Tennessee Athletics Director Dave Hart says that the Southeastern Conference will expand again and that officials at each school need to have a number of frank discussions before moving forward.
The addition of Texas A&M as the SEC's 13th team was a good one, Hart said, but the league's leaders must take their next steps deliberately.
"I think a lot of the conversation is just where we go from here, obviously, because at some point 13 will not be the number," Hart said. "There are a multitude of components to this that we have yet to really delve into."
The SEC announced Sunday that Texas A&M will join the league in July after leaving the Big 12. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said later in the week that presidents and chancellors are not considering any other schools for admission and that he anticipates having no additional members for the 2012-13 season.
Possibilities of a 14th member include the Big 12's Missouri and the Big East's West Virginia or Louisville.
Hart, who was hired on Sept. 5 after spending three seasons at Alabama assisting Athletics Director Mal Moore, declined to say who he would like the 14th school to be.
NCAA President Mark Emmert is encouraging conferences to consider factors besides revenue when weighing whether to make changes. Emmert said he was concerned about the perception that money is driving the decisions, saying "this is not the NFL, the NBA; it's not a business." Hart disagreed.
"You can't be reactive in this business, and that's what it is," he said. "I know sometimes people are offended by the term 'business,' but there is a business aspect to intercollegiate athletics that you have to be cognizant of and be ready to position yourself as well as you possibly can."
The SEC distributed a record $18.3 million to each of its 12 schools earlier this year.
Updyke wants 'forgiveness'
Harvey Updyke, the man accused of poisoning the historic oak trees at Toomer's Corner in downtown Auburn, made a tearful apology on the radio to Auburn fans Wednesday but again didn't admit guilt, the Birmingham News reported. Against his attorneys' advice, Updyke told host Paul Finebaum that he was sorry to the "truly Auburn fans" but not the "haters."
"I'm not asking for sympathy. All I'm asking is forgiveness. I want the people that's Christians to understand I've done a lot of good in my life. I've never intentionally hurt anybody ... until this," he said.
Finebaum asked whether "this" was poisoning trees, but Updyke said, "Paul, you know I can't say that."
Around the nation
Mississippi: Chancellor Dan Jones said in a letter Thursday to alumni that he won't be pressured into firing Athletics Director Pete Boone. Jones said he's committed to athletic excellence and will not succumb to "anonymous, malicious and public attacks" demanding Boone be fired.
Boone and football coach Houston Nutt have been under pressure after a 1-3 start to the season. A mostly anonymous group called Forward Rebels has taken out several full-page ads in Mississippi newspapers demanding changes. Jones says he has received threats saying if he doesn't make changes, "It is going to get real ugly."
South Carolina: Freshman receiver Damiere Byrd has regained his eligibility in time for the 10th-ranked Gamecocks (4-0, 2-0 SEC) to host Auburn (3-1, 1-0) on Saturday. Byrd was suspended four games and ordered to pay back $2,700 in impermissible benefits by the NCAA.