Here’s a quickie look at what made news yesterday in Destin.
SEC Football Scheduling
1. The 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan might still be the most popular scheduling option, but a 6-2 format (with no permanent cross-division rivals) or a nine-game schedule are back from the dead.
2. LSU AD Joe Alleva says “even though it’s unfair and inequitable” only his school, South Carolina and Texas A&M are strongly against the 6-1-1 plan. (Then it must not be that unfair and inequitable.)
3. Texas A&M might just replace Arkansas at the end of LSU’s football schedule.
4. Georgia AD Greg McGarity said yesterday that schedule talks were “kind of all over the place.”
5. Here’s another look at all the schedule possibilities being kicked about.
6. Yet another writer believes a nine-game slate would fix a lot of the SEC’s woes. (Too bad then that Mike Slive seems happy to leave things to his coaches and ADs to decide.) A must read from John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader.
7. New Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork basically admits that cowardice and a love of creampuffs are the only reason not to go to nine games: “From a bowl-eligibility standpoint eight games makes the most sense.”
SEC Basketball Scheduling
1. The 1-4-8 hoops plan seems to be the leader in the clubhouse. The league gave the coaches the choice of keeping one, two or three permanent home-and-away opponents and the coaches liked the idea of keeping just one. (Wonder how the fans would have voted.)
2. The permanent home-and-away hoops matchups appear to be Florida-Kentucky, Georgia-South Carolina, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Arkansas-Missouri, Alabama-Auburn, and LSU-Texas A&M.
3. Alabama’s Anthony Grant doesn’t care what passes so long as the league gets a bunch of teams into the NCAA Tournament.
4. LSU’s Johnny Jones says, “I think it’s great to always have a rival.” (Imagine how great having three or four might be.)
1. Here’s a look at the SEC’s potential network partnership with ESPN which is — for now — being referred to as “Project X.” No, really.
2. Bjork says the SEC now reaches 80 million households across its geographic footprint and that it should get good news from ESPN and CBS this summer as a result.
Spurrier’s New Proposal
1. Last year, Steve Spurrier proposed that coaches pay some of their players — not all, just some — out of their own pockets. Now he’s calling for athletes in the revenue-producing sports to get $3,500 to $4,000 a year. Though all the league’s coaches claim to be in favor of aiding athletes, some realize that it would be impossible to just pay athletes in some sports.
2. Spurrier’s latest proposal came just as his “let’s not count cross-division games” proposal was dying in committee, as expected. Mark Richt: “We were not able to come to a consensus on that. The more that was discussed, the more everybody realized that’s not gonna happen. Your crossover game sare gonna have to count. It’s true in just about every sport in America; you may have your divisional games in the NFL, and you may have your games that are not.” (Apparently Les Miles even pulled his support from Spurrier’s division champion plan.)
3. Sidenote — Last week, Spurrier told ESPN’s Chris Low that he doesn’t care if folks like what he says or not “because it’s all just a bunch of talk.” This writer has come to the conclusion that Spurrier just likes to stir the pot in Destin every year for the simple sake of doing so. Paying 70 players out of his pocket wasn’t going to happen. Not counting cross-division games wasn’t going to pass. Doubling the stipend currently being discussed for just football and basketball players won’t pass muster, either. I think the Ol’ Ball Coach just enjoys pulling folks’ chains.
Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News does a good job — as always — of conveying the frustration that seemed to permeate the mood in Destin yesterday. He explains that the conference is currently bogged down in the “muck” of its own expansion.
Mike Slive compared the situation to what happened in 1992 after the league’s last expansion. ”What happens in the short is there’s difficulties. But over time tradition builds, rivalries build and they develop. I anticipate that over time we’ll be as cohesive as we were.”
But as we noted earlier today, the men leading the SEC in 1992 were more focused on protecting as many rivalries and traditions as possible while still growing. This current batch of SEC trustees seem much more interested in grabbing greenbacks and sissifying their own schools’ schedules.