State defeated Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, and Tennessee to receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Basketball Championships
  • 2011–2012: Divisions were eliminated at the start of the 2011–2012 season. With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the conference, the regular season expanded to an 18 conference game schedule which started with the 2012–13 season.
  • 2019: Auburn won a second time in 2019, defeating Missouri, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.


The Southeastern Conference (SEC) men’s basketball holds a tournament which is the conference’s championship tournament. The conference championship is a single elimination tournament that involves all the league’s schools. The SEC’s seeding is based on regular season records. The winner receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA D1 men’s basketball tournament.

With the SEC expansion of 2 additional schools (making the tournament a 14 schools tournament) because of the arrival of Missouri and Texas A&M back in 2012 – they had to update their tournament format.The 2013 tournament was the first year of the SEC’s new tournament format since getting rid of divisions back in 2011–12. The top four teams in the conference standings received first-round byes.

NOTE: Both the men’s and women’s tournaments have the four bottom seeds (#11 through #14) playing opening-round games. The top four seeds received a “double-bye” into the quarterfinals.

The previous format (before 2012) went like this – the top two teams in the Eastern Division and Western Division received byes in the first round. Then the #3 in the East played #6 from the West, #4 played #5, and so on.

The brackets were set up so that #2 would play the winner of the game involving #3 from the other division, and #1 would play the winner of the game involving #4 from the other division. The semifinals would have the #1 from one division go against #2 from the other division. The championship game would feature the regular season winners of both the East & West divisions (although this rarely happened).


The 2020 tournament  began but was later canceled after the first round. This was due to the declaration from the World Health Organization (WHO) who had concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This declaration happened on March 11, 2020 when the pandemic was officially declared. Initially, the SEC had decided to play the remaining games without fans, but, as the situation advanced, the event was eventually canceled altogether.

The conference’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament auto-bid was awarded to the regular season champion who was the Kentucky Wildcats. However, in the end the 2020 NCAA tournament itself resulted in being canceled also.

What is the SEC Network?

The SEC Network is a dedicated channel developed by ESPN and the Southeastern Conference for fans. The network plays its SEC content for those who want to watch, 24/7. This content includes: 45 SEC football games, 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 125 softball and baseball games and additional regular season and Championship events from the SEC’s 21 annual sports.

The programs offered, also include: studio shows such as SEC Nation, SEC Now and The Paul Finebaum Show, PLUS original content such as: SEC Storied, Thinking Out Loud, TrueSouth, Out of Pocket etc.

There are more than 1,400 live events which are available each year and The SEC Network is a live 24-hour television network. These live events are shown across their T.V. network and its digital platform which is called “SEC Network+“. SEC Network is available nationwide to every major cable, satellite and streaming provider. SEC Network+ is a complementary digital platform which provides 100’s of additional “digital only” events, to basketball fans via the ESPN App. It is important to note that the SEC Network+ is not available on any T.V. channel.

If you are interested in watching any of the SEC basketball events, you can use the SEC Network Channel Finder. You can also watch online and on the ESPN APP.  Additionally, starting in the 2021-22, select non-conference football and basketball games will also appear on ESPN+.

The SEC network is also available internationally, for fans who live outside the USA. It is available in more than 135 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. People in these countries can access the SEC basketball content via ESPN Player. ESPN Player is ESPN’s sports streaming service. You can visit their website to find out if your country is on the “available in” list and for more information: espnplayer.com.

The former SEC commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN president John Skipper announced a 20-year partnership between the two entities (The Southeastern Conference and ESPN) to launch the SEC Network. The SEC Network launched in August 2014 and, had an unbelievable first year. The channel generated a record-setting $455 million in total revenue for the conference.

The current SEC commissioner is Greg Sankey who has been the commissioner since 2015. The conference sponsors team championships in nine men’s sports and twelve women’s sports. Se we have established, the SEC is a very successful conference financially. It has high revenue which it distributes to its members. This high revenue mainly comes from the introduction of the SEC network.

The SEC’s Official Sponsors:


Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots