This is part two of three in a series about the history of the Southeastern Conference as a whole. If you missed part one: Pre-SEC, you can read it here.
On December 9th, 1932 a beautiful thing happened. The Southeastern Conference was born into this world. It was birthed with 13 members when they left the Southern Conference for many reasons, including disagreements over freshman eligibility, as well as problems arising from having so many members (23).
The Founding 13 Universities
We might have to retire the phrase “unlucky 13”. As it seems to me, two great things in the world started out with 13 members, America and the SEC. And if you do not like America or the SEC then you can get out! The 13 founding institutions of the SEC were; the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Florida, Louisiana State University, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Kentucky, the University of the South (Sewanee), the University of Tennessee, Tulane University and Vanderbilt University.
Early SEC Defectors
I know hindsight is 20/20, but I think these schools might have acted differently if they had known what was in store for the SEC.
Unfortunately the 13 members were not together for long as University of the South was just a little out of their element. After eight seasons in the SEC the University had yet to win an SEC game, and officially withdrew from the conference in 1940. The Tigers athletics were deemphasized, and they are currently a non-scholarship Division-III school.
The Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech abandoned the conference in 1964 to become a founding member of the Metro Conference. The Metro Conference was a non-football conference so the Jackets remained an independent in football till they joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports in 1978. They remain a member of the ACC today in the Coastal Division. Tech won 5 SEC titles.
In 1966, Tulane University joined Georgia Tech in the non-football Metro Conference. Tulane remained in the Metro Conference and through its merger with the Great Midwest Conference to form Conference USA in 1995. Tulane played as an independent in football from their departure of the SEC till 1996 when Conference USA began competition in football. Tulane won 3 SEC titles.
The SEC remained a 10 team conference from the time of Tulane’s departure until the expansion of 1991. The expansion revolutionized college football as we know it. Check back next week for part three and the full explanation.
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