• Loading stock data...
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
  • -
    days
  • -
    hours
  • -
    minutes
  • -
    seconds

Move Over Football. The SEC Is A Women’s Hoops Conference.

  • The most successful football conference has made a bold statement this year in women’s basketball.
  • The conference had more teams than any other qualify for women’s March Madness, and now two in Final Four.
ESPN will broadcast the WBIT, the NCAA's new women's college basketball tournament.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

From powerhouses like Tennessee to multiple-team bids to the NCAA tournament, the Southeastern Conference has a history of women’s basketball success. But in the football-dominate shuffle of conference realignment and television contracts, that seemed to be forgotten — until now.

“I feel like the SEC [women’s basketball], in a lot of ways, was disrespected all year,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey told reporters on Tuesday. She added how impressive the tournament showing was, noting the SEC should promote it:

  • She said she thought Ole Miss and Tennessee should have been ranked in the top 25 from the start.
  • Then, the SEC had seven teams qualify for the tournament — only the ACC topped it with eight. 
  • Four survived to the Sweet 16, and now, two of four Final Four teams come from the SEC: the LSU Tigers and the reigning champion South Carolina Gamecocks. (The last time the SEC sent multiple teams to the Final Four was in 2017, when the Gamecocks took down Mississippi State in Dallas.)

When the conference adds Texas in 2024, it will gain yet another women’s basketball powerhouse that could add to its March Madness tally.

It makes sense that the SEC would dominate women’s basketball given that its routinely one of the richest conferences in college sports — and has plenty of money to go around. 

The conference sent $698.5 million to schools in 2021-22, for example. It’s slated to send even more when its new contract with Disney, worth $3 billion over 10 years, kicks into effect in 2024.

“The reason why I came to the SEC 15 years ago was because I wanted to win a national championship,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley told reporters Tuesday. “I just thought that the league itself, how competitive it is, the coaches that are in the league, how much you’re going to be forced to get better.”

“We are hiring the right people to ensure that these types of things can happen,” Staley said. 

Guess what helps with that? Money. 

The SEC has three coaches in the top 10 for annual compensation: Staley ($2.7 million) Mulkey ($2.6 million) and Texas A&M’s Gary Blair ($1.25 million). When Texas joins the conference, it will add a fourth.

“Obviously,” Staley said, “we’re recruiting the right [players] as well.”

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark Should Make a WNBA Roster. Their Teammates Didn’t

The draft could mark a significant financial turning point for the WNBA.

‘Nothing Is Off the Table’: New AAC Commissioner Isn’t Afraid of the Controversial Ideas

Tim Pernetti told reporters he’s specifically interested in private equity—and didn’t rule out athlete employment or unionization models.

Deion Sanders: NFL Teams Manipulate Draft Positions

Coach Prime joined ‘Front Office Sports Today’ to discuss the state of college football.

John Calipari’s Kentucky Exit Is As Slow and Awkward As a Dog in a Stroller

Calipari steps away from Kentucky with the Arkansas deal still unofficial.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Can MLS Get Bigger Than MLB?

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Nike
Multiple - USA Careers
NBA
Multiple - USA Careers
Dunham's Sports
Multiple - USA Careers

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer Retires With ACC Move Looming

She set the all-time coaching record with 1,216 wins.
April 8, 2024

With Back-To-Back Titles, UConn Proves Basketball Is About More Than Power

Unlike in FBS football, a non-Power 5 basketball school can dominate.
April 9, 2024

Simultaneous Final Fours: An Untenable Logistical Conundrum

The women’s Final Four has gotten much too big to take place at the exact same time—in a different location—as its men’s counterpart.
Sponsored

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 8, 2024

South Carolina’s Title Win Smashes Ratings Records in Caitlin Clark’s Finale

The NCAA title game became the most-watched women’s college basketball game.
April 8, 2024

NAIA Votes to Ban Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

Could the NCAA follow the NAIA in its transgender women ban?
April 8, 2024

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, John ’Em: Calipari Adapts to NIL Era

Jumping from Kentucky to Arkansas, one of college basketball’s foremost recruiters becomes a prominent face of the sport’s NIL era.
April 8, 2024

Amateurism Is Dying, but It’s Business As Usual at the Men’s Final Four

The story looming over everything is what no one is talking about.