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Slive Opens Media Days With Talk About Troubles And Solutions

Here’s a rundown of commissioner Mike Slive’s comments:

* “The rumors of my resignation are greatly exaggerated.”  Apparently all the talk of a “big announcement” led some to think that he would step down.

* Slive said that instead of bragging about his league’s accomplishments, he would talk about a bigger topic:

“We don’t have the luxury of acting as if it’s business as usual.  And that’s been made clear by headlines emanating from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf to the Great Lakes.  As NCAA president Mark Emmert has observed ‘the events giving rise to these headlines indicate the intercollegiate athletics has lost the benefit of the doubt.’”

* “For the past 30 years we have seen reform efforts come… and go.  While the NCAA manual continues to grow in size and complexity.  Too many of our student-athletes still come to us ill-prepared academically.  NCAA and conference revenues continue to increase.  Coaches’ compensation continues to grow.  And highly publicized infractions cases have increased the level of scrutiny placed on this uniquely and wonderful American combination of athletic competition and higher education.  With that as a backdrop and in an effort to support and follow up on some of president Mark Emmert’s initiative, we have developed an agenda that is intended to stimulate national discussion.  An agenda for change, if you will, with the hope that we will see significant action in the foreseeable future.”

* The four key parts of Slive’s “agenda” are as follows:

1.  Redefine the benefits available to our student-athletes

(Slive pushed for a cost-of-attendance plan.  Slive admitted that some schools would have a hard time providing more money to athletes but he said cash should not prevent the NCAA from doing what’s right.  That’s easy to say if you’re one of the guy’s with big money.  Slive also suggested that the NCAA consider making scholarships “multi-year awards” rather than one-year renewable deals that allow coaches to jiggle their rosters each offseason.)

2.  Strengthen academic eligibility requirements for incoming freshmen and two-year transfers

(This one is sure to raise the hackles of Southern football coaches who continually say that schools in the South are weaker and therefore schools should take more chances on players, not less.  Slive suggested increasing the mininum GPA for freshman from a 2.0 to a 2.5 in the 16 core courses.  Slive also suggested that the partial-qualifier classification could be brought back if other parts of this plan were enacted.)

3.  Modernize the recruiting rules

(“It’s time to push the reset button.”  Slive said that differences in location, tradition and even climate make the idea of a level playing field “an illusion.”  The commissioner proposed legalizing the use of electronic devices and social networks.  Slive also wants to simplify the recruiting calendar.  “Maybe we can make the so-called ‘bump’ history,” he said.)

4.  Continue to support the NCAA’s efforts to improve the enforcement process.

(Slive offered “clear support” for NCAA brass in the attempt to “restructure the NCAA enforcement process in order to effectively focus resources on cases of core importance in a timely fashion.”  Slive wants to work with the NCAA to create “a greatly streamlined” NCAA rulebook.  Slive also supported the NCAA’s decision to study the terms “major” and “secondary” violations.)

* Slive said that his agenda is intended to spur discussion at the upcoming NCAA presidents’ retreat. 

* As expected, Slive has clearly been in contact with Emmert on this front.  As was the case a couple of months ago when the SEC sent the NCAA a proposal to change some recruiting rules, the SEC is once again the group that’s sending up a test balloon for all of the other leagues to discuss.  This shows a continued connection between Slive and Emmert, the SEC and the NCAA.  Despite the league’s recent scandals, walking hand-in-hand with the NCAA is a smart decision.

SIDENOTE — Keep in mind that the SEC is putting forth a list of topics for discussion by other conferences and college presidents.  Slive and the SEC are not going to implement this agenda by its lonesome.  The SEC’s agenda is a road map… whether or not everyone arrives at Slive’s preferred destination remains to be seen.




  1. [...] commissioner John Swofford’s opening speech from his league’s media days event mirrored that of SEC commissioner Mike Slive.  NCAA president Mark Emmert has a plan.  League commissioners across the country are aware of his [...]

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