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SEC Football Sports History

Classification           NCAA Division I-A
Established 1932
Members 12
Sports 18 (9 men's, 9 women's)
Region Southeastern United States
States Alabama, Arkansas, Florida,
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee
Headquarters Birmingham, Alabama

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is a college athletic conference headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama which operates in the southeastern part of the United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I in athletic competitions (I-A in football). The conference is one of the most successful both on the field and financially, averaging more than six national championships per year since 1990 and consistently leading all conferences in revenue distribution to its members including $110.7 million in the 2004-2005 fiscal year. The Southeastern Conference was also the first to hold a championship game (and award a subsequent title) for football and was one of the founding members of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The current commissioner of the Southeastern Conference is Michael Slive.


The SEC was established in December 1932, when the 13 members of the Southern Conference located west and south of the Appalachian Mountains left to form their own conference. Ten of the thirteen charter members have remained in the conference since its inception. They are University of Alabama, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, University of Mississippi, University of Tennessee, Auburn University, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, and Vanderbilt University. The other charter members were:

  • Sewanee: Left the SEC in 1940. The school has since deemphasized varsity athletics, and is currently a member of the Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
  • Georgia Tech: Left the SEC in 1964. In 1975, it became a founding member of the Metro Conference, (most members joined Conference USA), competing there in all sports except football, in which it was independent. In 1978, Georgia Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference for all sports, where it has remained.
  • Tulane: Left the SEC in 1966. Along with Georgia Tech, it was a charter member of the Metro Conference. Unlike Tech, however, Tulane remained in the Metro until the Metro Conference merged into the new Conference USA in 1995. Tulane remained an independent in football until the formation of Conference USA.

The SEC expanded from 10 to 12 members in 1991 with the addition of the University of Arkansas from the Southwest Conference and the University of South Carolina from the independent ranks in football and the Metro Conference in other sports (except men's soccer, where it stayed with the Metro for two years; after the disbandment of the Metro, it was independent until joining Conference USA for soccer in 2005). In 1992, the SEC adopted the divisional setup that exists today. Also in 1992, the SEC was the first conference to receive permission from the NCAA to conduct an annual championship game in football, featuring the winners of the conference's eastern and western divisions. It was held at Birmingham's Legion Field the first two years and at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta thereafter.

Current members (and year joined)

The SEC currently has twelve member institutions in nine Southeastern states. The geograpic domain of the conference streches from Arkansas to South Carolina and from Kentucky to Florida. One or both of the flagship universities in each state in the geographic domain of the SEC is a member of the conference, along with one of the preeminent private universities of the Deep South.

The conference is divided into two geographic divisions: the East Division and the West Division. The twelve current members of the Southeastern Conference are:

East Division
Institution Location
Founded Affiliation Enrollment Year Joined
University of Florida Gainesville, Florida
1853 Public 48,000 1932
University of Georgia Athens, Georgia
1785 Public 32,200 1932
University of Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky
1865 Public 24,317 1932
University of South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina
1801 Public 27,065 1991
University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee
1794 Public 27,281 1932
Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee
1873 Private
11,500 1932
West Division
Institution Location
Founded Affiliation Enrollment Year Joined
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama
1831 Public 21,750 1932
University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas
1871 Public 17,821 1991
Auburn University Auburn, Alabama
1856 Public 22,928 1932
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana
1860 Public 31,561 1932
University of Mississippi Oxford, Mississippi
1848 Public 16,500 1932
Mississippi State University Starkville, Mississippi
1878 Public 15,934 1932


  • Football
  • Men's Basketball
  • Women's Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Men's Soccer
  • Women's Soccer
  • Women's Volleyball
  • Men's Cross-Country
  • Women's Cross Country
  • Men's Track and Field
  • Women's Track and Field
  • Men's Swimming and Diving
  • Women's Swimming and Diving
  • Men's Tennis
  • Women's Tennis
  • Men's Golf
  • Women's Golf
  • Women's Gymnastics

Under SEC conference rules reflecting the large number of male scholarship participants in football and attempting to address gender equity concerns, each member institution is required to provide two more women's varsity sports than men's. The equivalent rule was recently adopted by the NCAA for all of Division I.

Conference facilities

School Football stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball stadium Capacity
Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium 92,158 Coleman Coliseum 15,043 Sewell-Thomas Stadium 6,118
Arkansas Razorback Stadium (primary)
War Memorial Stadium (secondary)
Bud Walton Arena 19,200 Baum Stadium 9,133
Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium 87,451 Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum 10,500 Plainsman Park 4,096
Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 88,548 Stephen C. O'Connell Center 12,000 McKethan Stadium 5,000
Georgia Sanford Stadium 92,028 Stegeman Coliseum 11,000 Foley Field 3,291
Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium 67,530 Rupp Arena (men and women)
Memorial Coliseum (women only)
Cliff Hagan Stadium 3,000
LSU Tiger Stadium 91,600 Pete Maravich Assembly Center 14,164 Alex Box Stadium 7,760
Ole Miss Vaught-Hemingway Stadium 60,850 Tad Smith Coliseum 8,700 Swayze Field 3,500
Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium (Scott Field) 55,082 Humphrey Coliseum 10,500 Dudy Noble Field 7,200
South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium 80,250 Colonial Center 18,000 Sarge Frye Field 5,000
Tennessee Neyland Stadium 104,079 Thompson-Boling Arena 24,535 Lindsey Nelson Stadium 4,000
Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium 41,448 Memorial Gymnasium 14,168 Hawkins Field 1,500

College Football Rivalries in the SEC

Football has a rich tradition in the SEC, and its many rivalries among its members have long histories. Some of the rivalries involving SEC teams include:

Rivalry Name Trophy
Alabama-Auburn The Iron Bowl ODK-James E. Foy V Sportsmanship Trophy
Alabama-Tennessee The Third Saturday In October
Arkansas-LSU The Battle for the Golden Boot The Golden Boot
Auburn-Georgia The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry
Florida-Florida State Battle for the Governor's Cup
Florida-Miami The War Canoe
Florida-Georgia The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
Florida-Tennessee The Third Saturday in September
Georgia-Georgia Tech Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate The Governor's Cup
Kentucky-Louisville The Governor's Cup
LSU-Tulane The Battle for the Rag The Tiger Rag
LSU-Ole Miss
Mississippi State-Ole Miss The Egg Bowl The Golden Egg Trophy
South Carolina-Clemson Backyard Brawl
Tennessee-Kentucky The Border Bowl

Each school has a permanent rival from the other division which it plays each year in football (though this may or may not reflect a traditional rivalry). Each East Division school's permanent rival from the West Division:

East Division West Division
Florida LSU
Georgia Auburn
Kentucky Mississippi State
South Carolina Arkansas
Tennessee Alabama
Vanderbilt Ole Miss

From 1992 through 2001, each team had two permanent inter-divisional opponents, allowing many traditional rivalries from the pre-expansion era (such as Florida vs. Auburn, Kentucky vs. LSU and Vanderbilt vs. Alabama) to continue. Complaints from some league athletic directors about imbalance in the schedule (for instance, Auburn's two permanent opponents from the East were Florida and Georgia, while Mississippi State played South Carolina and Kentucky every year) led to the adoption of the "5-1-2" format currently in place.

Other league athletic directors have advocated adopting the format used by the Big 12 Conference, where teams play three teams from the opposite division on a home-and-home basis for two seasons, and then switch and play the other three teams from the opposite side for a two-year home-and-home. However, the potential loss of such heated long-standing rivalries as Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia have scuttled such plans on the drawing board.

Interestingly, prior to the institution of divisional play, many of Auburn's yearly rivlaries were with teams in the East (Florida, Georgia and Tennessee), while Vanderbilt faced Alabama and Ole Miss every year.

In addition to the permanent inter-division rival, each football team plays all of its five division opponents plus two rotating opponents from the other division, for a total of eight conference games per season.

Rivalries in Other Sports in the SEC

The top athletic priority throughout the SEC is football, with one exception. Kentucky, which has one of the most storied basketball traditions in the country, is also one of only two Division I-A schools to earn more revenue from its basketball program than its football program. (The other is Arizona.) Vanderbilt and Arkansas also place more emphasis on basketball, instead of football, than most other SEC schools, although the Razorbacks have had consistent success in football and routinely sell out their 72,000-seat stadium.

Despite the conference-wide emphasis on football, several rivalries have developed in other sports:

Men's basketball

Teams play a 16-game conference schedule, facing each team from its own division twice and each team from the opposite division once. Prior to expansion, teams played a double round-robin, leading to an exhausting 18-game conference schedule. Not surprisingly, no team ever ran the table when the conference schedule featured 18 games; three teams went 17-1 (Kentucky in 1970 and 1986, LSU in 1981). Since the league slate was trimmed to 16 games, Kentucky has gone undefeated in SEC play in 1996 and 2003.

The dominance of these two teams in the '90s over eveyone else in the SEC led to quite a rivalry, mostly by default of being the best two teams in the conference.
This premier conference matchup has become a major rivalry in recent years with the rise of the Florida basketball program under former Kentucky assistant coach, Billy Donovan, who played at Providence College for former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino.
A historic "border war" between two of the sport's giants. This rivalry is traditionally played at neutral sites, the RCA Dome in Indianapolis and Freedom Hall in Louisville, rather than in Bloomington and Lexington.
This rivalry, unlike most that involve SEC schools, is relatively recent. For nearly 60 years, UK refused to schedule U of L in the regular season in either basketball or football. After a pulsating U of L victory over UK in the Mideast Regional final in the 1983 NCAA basketball tournament, pressure mounted on UK to schedule U of L; Cardinals supporters went so far as to propose a law mandating that the two schools schedule one another. The bill was never introduced, as a basketball series began in the 1983-84 season. The rivalry added a new edge in 2001 when the Cardinals hired former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino (although he was not hired directly from UK). Current UK head coach Tubby Smith is a former UK assistant under Pitino, and reportedly recommended Pitino to Louisville.
This rivalry is also a "border war." The two teams have played over 200 times in their history. When the two teams play at Knoxville, Thompson-Boling Arena is almost always sold out.
Not only are these two schools the closest to one another geographically within the SEC - a mere 95 miles separate them - but their respective head coaches, Mark Gottfried and Rick Stansbury, often battle each other for the same recruits.

Other sports

The Lady Vols have historically been one of the nation's dominant programs in that sport. Starting in the mid-1990s, UConn has emerged as Tennessee's main rival for national prominence. The Huskies won four national titles between 2000 and 2004; in three of those years, their victim in the NCAA final was Tennessee.
These two storied programs have often butted heads for not only SEC titles, but NCAA titles, as well. There is also allegedly a personal rivalry between the head coaches.
Historically these schools are arch-rivals, but following Tulane's decades long deemphesis of sports, this is the only sport in which the two schools are evenly matched. On several occasions matchups between the two have drawn national record-setting attendances. Tulane reached its first College World Series in 2001 by defeating LSU in three games in the super regional at Zephyr Field.
Prior to the arrival of Skip Bertman as LSU's baseball coach in 1984, Mississippi State had long dominated the conference in baseball, with most of that success coming under legendary coach Ron Polk (who returned to coach the Bulldogs in 2002 after retiring following the 1997 season), who coached future MLB stars such as Rafael Palmeiro, Will Clark and Jeff Brantley. But when Bertman arrived in Baton Rouge, LSU's long-dormant program took off, winning 11 SEC championships and five College World Series championships in 18 seasons from 1984 through 2001. This success in Omaha has been a constant source of irritation to the State faithful, who still are waiting for their first national championship trophy in Starkville. These two programs are also among only a handful in college baseball to turn a profit (fellow SEC rivals Ole Miss and Arkansas are others), as financial red ink has forced many schools in BCS conferences (such as Colorado, Iowa State, Oregon and Wisconsin) to drop the sport.

National Championships

Since its founding in 1932, SEC members have won a total of 151 team national championships (as of June 5th 2005). Listed below are all championship teams of NCAA sponsored events, as well as the titles won in football. Conference members have won at least one title in all but two of the sponsored events, Softball and Women's Volleyball.

  • Prior to 1932, the University of Alabama claimed national titles in football in 1925, 1926, and 1930.
  • Prior to joining the SEC in 1992, the University of Arkansas claimed the 1964 football championship, nine titles in Men's Indoor Track, three in Men's Outdoor Track, and five in Men's Cross Country.
  • Prior to 1932, former member Georgia Tech claimed football national titles in 1917 and 1928. Tech also won the 1952 title in football. The team defeated fellow SEC member Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl and finished with a record of 12-0. This came a year after Tennessee claimed its first unanimous national title in 1951, although it was also voted national champion by multiple polling services in 1938 and 1940.
  • Up to 1982, teams representing member schools also claimed three AIAW Championships

Football (19):

1934 - Alabama
1941 - Alabama
1942 - Georgia
1946 - Georgia
1950 - Kentucky
1951 - Tennessee
1952 - Georgia Tech
1957 - Auburn
1958 - LSU
1960 - Ole Miss
1961 - Alabama
1962 - Ole Miss
1964 - Arkansas
1965 - Alabama
1973 - Alabama
1978 - Alabama
1979 - Alabama
1980 - Georgia
1992 - Alabama
1996 - Florida
1998 - Tennessee
2003 - LSU
2006 - Florida
2007 - LSU

Men's Basketball (9):

1948 - Kentucky
1949 - Kentucky
1951 - Kentucky
1958 - Kentucky
1978 - Kentucky
1994 - Arkansas
1996 - Kentucky
1998 - Kentucky
2006 - Florida
2007 - Florida
Women's Basketball (6):
1987 - Tennessee
1989 - Tennessee
1991 - Tennessee
1996 - Tennessee
1997 - Tennessee
1998 - Tennessee

Baseball (6):

1990 - Georgia
1991 - LSU
1993 - LSU
1996 - LSU
1997 - LSU
2000 - LSU

Women's Soccer (1):

1998 - Florida

Men's Indoor Track and Field (12):

1993 - Arkansas
1994 - Arkansas
1995 - Arkansas
1997 - Arkansas
1998 - Arkansas
1999 - Arkansas
2000 - Arkansas
2001 - LSU
2002 - Tennessee
2003 - Arkansas
2004 - LSU
2005 - Arkansas

Women's Indoor Track and Field (13):

1987 - LSU
1989 - LSU
1991 - LSU
1992 - Florida
1993 - LSU
1994 - LSU
1995 - LSU
1996 - LSU
1997 - LSU
2002 - LSU
2003 - LSU
2004 - LSU
2005 - Tennessee

Men's Outdoor Track and Field (16):

1933 - LSU
1974 - Tennessee
1989 - LSU
1990 - LSU
1991 - Tennessee
1993 - Arkansas
1994 - Arkansas
1995 - Arkansas
1996 - Arkansas
1997 - Arkansas
1998 - Arkansas
1999 - Arkansas
2001 - Tennessee
2002 - LSU
2003 - Arkansas
2004 - Arkansas
2005 - Arkansas

Women's Outdoor Track and Field (14):

1987 - LSU
1988 - LSU
1989 - LSU
1990 - LSU
1991 - LSU
1992 - LSU
1993 - LSU
1994 - LSU
1995 - LSU
1996 - LSU
1997 - LSU
2000 - LSU
2002 - South Carolina
2003 - LSU
2006 - Auburn

Men's Cross Country (7):

1972 - Tennessee
1992 - Arkansas
1993 - Arkansas
1995 - Arkansas
1998 - Arkansas
1999 - Arkansas
2000 - Arkansas
Women's Cross Country (1):
1988 - Kentucky

Men's Swimming and Diving (9):

1978 - Tennessee
1983 - Florida
1984 - Florida
1997 - Auburn
1999 - Auburn
2003 - Auburn
2004 - Auburn
2005 - Auburn
2006 - Auburn
Women's Swimming and Diving (9):
1982 - Florida
1999 - Georgia
2000 - Georgia
2001 - Georgia
2002 - Auburn
2003 - Auburn
2004 - Auburn
2005 - Georgia
2006 - Auburn

Men's Tennis (3):

1985 - Georgia
1987 - Georgia
2001 - Georgia
Women's Tennis (6):
1992 - Florida
1994 - Georgia
1996 - Florida
1998 - Florida
2000 - Georgia
2003 - Florida

Men's Golf (10):

1940 - LSU
1942 - LSU
1947 - LSU
1955 - LSU
1968 - Florida
1973 - Florida
1993 - Florida
1999 - Georgia
2001 - Florida
2005 - Georgia
Women's Golf (3):
1995 - Florida
1996 - Florida
2001 - Georgia

Women's Gymnastics (11):

1987 - Georgia
1988 - Alabama
1989 - Georgia
1991 - Alabama
1993 - Georgia
1996 - Alabama
1998 - Georgia
1999 - Georgia
2002 - Alabama
2005 - Georgia
2006 - Georgia

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