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SEC Meetings: The Fallout

So what should we take away from today’s voting in Destin?  Here’s are just a few observations:


* As we noted last week, Mike Slive would not have prepared a proposal to limit oversigning and publicized the fact that he had a proposal if he didn’t think he had the votes to pass said proposal.  While the unanimous vote certainly shows Slive’s ability to build a consensus (ie: his power), it also shows that he has a good grasp on the attitudes and moods of his presidents.

* Think the SEC’s presidents are tired of hearing how they’re a football factory first and foremost?  During Expansionpalooza last year it was often stated that the Big Ten, Pac-10 and Texas were all considering academics, entrance requirements, and membership in the esteemed Association of American Universities in their decisions.  Meanwhile the SEC was continually referred to as a “lesser” academic league.  Making matters worse, over the past year the oversigning issue has been used like a hammer on the league’s head… and last fall the SEC made news again for bringing in controversial transfer Jeremiah Masoli.  Today’s votes nuked the Masoli exception and placed the SEC at the front of the pack (just behind the Big Ten) in terms of oversigning.  Score one for the folks who want the SEC to be about more than just football.

* All those people in the media who like to talk about football coaches having the most power on college campuses will have to find a new drum to beat.  In the SEC at least, the coaches just took a drum-like beating.  After the coaches voted 12-0 to keep the oversigning rules as they were, the coaches’ bosses got together and voted 12-0 the other way… not only approving changes but approving major changes.  Changes so big that no one really expected them to even get serious consideration this week.  Here’s guessing a few presidents enjoyed flexing their muscles and making it clear to the world that they are not the puppets of their football coaches.

* Expect the Big Ten’ers to continue to whine about SEC advantages.  The argument will now have to shift, but you can expect the SEC to be taken to task for not capping its rosters at 85, period.  But Big Ten backers need to take it up with the Big 12 and Pac-10 and ACC, etc.  For now the SEC is second only to the Big Ten in terms of roster management.  Best whine about someone else, Yanks.

* The SEC’s coaches have to be absolutely livid.  They lost on almost every front this week.  Medical exemptions, grad student transfers, a 25-man cap on signees.  To put things in political terms, this was Reagan-Mondale and the coaches were Mondale.

* Last year during the expansion frenzy, we spent a lot of time breaking down the academic side of several potential moves and mergers (as well as the athletic and budgetary sides).  As a result, we took more than a little criticism from folks who claimed that football would trump all and that academics would play no role whatsoever.  At the time, we tried to remind those critics that while money makes the world go ’round, the men making the final decisions on conference shifts were — at heart — academicians.  We feel today’s vote in the football-crazy SEC validates our opinion.  Football matters.  A lot.  But even in the SEC, the schools are bigger than the football programs.  At least that’s the message the league’s presidents sent today.

* How much of today’s voting was a result of bad publicity?  How much of it was a reaction to a year’s worth of stories that put the SEC in a negative light?  If not for Cam Newton, Bruce Pearl, the HBO Four, Masoli and others, would the presidents have voted to take such drastic measures across the board in terms of roster management?  We seriously doubt it.  The league’s presidents wanted America to know that the SEC is not Delta House.

* How would you like to be Houston Nutt today?  It was his 37-man signing class two years ago that first drew national attention to the SEC’s oversigning ways.  His rush to snap up the troubled Masoli from Oregon last summer then created even more scrutiny for himself, his program and his conference.  In many ways, today’s voting can be viewed as a rebuke of Nutt and his methods of roster-building.  And don’t think several other SEC coaches aren’t quietly blaming him — at least in part — for creating a mess that they are now being held responsible for.

* How much of an impact will today’s moves have on the SEC’s future football success?  That depends on who else follows the league’s moves.  The commissioner noted today that the NCAA “should and will” follow the SEC’s lead.  If it does — and all other leagues move to a 25-man cap — then the resulting impact of these changes should not be too great.  As we’ve said time and again, the SEC has an enormous talent advantage over other leagues from other parts of the country.  But if the SEC is left out on an island with the Big Ten for several years — and we don’t see that happening — then the impact could be very big and very bad.  But again, we don’t see that happening and we certainly don’t see this as a time for football fans to start panicking.  Over the decades, rules have come and rules have gone and still the SEC has played America’s best brand of football.  We don’t believe today’s vote will change that.

 


14 comments
johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Allen...

I don't root for anyone in college sports. Root in pro sports for the Celtics, the Patriots, and the Blue Jackets.

As for smacking Houston Nutt, I simply pointed out that two of the big measures the SEC made this week directly tied back to Nutt's moves that brought bad pub to the league. Also, if you read the comments from coaches this week on this site, you saw that several referred to Nutt's 37-man class as a mistake.

I don't dislike Nutt and I find it remarkable that I'm being accused of always going after him. Arkansas fans repeatedly accuse me of defending him.

Methinks your own loyalties cloud your vision.

John

dwp007
dwp007

The Reverend Nutt has struck, again. I know MSU and Arkie fans are most pleased the Rev to be someone else's problem, though he now seems to have spread his vast and endless "wisdom" to the entire SEC. Can I hear you say, Amen?

Redstick
Redstick

Franklin - The author of this article didn't take the time to gather these facts.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Redstick...

The author of this article wasn't trying to say anything pro- or anti-oversigning. This article was an attempt to explain why the presidents ruled as they did and what message that ruling sends.

I also didn't discuss sub-prime mortgages, the impact of the Beatles on popular culture, or the Age of Enlightenment.

John

Bruce
Bruce

Those "facts" have nothing to do with anything. Do they tell you whether kids got lied to or a scholarship pulled out from under them by surprise in late August of their frosh year? No. Do they tell you whether the school had more kids on their roster who qualified academically than they could provide scholarships for? No. If you're going to criticize the blog's author, at least do some background research first.

Franklin Crittenden
Franklin Crittenden

Oversigning has become a big issue, no doubt...

When you look at the national list of teams that are oversigning over the last 10 years the SEC certainly leads the pack and Auburn leads the SEC:

All BCS Schools
_____________TOTALAVERAGE
Auburn_______253______28.11
Miss. State____247______27.44
Iowa State____243______27.00
South Carolina242______26.89
Arkansas_____239______26.56
Kansas State__238______26.44
Ole Miss______237______26.33
Alabama______235______26.11
West Virginia___235______26.11
Oregon State___235______26.11

Bruce
Bruce

Those numbers tell you nothing unless you know what kind of attrition the school had, how many players left early for the NFL, who went to JUCO and came in later, etc. Auburn's numbers are explained largely by the fact that it had two major coaching transitions in the period of that survey. So total numbers does not equal oversigning. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of a good argument.

Memphis
Memphis

Is it me or does Allen seem a bit bitter?

Allen
Allen

It's just you beale st badass

Dave
Dave

As for the roster rules, I like the changes. SEC football's an arms race, and saner heads have to prevail on matters like these. Thanks for all the updates this week.

Dave
Dave

Nick Saban won't be pleased? Think for a second about the assumptions that statement makes - about Saban, about prior medical hardships, and about all the people who played a role in making those decisions. I know you're churning out a ton of copy here, but you owe the Alabama medical staff an apology.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Dave...

Sorry, but I think Nick Saban won't be pleased with that ruling. And I certainly don't see that as an insult to the Alabama medical staff.

He wanted things left as they were. He's stated as much. If a man won't share roster information with the media, I find it hard to believe that he'd be happy about sharing info with the league AND allowing an outside panel to help determine who on his roster gets medical hardships.

Thanks for reading, but I don't think there's anything wrong with what I wrote.

John

I

Dave
Dave

It can be read as an assertion that he rigs the process, which would require complicity in the medical staff. But a clarification that you meant he's just secretive certainly helps.

southernpatriots
southernpatriots

Is Saban required to share roster information with the media? Is that also a new rule the SEC approved?

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