In 1932, 13 schools broke from the Southern Conference and formed the SEC: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane and Vanderbilt. Sewanee never won a league football game and withdrew from the conference in 1940. Georgia Tech withdrew in 1964 and Tulane in 1966. In 1990, Arkansas and South Carolina were added.
TALLAHASSEE, FL, November 20, 1955 - Dr. Howard Danford, athletic director of Florida State University, said FSU hoped eventually to be admitted to the Southeastern Conference but added, "we don't want to be premature."
"The SEC is the only logical conference for us to get into from a geographical standpoint," Danford said. "But that depends on two things: increase in the size of our stadium and the ability of our football team to beat some of the SEC members."
He said the stadium now has only a 19,000 seat capacity.
TALLAHASSEE, FL, November 29, 1955 - Florida State University will make formal application for membership in the Southeastern Conference at the conference's regular meeting in Nashville early next month.
Dr. Howard G. Danford, FSU athletic director, said today he will file the application formally at the SEC's meeting December 8-9-10.
To become a member of the conference, a school must submit an application, be sponsered by a member institution and must be accepted by a vote of the conference members.
Danford did not indicate who would sponsor Florida State. The University of Florida is the only other SEC member in the state at present although the University of Miami has applied for membership.
FSU at present is an independent. It formerly was a member of the old Dixie Conference but dropped out after it began beating other members at football with monotonous regularity.
State had football games with two SEC members this season and lost both.
JACKSONVILLE, FL, October 6, 1958 - Don't look now but the Southeastern Conference has its own lonesome end - Florida State University.
And the Seminoles are using outstanding performances against the SEC's own Georgia Tech and highly regarded Wake Forest as signs from the Tallahassee flank that they want in.
Coach Tom Nugent, who addressed the Jacksonville Quarterback Club last night, admitted his team "is not big league right now."
"We play exciting football, that's all I can promise you," the suave native of Massachusetts told some 200 club members. Despite Nugent's modestness, both Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech's grid boss, and Paul Amen, whose Deacons were upended by the Seminoles Saturday night, have acclaimed FSU "as a team which could hold its own in the SEC."
As for FSU's long range football plans, Nugent admits he'd like to join the SEC. "But right now the league is a bit unwieldy with 12 teams. We'd have to wait until it is split up."
TALLAHASSEE, FL, July 18, 1959 - Florida State University set out in earnest today to win a berth in the top rated Southeastern Conference. At the same time, FSU announced a 1960 football schedule featuring three SEC opponents.
President Robert M. Strozier wrote letters to the presidents of the 12 SEC schools urging that FSU be admitted.
He said FSU is qualified by size, academic and athletic achievement and diversity for the SEC, noting an anticipated enrollment of 8,200 students this fall. The school has for the past few years followed SEC regulations on athletic scholarship and eligibility requirements.
In competition with SEC teams during the past 12 years, independent Florida State has compiled an all time record of 147 victories against 102 losses and four ties in eight sports.
Its record against SEC teams in football has been poor, all losses except one victory over Tennessee. Its first SEC football opponent was Georgia Tech in 1952.
Kentucky will be a newcomer to the FSU schedule in 1960 and Auburn returns to the schedule after a two year absence. The third SEC opponent, the University of Florida, made its first appearance on the schedule last year and is a top opponent this season.
Also returning to the FSU schedule after a two year absence is independent Mississippi Southern. Only other new opponent in 1960 will be the University of Houston.
Other games will feature Richmond, Wake Forest, The Citadel, Miami and William and Mary.
Coach Perry Moss said seven of the 10 games in 1960 will be played in Florida, five of them here. FSU meets Florida in Gainesville September 24 and Miami in Miami November 4.
"It's a tough well balanced schedule," said Moss, who will field his first team for FSU this year.
TALLAHASSEE, FL, September 19, 1959 - Florida State University reported today it was making progress in a determined bid for Southeastern Conference membership.
Dr. Robert M. Strozier, university president, told the State Board of Control the influential Faculty Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Florida had decided to back FSU as well as the University of Miami.
Previously the University of Florida had been a backer of Miami but FSU, a relative newcomer to intercollegiate football, has suffered for lack of a sponsor.
Dr. Strozier said there were reports that a move might be made at the January meeting of the conference to split the loop into two sections so that such teams as FSU, Miami and Houston coud be admitted.
The FSU president read to the board a letter from HP Constans, chairman of the University of Florida committee, reporting that the committee had recommended to Florida President J Wayne Reitz that he propose expansion of the conference.
"If this change is made the committee recommends that the University of Florida continue its sponsorship of the University of Miami and that we also sponsor Florida State University for inclusion in the conference," Constans said.
Dr. Strozier commented, "I think this is a big step forward."
Florida State University has been playing an increasingly heavy schedule and last year upset Tennessee, 10-0, for its first win over a Southeastern Conference team. This year FSU plays Florida and Georgia in the conference and next year it tackles Florida, Auburn and Kentucky.
Dr. Strozier wrote presidents of all Southeastern Conference schools last July urging consideration of Florida State for membership. He said he had received replies from all of them and no one voiced any opposition to the proposal although no one said he would specifically back FSU.
He said FSU was comparable to SEC schools in size with an enrollment of 8,000 this fall; that FSU had been following SEC regulations on scheduling and eligibility requirements; that FSU was comparable with respect to diversity and quality of its athletic program, and was in a favorable position geographically.
"We are less than 400 miles from six members of your conference and four are less than 300 miles," he said. "As you perhaps realize, the proximity of opponents has a favorable effect economically, especially in the lower budgeted, or so called minor sports."
Florida State for years has harbored an ambition to become a member of the Southeastern Conference. A personal belief is that both FSU and the SEC would benefit from such a development.
FSU would like to get in. At least several members of the conference would like to see FSU get in. But, mere wishing won't make it so. It will take a lot of spadework, some of which has already been done.
In Tallahassee the other night, Jim Whatley, a member of the University of Georgia coaching staff cited six reasons to a Quarterback Club audience as to why FSU should be in the SEC.
1. It would result in a better balanced conference.
2. FSU has better athletic facilities than half of the 12 SEC schools.
3. FSU has a larger student body than most of the SEC schools.
4. The caliber of SEC football competition would be improved.
5. The guarantees FSU gives SEC teams for playing in Tallahassee equals or exceeds the guarantee more than half the SEC teams give one another.
6. FSU has a better all-around sports program than eight of the present conference members.
The above reasons would seem to serve as sufficient evidence that Florida State fills any possible requirements it would have to meet for membership. Scholastically, I have no doubt that FSU's standards are at least as high as the heavy majority of the member schools.
Not too many years ago, the University of Miami was hot after SEC membership. It isn't anymore for a number of reasons, chief of which is that UM feels its present policy of football scheduling appeals to more of its fans than if it was committed to at least six SEC games each year.
Naturally, in any sort of established conference like this there is reluctance on the part of some of the members to upset the status quo.
Before the Seminoles get in, they'll have to do an intensive selling job.
It's not impossible, however, and...as mentioned...the development should prove mutually beneficial.
ATLANTA, GA, January 19, 1963 - A push to put Florida State in the 12-team Southeastern Conference should highlight business this week at the SEC's annual meeting.
Fast growing FSU will be sponsered by the University of Florida. It'll take a majority vote by conference presidents Firday to boost the league to the 13 members it had when it was formed in 1933.
The SEC has voted down several attempts to enlarge itself since Sewanee dropped out in 1940. FSU has tried before, as have Miami, Houston and Southern Mississippi.
ATLANTA, GA, January 22, 1963 - Florida State, which has grown since World War II from a school for girls to a co-ed institution with enough muscle to battle just about anyone on the athletic field, makes a new bid this week for membership in the Southeastern Conference.
The Seminoles' latest bid comes at the annual SEC meeting which gets underway here tomorrow at the Biltmore Hotel. The University of Florida, FSU's cross-state rival, is sponsoring the Seminoles' bid and has placed the question on the agenda.
FSU's bid for membership would appear valid. The Seminoles met five SEC teams in football last fall, beating Georgia, tying Georgia Tech, Auburn and Kentucky and losing only to Florida.
The Seminoles play a total of 13 basketball games against SEC foes this winter. Their record so far in SEC play is only 4-7 but last year it was 6-2.
Florida Athletic Director Ray Graves pointed out recently that he favors FSU's admission to the SEC because he is now forced to play the Seminoles annually in football. With a schedule that includes six SEC games plus games with intrastate rivals FSU and Miami. Florida is able to schedule only two intersectional games each season, Graves said.
ATLANTA, GA, January 24, 1963 - Florida State Athletic Director Vaughan Mancha threw in the towel today on the Seminoles' hopes for joining the Southeastern Conference in the near future but insisted the day would come when the conference would open its doors.
The broad shouldered former University of Alabama great pointed out that Florida State will soon have 15,000 students, more than any of the present 12 SEC members now have, and that the Seminoles are already battling SEC teams on just about even terms.
"The day will come when the Southeastern Conference will consider Florida State a valuable asset," Mancha told United Press International.
But he agreed with speculation that this would not be the year. He said he figured FSU's hopes for admission hinge either on the SEC expanding to 14 schools or the withdrawal of one or more of the present members.
"Our admission would give the conference 13 members and I can well see how this would create all sorts of scheduling difficulties," Mancha said.
The University of Florida, a conference member, made a pitch for Florida State's admission today at a closed meeting of SEC athlectic directors and head football coaches.
Ray Graves, Florida athletic director and football coach pointed out he had a personal reason for wanting the Seminoles in the conference. His Gators have to play FSU each year anyway and he'd like to have that game count as one of the six Florida must play against SEC members to qualify for the league championship.
ATLANTA, GA, January 18, 1964 - One subject that is sure to come up again when the Southeastern Conference holds its annual meeting here this week is the never-ending efforts of independents Florida State and Memphis State to join the league.
All previous efforts have met with failure and it is highly unlikely that there'll be any more success this time.
But athletic directors Vaughn Mancha of Florida State and Gene Lambert of Memphis State are incurable optimists who insist if they keep knocking at the SEC door long enough, something has to give.
Both of these schools have had considerable contact with SEC members on the Atlantic fields in recent years, especially in football and basketball, but playing and belonging continue to remain two entirely different categories.
Opposition against the admission of Florida State and Memphis State to the now 12-member conference is based largely on the general feeling that the seven-state conference is too big and unwieldy already. Many feel the trend should be toward reducing rather than enlarging the league.
They point out that under the present 12-team setup, it's impossible to have a round-robin in football or the preferred home-and-away schedule with all other conference teams in basketball. This situation creates turmoil when it comes to deciding championships.
Mancha, an All-America Center at Alabama during World War II, is extremely anxious to get FSU into the Southeastern Conference. He was on hand at last year's conference meeting, making a strong pitch for the Seminoles - although to no avail.
He said then that he was "very helpful" that there would be a realignment of the SEC within the next few years and that Florida State would figure in that realignment.
This past season, Florida State played only three football games against SEC teams and lost them all. But, in 1962, the Seminoles had a 1-1-3 record against five SEC teams, only one less than a league member must meet to qualify for the championship.
Memphis State showed that it's ready for SEC competition by tying Mississippi and beating Mississippi State. The Tigers have a 4-1 record against SEC basketball teams this winter, losing only to 6th-ranked Vanderbilt by six points at Nashville.
Both of these independents base their hopes in part on rumors that as many as three SEC schools may withdraw from the conference within the next couple of years. They figure that rather than cut back, the league would open the door to them as the vacancies develop.
This year's SEC meeting will be held here at the Americana next Thursday and Friday. Saturday morning has been set aside in case there's any unfinished business, but it's unlikely the meeting will run beyond Friday.
The faculty representatives, athletic directors, coaches and other officials of the member schools will arrive on Wednesday. They have a half dozen separate sessions set for Thursday with two full-scale business meetings set for Friday. The annual convention dinner will be Thursday night.
One of the most controversial issues expected to come before the the meeting is the subject of grants-in-aid. There is a difference of opinion both on the number of such grants that should be allowed and the academic requirements for them.
It has been reported that Georgia Tech is so upset over this issue that the Engineers, charter members of the 31-year-old conference, might go independent if changes are not made. Tech wants the right to recruit 40 to 45 new players each year without regard to the total number of scholarship boys in school.
The present rule allows 45 new grants-in-aid each year and an overall total of 140 for football and basketball combined.
Georgia Tech, Tulane and Vanderbilt have all expressed concern over the fact that entrance requirements at some schools are much stiffer than at others and want high uniform requirements established.
The grants-in-aid debate could be the key that opens the SEC door to Florida State and Memphis State.
ATLANTA, GA, January 24, 1964 - Georgia Tech withdrew from the SEC due to the grants-in aid issue.
Although the University of Florida had an expansion motion on the agenda aimed at getting now independent Florida State into the conference, there was no action taken.
ATLANTA, GA, January 23, 1965 - The annual meeting of the Southeastern Conference will begin in Atlanta Wednesday with the departure of Tulane, the discussion of a round-robin football schedule and the status of Commissioner Bernie Moore the key items up for consideration.
Other items most likely to be discussed are the possibility of conference expansion to include Florida State, although this move is expected to be voted down, and a plan to raise the overall limit on the number of football and basketball scholarships.
Tulane's relationship with the SEC was to have been the main order of business, but the school clarified its position December 31 by announcing it would pull out of the league in 1966.
Tulane's departure, which follows by one year the withdrawal of Georgia Tech, leaves the conference with 10 members and paves the way for the round-robin schedule. Barring last minute difficulties, this item is assured to pass.
On the only other major issue facing the conference, Florida will again sponsor for membership Florida State, one of the South's leading independents. FSU Athletic Director Vaughn Mancha holds high hopes of getting in this year, but conference sentiment is running against expansion.
The general feeling is that a conference of 10 schools is big enough.
ATLANTA, GA, January 29, 1965 - ...
Turned down Florida State's attempt to gain admission by not giving the motion a second.
BIRMINGHAM, AL, January 28, 1966 - ...
They (the SEC school presidents) refused to admit any new members, leaving Florida State and Memphis State standing on the threshold again.
Editors note: These are the guys who are supposedly sponsoring us for membership!
Ordinarily, you wouldn't expect the athletic director and head football coach at the University of Florida to say anything of particular significance as far as Florida State is concerned, but Ray Graves touched on a couple of things which affect the Seminoles when he spoke to a gathering of Florida alumni in Jacksonville recently.
One of these involved the chances - or lack of chances - for further expansion of the Southeastern Conference.
It is well known that FSU has long nurtured ambitions to become a member of the SEC. All attempts at achieving this goal have thus far been a failure, and if Graves is right, the chances for success in the future are nil.
"Changing anything is pretty difficult," Graves commented. "The feeling is that there are too many teams in the conference now. We can't play a round robin football schedule, for example.
"After Tulane leaves, we'll still have 10 teams. The thinking now is that we'll never take in another school. Of course, everybody thinks about what's best for themselves," Graves added.
NEW ORLEANS, LA, January 27, 1967 - ...
The school presidents, however, rejected a bid to boost the total number of basketball and football grants past the present 140 limit, and they also turned down proposals that Florida State and Memphis State be taken into the conference.
TAMPA, FL, January 25, 1968 - The possibility of Georgia Tech returning to the Southeastern Conference and Florida State winning membership was discussed informally by the officials Thursday night at the annual SEC meetings.
Tech has not indicated publicly that it wants to return to the SEC. Athletic Director Bobby Dodd said in Atlanta Thursday that such a decision was up to the administration, a Tech spokesman at the league meetings said.
Florida is sponsoring a recommendation that Florida State be admitted, but Florida Athletic Director Ray Graves said he believed the Seminoles could get in only if another team also joined.
TAMPA, FL, January 26, 1968 - Southeastern Conference school presidents voted down a proposal by the University of Florida Friday to admit Florida State to the SEC.
TALLAHASSEE, FL, February 17, 1968 - Florida State's annual safari to the hallowed halls of the Southeastern Conference to seek membership has drawn a blank each time.
There are now those in Tallahassee who feel perhaps FSU has prostrated itself long enough. The Seminole war party is grown up now, and if the SEC doesn't want them, forget it.
But there are also those who feel the other way. Not for more prostration, but for continued efforts to join.
Among those are Athletic Director Vaughn Mancha and FSU President Dr. John Champion.
Mancha is as weary of the annual brush-off as the president. But the former All-American from Alabama feels Florida State may be closer to membership than most people think.
"No one knows just how close we came in 1964," Mancha stated, "when Georgia Tech dropped out. In fact, the late Bernie Shively of Kentucky, who was all in favor of our admission, told me to be sure and have Dr. Gordon Blackwell (FSU president at that time) there for the meeting to accept membership.
"But at that particular meeting we didn't get a strong lobby from the University of Florida. They submitted our name, but that was about it. Also, LSU was strongly against our admission, favoring the smaller 10-team league.
"We still would have made it, I think, if political forces from the State of Tennessee hadn't intervened on behalf of Memphis State, and the whole plan was pigeonholed."
Since that time, Mancha said, when Florida State has asked for entry, there has been no strong voice raised on behalf of the Seminoles, although Florida has supported the move each time.
Dr. Champion believes President Stephen O'Connell of Florida will play a strong role in seeking admission for the Seminoles.
"I think President O'Connell wants us in the Southeastern Conference very much," Dr. Champion said, "and we believe he will actively assist us in this quest."
Manch agrees. "President O'Connell is a sincere and forthright man," he said. "We discussed this proposition at the last SEC meeting in Tampa, and he told me he was going to do all he could to gain admittance for Florida State."
Some local fans and sports authorities feel FSU is better off as an independent, but Mancha disputes this quite strongly.
"Our main problem in all athletics is scheduling," Mancha said. "If we could gain membership in the SEC our problems would be lessened considerably. Too, every year the SEC has from four to six representatives in bowl games, and the split is quite substantial. Of course, we have become a good bowl team, too, so we would be giving a great deal to the SEC, not just taking."
Mancha went into some detail about his scheduling, particularly in the two top sports, football and basketball.
"Right now, in our immediate scheduling, we have only Florida and Mississippi State as SEC opponents. The SEC is engaging in round-robin scheduling now, especially in basketball, and we're not playing the teams we once were. This year in basketball we do not play Georgia, Auburn, Alabama or Mississippi State. It is getting that way in football, too.
"We are making some progress in future scheduling, but it is difficult. We have been successful in football negotiations with Auburn, with a six-year home-and-home contract starting in 1970.
"I am hopeful of making some arrangements with Alabama, but in cases like these the life of an athletic director can be hectic. Last year when we signed Alabama, Coach (Bill) Peterson had misgivings about it. He didn't want any part of Alabama, but as things turned out, Alabama made our season for us.
"We are making some headway in future schedules," Mancha said, "but it would be so much easier if we were sure of six conference games a year."
Mancha listed some of the teams that look like "sure things" on future FSU schedules, including Texas, Georgia Tech, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Iowa State, Kansas State and Houston.
"I have a call to make to Penn State this week," he said, "and I feel real good about a home and home signing with them."
In addition to these teams, the Seminoles will have annual tussles with Florida, Miami and Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech has signed contracts for 1970, 1971 and 1975, and the Seminoles have signed to meet Clemson in Tallahassee in 1970 and 1976 and in Clemson in 1975.
Mancha said Florida State could probably get into the Atlantic Coast Conference quite easily, and the Seminoles even have been approached by the ACC. "But we play in the SEC's neighborhood," Mancha said. "Affiliation with the ACC in football, and especially basketball, would be fine," he said, "but the other sports would suffer because of travel distances."
The Seminoles are playing ACC opponents quite regularly in football, including South Carolina, N.C. State, Maryland, Wake Forest and now Clemson, but have made little progress in meeting these teams in basketball, with the exception of North Carolina.
NEW ORLEANS, LA, January 22, 1969 - The annual meeting of Southeastern Conference officials started Wednesday with Florida State apparently poised to make a strong bid to join the 10-member league.
Athletic directors and football coaches discussed the possibility of Florida State coming into the conference along with another team to give the league a 12-team two-division alignment.
Florida State has tried annually to get into the conference and has been rebuffed every year. However, Florida Athletic Director Ray Graves said he thinks the Seminoles have a stronger chance this year.
"I think four or five of the schools may support Florida State," said Graves, whose team plays Florida State every year anyway. He said he would like to see Georgia Tech return to the conference and the league be broken down into two divisions battling in a playoff for the SEC football title.
Florida State officials have prepared a brochure showing how the school has fared over the years against SEC teams, but there still seems to be considerable opposition within the league to enlarging the sprawling conference.
NEW ORLEANS, LA, January 24, 1969 - Florida State was put off again Friday by the Southeastern Conference...
In other action, the SEC:
Delayed a move to admit Florida State to the SEC until a committee can study expansion of the conference. The committee will report on the question at next year's SEC meeting at Tampa, Fl.
TALLAHASSEE, FL, September 15, 1969 - State Chancellor Robert Mautz said Monday he plans a major campaign to get a Southeastern Conference berth for the Florida State University Seminoles.
Mautz said he has a "commitment" of active help from University of Florida President Stephen C. O'Connell and is counting on help from Harry Philpot, president of Auburn.
Philpot was a former vice president of the University of Florida as was Mautz before becoming chancellor of the whole state system.
Mautz said FSU needs to be in the SEC to attract bigger crowds from out-of-state for home games.
The conference now is down to 10 teams - Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Annual bids by FSU have failed to bring the invitation for SEC membership although Tulane and Georgia Tech withdrew in recent years.
TAMPA, FL, January 30, 1970 - The prestigious Southeastern Conference slammed its door in the face of Florida State and Memphis State Friday and made it clear that any school seeking admission during the 1970s will be wasting time.
The presidents of the 10 conference schools, at the closing session of the SEC's 37th annual meeting here, voted 8-2 in support of a committee recommendation "against any expansion at the present time."
The two schools voting to expand were the University of Florida, which has been pushing Florida State for membership for many years, and Tennessee, Memphis State's sponsor.
Auburn President Harry Philpott, chairman of the expansion study committee, tried to soften the blow by pointing out the decision doesn't lock the door "since obviously the conference can reopen the issue at any future meeting from year to year."
But, Philpott added, "I personally don't see expansion within the next decade. I think the SEC is big enough now. Maybe, but I'm not suggesting this, another conference should be formed."
NEW ORLEANS, LA, January 29, 1971 - Confident and content, the Southeastern Conference closed its doors to other schools and gave its commissioner a new six-year contract Friday.
The 38-yard-old league, which has never admitted a new member, changed its constitution to limit the membership to a maximum of 10 schools, which is its current size.
The action was considered an almost permanent end to the admission efforts of such independents as Florida State and Southern Mississippi. For a new school to get in now, one of the current 10 members would have to drop out, a conception which seemed remote.
The SEC started in 1933 with 13 members - the current 10 plus Sewanee, Georgia Tech and Tulane, who have dropped out.