Did Virginia Tech ever receive an invitation to join the SEC?

I recently got into a small argument with someone on Reddit who was claiming Missouri was a more desirable school than Virginia Tech in terms of market and brand. Made me start to think about all the expansion talks that happened and I was curious if anyone knew if we actually ever received a shoulder tap to leave the ACC.

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I've heard the rumors but I don't think we officially were. That said, unless FSU or Clemson were already gone we would have declined if the invite ever came. We are that happy and content with the ACC.

This is my school
This is home

There was a lot of talk about the possibility a few years ago, and VT seemed like a choice candidate.

But the ACC seems a better fit, and VT has thrived there.

No one is "officially" extended an invite until all parties have agreed to make the move and been approved by a league. That said, VT was one of the SEC's 2 original targets, along with Texas A&M.

Do you have a source for that?

Free Hugh


This is accurate in so far as VT was desired when the SEC was looking at expansion in 2010-2012.

But when the expansion game began back in 2002-2003, the only conference to give VT so much as a sniff was the ACC.

Mark Warner is the man

Not when it mattered.

No. Originally the SEC membership were members of the Southern Conference, an FCS conference currently, along with all of the ACC membership. The SEC broke off, with a much larger membership, earlier than the original ACC. So we've all been in the same conference before, just not since before WWI.

β€œI remember Lee Corso's car didn't get out of the parking lot.” -cFB
TKPC #666 ...man that was long wait...

Paraphrasing from Chris Colston's book "Tales from the Virginia Tech Sideline", chapter 8:

The Southern Conference started in 1920 as Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, GT, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, UNC, NC State, Tennessee, UVA, VPI, Washington and Lee. Later additions included Florida, LSU, Mississippi, USCe, Tulane, Vanderbilt, VMI, Sewanee, and Duke. Currently, that would be a group of 11 SEC teams, 7 ACC teams, 1 Big Ten team, 1 American team, 2 FCS teams, and a D3 team.

In the 1930s, about half the schools wanted to emphasize athletics, by raising money and getting things like radio broadcasts. VPI was not one of those schools.

So, the SEC broke off in 1932, and we might have been one of the founders had the administration at the time had the present day mindset. Then, the ACC formed in 1953 and didn't invite Tech along because VPI was against bowl games and not very good at the other games anyway.

Reading over the names of the folks who basically kept us out of the SEC and ACC in the founding days is like reading a campus map: Burruss, Newman, Miles.

Damn...our big wigs were nerdssss.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

Well, to be fair, it was in the middle of the Great Depression, so they may have felt they had other financial priorities.

In hindsight, we all know they were wrong and should have joined up.

But as Shakespeare said, "All's well that ends well."

"I know people are waiting in bread lines, but I'm really looking forward to wheeling my way down to the Iron Bowl"

- FDR, probably

The Dude Abides

I bet the SEC came calling and when it was discussed we decided against it and therefore it's unlikely we ever received a formal invitation.

Offers are never officially extended unless the parties have already agreed that the offer will be accepted, so there will never be a documented "invitation" that gets declined

That said, if you read back far enough on TSL's (non-subscriber) Conference Realignment Board, you will find at least a couple of "sources" connected to VT's administration that said that VT had conference "options" (plural), should the ACC have failed to get the ND deal a few years ago and subsequently collapsed.

Under the cable "footprint" model which was driving the realignment deals when Mo was added, NC and Va were (and are) more desirable TV markets than Mo. For that reason alone, VT and NCSU would both have been more valuable and likely, higher priority targets.

And per Finebaum Tweet May 21, 2012, "Low,'I think we're going to see more conference expansions. I can tell you that the SEC has their eyes on Va Tech.'"

I do remember talking heads on ESPN saying that VT would have been a good geographic balance when Texas A&M joined the SEC.

And if the SEC has permanent crossover rivals, we would have been a good fit there and not disrupting the status quo too much.

I always felt that if Tech ever was to have made a move to $EC, the best time for the push would've been within the '04-'07 seasons (when we were capturing ACC Championships and making BCS appearances on the reg).

The offer was made but they said we had to continue to play nationally televised Thursday night games and no more noon games on regional television, so naturally Weaver declined because that's what the fans wanted.

(this is tongue in cheek, RIP Weaver)

I heard that as well, plus a major stumbling block was that we refused to give up our commitment to play ECU for the next 93 years.

93 years.

infinite years


Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies

Wow, that's basically equivalent to infinity billion years!

Weaver was on TTL and explained why joining the SEC was a bad move. Immediate stadium expansion, not all our Olympic sports would have a home, travel costs, and after doing the math the SEC money was not enough to cover it. Its a lot cheaper to bus your women's field hockey and men's soccer to Durham for a weekend than try to fly one team to Florida and another to Texas. If you really want to put it in perspective, we are only now getting to the baseball renovation, 10 years after of was first discussed.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I'm just a fan, not an AD, but I would have rather taken my lumps immediately and started collecting dividends

Free Hugh

The issue is we would have been losing money even with the dividends. I think WVU is regretting the Big12 as their nearest conference school is over 600 miles away. The olympic sports are killing any profits from football or basketball.

The goal for a public university's athletic department shouldn't be to make money

Free Hugh

.....why not?

What is the goal?


Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

I think the goal financially should be at least be to break even. When the athletic department doesn't make enough from ticket sales and donations, the university must do one or more of the following:
a) Raise Athletic Fee's from students, increasing the cost of tuition, etc.
b) Supplement the Athletic Department from the general fund reducing the money that should be going to academics and other improvements.
c) Cut athletic events and programs.

Therefore, IMHO the athletic departments goal should be to make as much money as they can by cutting expenses (where possible) and making smart choices. As much as I hate the never ending series with ECU, we aren't paying schools to come for a 1 and done.

I know it's Apples to Oranges, but assume our athletic program (particularly football) was in the same boat as Mizzou right now. I'd take where we are, ACC and all, over them in a heart beat.

I think it's really easy to look at the SEC purely from a football standpoint and say, "Wow! That would be great!" But I think other sports would suffer from it, particularly basketball. Heck, you could argue that there's a good chance we wouldn't have gotten Buzz if we were in the SEC.

And as you mentioned, travel would be a nightmare. Just ask WVU what that's like. Their closest conference neighbor is Iowa St. or Kansas! Can't imagine that's a great recruiting point when your talking to someone who plays a sport where they aren't likely to go pro and relies on walking out with a degree and a good education.

We already travel in a range from Boston to Miami. I don't see how going to Texas is so much worse at that point

Free Hugh

But those are the extremes. Most of the time we're going to Durham, Chapel Hill, Winston Salem, Charlottesville, etc. That's just a bus ride.

If we were in the SEC every road game would be like going to Boston or Miami and would involve scheduling flights. Have you ever tried to catch a flight out of Roanoke to Tuscaloosa? You'd have to charter it. That adds up quickly, especially for the sports that have 10+ road games a year.

This is misleading. First off, we never travel from Boston to Miami.
Second, only two schools are in the 10+ hour drive range for us in the ACC. If we were in the SEC, fully half the conference is in that category so we would fly a whole lot more.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

1) I was not being misleading, that's why I said in a range.
2) It's 3 between FSU, Miami, and BC. 4 if you count ND. And Syracuse is 8.5 so really what's another hour and a half?
3) Somehow the SEC schools have managed to do it for decades, surely we could figure it out. The majority of the SEC East schools are not that far away.
4) ECU is close by, doesn't mean we need to play them all the time.

Free Hugh

Somehow the SEC schools have managed to do it for decades

They certainly have, and they've done it while based in the southeast. There is one single school in the SEC as close to Blacksburg as UVA, Wake, Duke, NCSt, UNC. Basing the comparison on the longest trip each team has to make every year, and ignoring all the very close ones, is misleading.

I could find only two sports where the SEC breaks the conference into divisions; football and baseball.

What you're overlooking is that every other sport would have to travel equally between SEC East and West locations. So sure, football and baseball only need to travel out west once in a while. But every other sport would have to play an equal number of road games between SEC East and West teams. As it stands now, both the Coastal and Atlantic share basically the same footprint.

There's a big difference in the Men's Soccer team traveling to Duke, BC, Wake, and Pitt as opposed to Vanderbilt, Miss. St., Arkansas, and Florida. Consider that for all the other olympic sports and the $$$ adds up quick.

So saying that the SEC East schools are not that far away really doesn't mean much to any sport other than football or baseball.

I looked at the numbers. Now, this is just rough numbers, taken from Google maps, going with the first route that came up from Lane Stadium to each football stadium in the ACC and SEC. It's not precise, but it's close enough to prove a point.

For the sake of this discussion, I'll just assume that we're talking about if VT had been accepted to the SEC instead of Missouri.

First, comparing the ACC Coastal to the SEC East
UVA - 140 // Tennessee - 237
UNC - 203 // South Carolina - 271
Duke - 203 // Kentucky - 319
Pitt - 323 // Georgia - 363
Georgia Tech - 408 // Vanderbilt - 414
Miami - 887 // Florida - 625

Average for ACC Coastal: 360.66
Average for SEC East: 371.5

While we would save mileage going to Florida instead of Miami, we lose out on the fact that the closest SEC school is still further away than 3 ACC Coastal schools.

ACC Atlantic / SEC West
Wake Forest - 124 // Auburn - 518
NC State - 223 // Alabama - 548
Clemson - 305 // Miss State - 632
Louisville - 387 // Ole Miss - 640
Syracuse - 565 // LSU - 891
FSU - 618 // Arkansas - 941
Boston College - 691 // Texas A&M - 1174

Average for ACC Atlantic: 416.1
Average for SEC West: 763.4

In the ACC, we're already pretty screwed by getting paired with the team further away from us in the opposite division (BC). I can't say for certainty who we would have gotten paired up against in the SEC West. Logically, being paired with fellow newcomer Texas A&M would disrupt the schedule the least. It looks like Missouri got paired with Arkansas, who had previously been paired with USCe, largely due to re-establishing a geographic rivalry. Either way, we're looking at a permanent crossover of the team that is the further away from us, and even further away than BC.

Average of Coastal + BC: 407.85
Average of East + aTm: 486.11

Average ACC: 390.5
Average SEC: 582.5

We can't do a complete apples-to-apples comparison using just the schools we would travel to in a given year, since it would be a crapshoot to guess how we would be rotating around the SEC (plus, it would affect our out of conference scheduling). But, for the sake of argument, let's just take the away games on the 2016 and 2017 schedules and replace the ACC teams with the teams that they are "partnered" up with on the list above.

UNC - 203 // South Carolina - 271
Syracuse - 565 // LSU - 891
Duke - 203 // Kentucky - 319
Pitt - 323 // Georgia - 363

Boston College - 691 // Texas A&M - 1174
Miami - 887 // Florida - 625
Georgia Tech - 408 // Vanderbilt - 414
UVA - 140 // Tennessee - 237

Total: ACC - 3420 // SEC - 4294
Average: ACC - 427.5 // SEC - 536.75

Across two years, only one game would give us fewer miles, and it's nowhere near enough to balance out the extra miles we're racking up on the other games.

And this is just looking at the football side of things.

Thanks for taking the time to do this. But if we're afraid to reach for excellence and play with the big boys because of an additional 100 miles in a charter bus, we're doomed to mediocracy. Plenty of schools travel much farther than we do. Just because right now we have the luxury of playing in our backyard doesn't mean we can't have hopes and dreams about what's beyond the fence.

Free Hugh

We are in the same conference as the defending national champions in football and basketball. What exactly do you mean by "play with the big boys?"

Alabama's dominance aside, the SEC is not as great of a football conference as you think. If things went your way we'd be in the SEC East, which means our biggest division opponents would be UGA, Florida, and Tennessee. I encourage you to go back and look at their track record over the last few years. It's not awful but not really great either.

Running a successful athletic department is about way more than what conference you're in. The ACC values having the Hokies and that means a lot.

Conference alignment is bound to kick back up again sometime in the future. When that happens is anyone's guess as to how it all plays out. For now though, and for the indefinite future, we are in the ACC. Our ceiling is just as high here as it would be in the SEC or B1G.

EDIT: Grammar

We play FSU, Clemson, and Louisville like twice a decade now. They may as well be a non conference game. And you're joining if you think Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia are comparable to Georgia Tech, UNC, and Miami recently

Free Hugh

We play Clemson at home this year, at FSU next year, Michigan and Penn St. in 2020, and Michigan and WVU in 2021. And by 2020, who knows where we and the rest of the Coastal stand.

Do you think playing in the opposite division as Alabama and LSU that we'd play them any more frequently than Clemson and FSU?

And for what it's worth here are the S&P+ rankings from last year:

14) Miami
15) Florida
17) Virginia Tech
20) Pittsburgh
21) UNC
28) Tennessee
45) Georgia Tech
68) Georgia

And we play in the best basketball conference in the country. Don't forget that.

I think you are putting way to much stock into being closely associated with the SEC West just for football purposes.

Source: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ncaa

Do you think playing in the opposite division as Alabama and LSU that we'd play them any more frequently than Clemson and FSU?

And spoiler alert for anyone trying to say "yes", the SEC has the same schedule structure that the ACC has.

Wow, doomed for mediocracy. Don't you think that's a bit much? I mean, I don't plan to throw in the towel because we're in the ACC.

Also, this is just football we're talking about here. Think about how much worse SEC basketball is than what we get now. Even if you give more weight to football (and I do) I don't think it's a net move up by any means to run to the SEC these days.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I'm not saying SEC>ACC, I'm just saying not going because of an increase in average travel distance by 100 miles is a shit reason. Arguments like academics or basketball strength or historical rivalries I could concede, but not travel.

Free Hugh

Travel = $$$

Everything boils down to money.

Would travel costs really outweigh the additional revenue from the SEC network?

Free Hugh

Honestly, no one would know that for sure.

If we're still talking about VT going to the SEC instead of Missouri, that would have pre-dated even the announcement of the SEC Network by at least a year.

If we're just talking about VT going to the SEC in the present or future sense, there's still the part about the soon-to-be launched ACC Network, which could put the two conferences on a more level playing field. But then, you would have to factor in that everyone would be getting a smaller percentage of the revenue.

Sure, there's likely to be projections about how much revenue the each network will generate for each school, but at this point in the game, I don't think the administration wants to be spending money they don't actually have.

You referenced the SEC as "the big boys" so yes, you are saying you think the SEC is better than the ACC.

And travel costs mean a good bit. Every cent spent on travel is a cent less we have to upgrade our own facilities.

Nobody is saying or has said travel is the singular reason we didn't/won't join the SEC but it is a factor.

When the expansion was happening the SEC was dominant beyond a shadow of a doubt

Free Hugh

In one sport.

During the seven year span that the SEC won the BCS title game (2006-2012), they only won 3 men's basketball titles, 2 women's basketball titles, and 3 baseball titles.

Looking at the list of champions in, well, any sport, you see a lot of repetition of just one or two teams. (For example, prior to USCe this year, Tennessee was the only SEC team to win a women's basketball championship.)

Sure, it was really enticing in 2011 to join the SEC. I'm sure all VT fans were hoping it would happen. But now that we have the ability to see how everything has played out, I think most of us are happy we stuck with the ACC.

You're making an argument for something that was decided 6 years ago. Sure SEC Football was on top of the world for a 6 year stretch but now Alabama has kinda strangled the life out of everyone else in that conference. I for one am glad that we're not in that rat race to find the next Saban.

We have really bright administrators making decisions for the university. I think they made the right call keeping us in the ACC.

to be fair, that calculation was just for football. Think of all the non-revenue sports that have to travel to every school in the conference to play? Does that extra 100 miles bump a lot of those trips from chartering a couple buses to buying plane tickets for each athlete and support staff. If so, that's a huge increase in costs so it's not an insignificant point to bring up.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Since everyone else is jumping on the big boys comment, let's look at current active bowl streaks (data might be a year behind).
Florida State ACC 35
Virginia Tech ACC 24
Georgia SEC 20
Oklahoma B12 18
Boise St MW 15
Wisconsin B10 15
BYU Ind 12
Oklahoma St B12 11
Nebraska B10 9
Pittsburgh ACC 9
Stanford Pac12 8
Texas A&M SEC 8

Conference dominance is a little deeper than just having one team come out on top. It's about most of the conference, consistently, performing at a high level. Based on bowl streaks (implying consistency), I don't see big boy dominance out of the SEC. Sure, they're doing better than the PAC 12, but anyone with a defense can do that. They're on par with most of the other big conferences.

It tends to take a few years for perception to catch up will reality. The big twelve got by for years as one of the top two because of the perceived depth Nebraska and A&M provided to go with "can beat anybody" air raid the SEC East Went from the best division to one of the worst, and is still perceived as good. When Oregon started beating USC the PAC was perceived as deep, when in actuality the conference had 1 top 10 team and one in the top 25. The problem with chasing the best conference in a sport is that the best conference WILL change over time. $$$ is not the reason you should join a particular conference, whether $ in or $ out. I want to join a conference to enhance the student experience/ school reputation, and do really see the SEC > ACC in anything other than football fan passion. We be.omg in the SEC for that, but I am not willing to give up all the good things we have now just for that.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Getting 6 wins a year makes you a big boy? The fact that Bama isn't even on this list shows how useless it is comparing dominance. But we have perennial <10 win Pitt, so good for us. And FYI, the SEC has a winning record against every conference since 2010. The ACC has a winning record against none of the P5

They're literally winning National Championships in our backyard in the two most revenue-bearing sports. What exactly is beyond the fence that is so enticing?

Umm in basketball the SEC has won it all twice in last 10 years. In Football it's 7 of last 10. But only 1 of last 4.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

ACC has 4 (5 if you count Lville the year before they joined) of 10 in basketball and 2 of the last 4 in football.

And the SEC only has one of the last 10 in basketball

If you think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence then maybe you should water your own

I don't. Give me the ACC every day and twice on Sundays

I think we are making the same point, SEC isn't that great compared to ACC?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I obviously missed the point of your first reply

Just to help clarify because the reply got pushed so far from the comment it was responding to...

Beta's comment of

They're literally winning National Championships in our backyard in the two most revenue-bearing sports. What exactly is beyond the fence that is so enticing?

was referring to the ACC, and a response to tjbhokie:

Just because right now we have the luxury of playing in our backyard doesn't mean we can't have hopes and dreams about what's beyond the fence.

Thanks for running the numbers. We had a thread a few years ago like this and I did the same thing.

aTm's closest SEC member is 5 1/2 hrs away, the next 3 closest are 7-10 hours away. Missouri's closest is Arkansas at 6 1/2 hrs. We're at least as good or better geographic fit than LSU or UK.

I understand this board has a heavy NOVA lean. Fans there seem to view the SEC schools from DC and not Blacksburg. Those of us from SWVa or Southside relate to the SEC schools, see the great show they put on every Saturday and want to be part of it instead of another game against Pitt, BC, Duke, Wake. Imagine our great fanbase showcased on the 330 Saturday game. I never understand why fans want Navy or UConn to join. IMO the focus should be on the gameday experience for our fans and the best way to promote our program, not concerned about an academic alliance. We're talking Football!

2016 SEC on CBS Football Games

9/3 - UCLA @ Texas A&M
9/10 - Kentucky @ Florida
9/17 - Ole Miss @ Bama
9/24 - Florida @ Tennessee
10/1 - Tennessee @ UGA
10/8 - Tennessee @ Texas A&M
10/15 - Bama @ Tennessee
10/22 - Texas A&M @ Bama
10/29 - Florida vs. Georgia
11/5 - Florida @ Arkansas (3:30 pm) LSU @ Bama (7 pm)
11/12 - South Carolina @ Florida (Noon) Auburn @ UGA (3:30 pm)
11/25 - (Black Friday) Missouri @ Arkansas (2:30 pm)
11/26 - Auburn @ Bama (3:30 pm)
12/3 - Florida vs. Bama (SEC Champ.)

So....by number of appearances:

A&M - 3
Arkansas - 2
Ole Miss - 1
Miss. St. - 0
Bama - 6
LSU - 1
Auburn - 2
Florida - 6
UGA - 2
USC - 1
Tennessee - 4
Vandy - 0
Kentucky - 1
Missouri - 1

But yeah...I'm sure we'd be on CBS just about every week at 3:30...

You must think so highly of your school. Never said we'd be on just about every week. But I'll take once or twice a season over the current schedule.

I'm not pessimistic about VT. Just realistic about how we'd really fit in in the SEC. I really don't think we'd be as happy there as everyone seems to think.

I'm also curious why there's still so much desire to get to the SEC when we've had so much success in the ACC in multiple sports, not just football.

What would moving to the SEC do for the basketball programs? Baseball? Soccer? Wrestling? Would we have Buzz if we were in the SEC? Could our donors keep up with other SEC donors? Would the boost in income from the SECN cover the additional travel costs?

What about recruiting? If there's one big benefit to us being in the SEC, it's that I think we could keep some of the 757 talent in state that we can't now. I haven't seen that mentioned here once.

I honestly think some people are just talking what if. The 2012 rearrangement was a no brainer for Virginia Tech. We were in a conference that we had won multiple times in football and was only going to make our Basketball and olympic competitions teams better. The SEC at that point had no real draw for Virginia Tech.

Go back to 2003 and make Tech choose between the ACC and the SEC and it might have ended differently depending on the financial advantages offered. Weaver would have taken the better financial offer regardless of anything else.

But in the back of every-bodies mind should be the fact that Virginia Tech has wanted to be a member of the ACC since the ACC was formed. We finally got that offer, even if it did require the Governor twisting arms.

SEC does not have all the sports that we sponsor. We would have to find a conference for Men's soccer, Wrestling and Women's lacrosse. SEC members sponsoring those sports are affiliated with Conference USA and MAC.

Another item to look at benefits/disadvantages is academic research opportunities. I believe that is one of the major draws of the ACC as well.

We had 6 3:30 games last year, two of which were on ABC or NBC.

Again, apples to oranges, as the SEC has CBS to themselves and we have to share ABC with many other conferences.

I think you'd be surprised how low our women's field hockey travel expenses would be, even in the SEC.

I'm sure our offensive ineptitude around that time was extremely attractive to the SEC. We were a great fit.

"We are looking to add more games that end in single digits, with multiples of three. We would love to see how you lack of offensive production fits in with the elite, here in the Southeastern Conference."

SEC commish to Jim Weaver, probably.

Listen to the Chowder and Grits Podcast for ACC and Hokies football talk.

who was claiming Missouri was a more desirable school than Virginia Tech in terms of market and brand.

After all that UVA did to help us get into the ACC, I don't think the administration would have been permitted by commonwealth politicians to leave them behind in a hop to the SEC.