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Just 3 SEC Schools On The “Party Schools” List?

bluto-whiskeyThe Princeton Review has published the 2013 versions of its annual “party schools” and “sober schools” lists.  Interestingly, there are only three SEC schools in the 20-member “party school” club.  (Apparently there are no bonus points awarded for butt-chugging.)


1.  Iowa

2.  UC-Santa Barbara

3.  Illinois

4.  West Virginia

5.  Syracuse

6.  Florida

7.  Ohio

8.  Wisconsin

9.  Penn State

10.  Lehigh

11.  Georgia

12.  Florida State

13.  DePauw (not DePaul, but DePauw)

14.  Mississippi

15.  Texas

16.  Miami (OH)

17.  Maryland

18.  Tulane

19.  Vermont

20.  Oregon


Thirteen of those schools deal with Northern weather which might lead more students to stay indoors at a campus watering hole.  The Big Ten has five schools on the list, two more than the SEC.  Here’s guessing this is one ranking Jim Delany didn’t want his league to dominate.

As for the 20 “sober schools,” well, why even bother showing them?  BYU (#1), Army and Navy are the only schools on the list that play Division I football.

You can find both lists right here.  The Princeton Review website has apparently been crushed by traffic, but you can check it out right here.

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Slive Talks Leadership, Bridge-Building In New Forbes Profile

mike-slive-portrait-shotGot a few minutes for an uber-interesting profile of SEC commissioner Mike Slive?  Good.  Then click right here.  In a new profile by, Slive’s leadership strategies are put under the microscope.  The result is a fascinating view of how the commissioner has helped steer the conference into its “Golden Age.”

First and foremost, an esprit de corps has been cultivated:


“By definition, a conference has two seemingly incompatible components that have to operate simultaneously, (1) passionate, competitive rivalries, and (2) a group of institutions that needs to come together as a single organization to strengthen each and every unit and the conference as a whole.  We’ve had to try and balance that for almost 80 years, but only now is there an expectation that even in the pursuit of our individual goals, the conference needs to get stronger by moving forward together.”


We’ve stated on a number of occasions that the SEC and Big Ten have pulled away from all other conferences thanks in large part to their member institutions’ willingness to work with one another for the greater good.  The polar opposite would be the Big XII, dominated fiscally and politically by Texas for so long.

The SEC and Big Ten — under Slive and Jim Delany — have both succeeded as a result of an “all for one, one for all” mentality.  In the Southeastern Conference, Slive makes it clear that working together is not only a goal, but a necessity… as one school depends on another:


“When we meet with first-year coaches, I immediately tell them, ‘You’re all going to make a mistake, it’s almost guaranteed.  If you make a mistake, just report it.  We’ll deal with it.  But if you intentionally break a rule, I hope you get fired.  You’re a celebrity in your universe, and everything you do reflects not only on you, but your family, institution and us.  And for that privilege you have to give us something back.  You have to be held accountable.”


Again, this examination of Slive’s leadership strategies is well worth your time.

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ACC Commish Talks “Need-Based” Funding Increases For Athletes

offering-cashMike Slive has been banging the drum for more than a year for his schools to be given the right to offer additional financial aid to their student-athletes.  The SEC commissioner has repeatedly spoken of the need to provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.  He did so again during SEC Media Days in a message that many viewed as a warning shot across the NCAA’s bow.  The commish said that view wasn’t “totally inaccurate.”

ACC commissioner John Swofford, long an ally of Slive, spoke yesterday about “the financial well-being of scholarship athletes,” but he seemed a bit more timid in his approach bringing up the idea of “need-based” funding:


“We’ve been talking about this nationally for several years now without finding something that works.  It’s very difficult to look at it in terms of a sport — or two sports — just from a legal standpoint with Title IX, and what’s appropriate and what’s legal and what’s moral and how you address that.  Should it be based just on need?  A lot of people have been supporting of enhancing a scholarship if it’s just based on need…

I’m not for paying players.  I don’t think that’s what college athletics is about.  But I am for looking — very diligently — at ways to enhance the scholarship itself, whether it’s need-based, or whether it’s a simple stipend, or some other way to approach it such as going to the full cost of attendance.

But you’ve got to be able to find something that enough people can accept and support in order to move it forward.  So far we have not been able to do that.”


Need-based increases are not what Slive and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany have proposed in recent years.  So why isn’t Swofford following their lead?  Well, Slive and Delany happen to captain the two richest ships in the college sports ocean.  Swofford, meanwhile, is behind the wheel of the poorest — and we use that term loosely — of the five remaining major conferences.

Slive and Delany know that their schools can and will be able to afford to provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.  Doing so would also further provide a recruiting advantage for their member institutions.  Swofford’s full roster of schools might not be able to afford to buy such an advantage for themselves right now.

We’ll tackle this issue a bit more tomorrow, but for now, we find it interesting that Swofford is talking about “need-based” increases.

As we’ve stated on numerous occasions, we believe the biggest conferences will eventually form their own new division at the deep end of the current FBS pool.  Those schools will then provide greater financial assistance to their student-athletes.

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Football Honchos In No Rush To Populate Playoff Selection Committee

gfx - they said itThe last missing piece from college football’s new playoff puzzle is the committee that will select the teams to take part.  While the FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick met yesterday in Colorado Springs to work on the puzzle, they don’t seem to be in any rush to actually put that last place in piece…


“We’re gonna be very deliberate about it and thorough.”

– Bill Hancock, head of the BCS and soon to be head of the College Football Playoff


“I think we’re all comfortable with the time frame.  I think we made enough progress today to keep us on course… We’ve got several months to get through the process.”

– SEC commissioner Mike Slive


Yesterday, the commissioners reportedly kicked around the names of more than 100 potential committee members.  Big Ten commish Jim Delany said of Hancock: “We give him the names, he’ll do the contacting.”  Hancock says the contacting of panelists will begin this summer.

Regardless of how many committee members will serve and regardless of who those members will be, the new playoff selection committee is guaranteed to be the most controversial aspect of the new playoff system.

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Slive Has Already Accepted An Apology From OSU’s Gee; Columnists, Twitter Outraged

pointed-finger-accusationOhio State president Gordon Gee has once again botched a joke in a public setting.  Actually, he botched several jokes.  His attempts at being funny in front of an OSU athletic council meeting back in December have turned into a national scandal — what doesn’t? — and now he’s having to beg for forgiveness.

If you missed his comments, you can read them here.  Putting it simply, the ex-Vanderbilt chancellor fired a shot at SEC academics while also managing to insult Notre Dame, Louisville, the ACC, and Catholics everywhere.  And, yes, the Catholic thing is the biggie.

Being an ex-SEC man himself, Gee knows SEC commissioner Mike Slive quite well.  And according to Slive, Gee has already called him to apologize.  So has Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.  And Slive has accepted both men’s apologies:


“(Gee) called me a week or so ago and he said he said some things that he wanted to apologize for.  I didn’t know what they were, he didn’t say what they were and (he) said they might come out and wanted (me) to know he was very apologetic and very sorry for what he said.

Subsequently I got a call from Jim Delany the other day, prior to it coming out and not only did he apologize… he made it abundantly clear that he has great respect for the Southeastern Conference, enjoys the competitions and Gordon Gee was not speaking for him or the Big Ten and he apologized on behalf of himself and on behalf of the Big Ten conference.”


Enough.  End of story.

When I first read the Gee story I thought to myself: “What a stupid thing for a university president to say in public, even in a joking manner.”  Then I wrote that.  And then I moved on.

Unfortunately half the folks in America are now out for Gee’s head, outraged — outraged!!! — over his comments.

Lighten up, Francis.

Gee was trying to be cute and as is usually the case when he tries to be cute — “I hope Jim Tressel doesn’t dismiss me” –  he failed miserably.

Sadly, as a society we no longer have the ability to move on from anything.  Take Florida assistant Tim Davis’ “devil” comment regarding Alabama’s Nick Saban.  It was a dumb thing to say in public, joking or not.  UF coach Will Muschamp and AD Jeremy Foley both called Saban to apologize on Davis’ behalf, though the assistant — the one guy who should have apologized — hasn’t.

But did we really need two full weeks of national stories on that topic?

Mention it.  Give an opinion on it.  Move on.

But that’s now what happened in Davis’ case.  And it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen in L’affaire Gee, either.

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Wow Headlines 5/17/2013

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin opposes potential move to nine-game schedule..
…”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Tennessee A.D. Dave Hart on coach Butch Jones:  ”I think he’s off to a very, very good start in terms of galvanizing our fan base.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban on preparing for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel: ”I think that’s an ongoing process around here.”
Saban has recruited or coached 111 NFL players, 33 of them at Alabama
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on the status of expansion: “Dead is a strong word”
Thanks to U.S. Open tennis shifting to ESPN, possible to see more early SEC games on CBS starting in 2015
Follow SEC news year-round at and on Twitter at

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USC’s Spurrier Talking Cash For Players Again; Big Ten’s Delany Goes The Other Way

handing over cashToday the SEC and ESPN will announce their plans for the SEC Network.  When all’s said and done it will be the biggest cash cow this side of a Chick-fil-A television ad.  That’s gotten South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier back behind his pulpit, calling for college athletes to receive some form of payment for their work:


“As the commissioner and the presidents and the athletic directors all say, we are going to make a whole lot more money.  My question is, ‘When are we going to start giving a little big of it to the performers?’  Football and basketball players.  It won’t do any good probably, but I’m going to still keep yelling for them.  They bring in an awful lot of money for all of us.”


Some thoughts on Spurrier’s push:


1.  SEC commissioner Mike Slive has been pushing for athletes to receive a stipend of some sorts and spoke of that topic as recently as this week.  So Spurrier’s preaching to the choir when he mentions the league’s power brokers.

2.  Spurrier mentioned only football and basketball players in his comment.  Apparently he believes that only those players from the two traditional revenue sports should be paid.  That makes sense.  But if he thinks athletes from non-revenue sports won’t have their hands out, too, he’s dreaming.

3.  To “keep yelling for” athletes to get paid can’t hurt Spurrier on the recruiting trail.  He can tell any young man that he’s got the kid’s back and will work to get him a stipend or a salary or — as he once suggested — a few hundred bucks out of his own pocket.


Ironically, while Spurrier is pushing for players to be paid because “they bring in an awful lot of money for all of us,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is pulling in the other direction.  While discussing the Ed O’Bannon case, Delany was asked about high-profile athletes like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel not making a penny from sales of replica Manziel jerseys.

“If Johnny Manziel was playing arena football tomorrow, what is his uniform worth?” Delany asked in response.

There’s no question that if Manziel were just as successful at Utah State, there would be nowhere near the jersey sales.  Texas A&M has a long history and a huge fanbase.  His point — if a tad cold — is sound.

But so is Spurrier’s.  Somewhere between Spurrier and Delany the truth lies.  Question is — When will NCAA leaders find common ground to compromise?

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UNC Looking To Boost Athletic Revenue By 40%

gfx - they said itAccording to Jason deBruyn of The Triangle Business Journal — an online site covering business news in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill triangle of North Carolina — UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham is looking for cash.  Lots of cash.  As in 40% more athletic department revenue.

According to deBruyn:


“The Tar Heels operate on just more than $70 million for 28 sports (13 men’s and 15 women’s).  While that’s a nice chuck of change, it’s less than other major universities like Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State and Texas, all of which, except for Ohio State, offer fewer total sports.

Florida, Ohio State and Texas each count operating expenses north of $100 million, with Texas shelling out $125 million for only 20 total sports, the fewest of all the universities listed above.

Getting UNC-Chapel Hill to $100 million will not be easy, and won’t come from just one magical source, says Cunningham…”


Speaking last Wednesday, Cunningham said reaching the $100 million level will require increased ticket sales, donations, sponsorship deals, and media rights deals.

You think Jim Delany or Mike Slive might point out that conference realignment can serve help to boost athletic department revenues, too?  For that matter, do you think John Swofford’s ears might have perked up when he got wind of those remarks?

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Big Ten/Pac-12 Scheduling Agreement Goes Bye-Bye; SEC Wins

That whole Big Ten/Pac-12 football scheduling partnership?  Uh, yeah, not happening.  The two leagues announced today that the agreement died before it ever came into being.  That, my friends, is a small win for the SEC.

As we’ve told you for months, the SEC’s decision not to go to a nine-game schedule left it as the only one of the big five leagues not requiring its members to play at least nine BCS-level foes per year.  Writers and talking heads from California to New York and even Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany have alluded to that fact in the past couple of months.  The SEC’s decision to stick at eight league games was an open invitation for everyone outside the South to say, “Hey, they don’t schedule as well as other leagues.”  With playoff berths set to be determined by a selection committee, that kind of talk could hurt the SEC’s chances of landing more than one team in said postseason tourney.

Not anymore.  While the Pac-12 and ACC and Big 12 all still play nine-game conference schedules, the Big Ten sits at eight.  The Pac-12 agreement would have guaranteed Delany’s schools a ninth big-time game.  But the Pac-12 has cited its own nine-game schedule and “previous non-conference commitments” as reasons to kill the deal.  No wonder.  A Pac-12 school like Southern Cal might have wound up playing 11 or even 12 games against top-level programs in a given year thanks to its existing rivalry with Notre Dame and an upcoming scheduling agreement with Texas.

Just last weekend, the head of the SEC’s transition team — former Mississippi State AD Larry Templeton — suggested that the SEC would once again discuss a nine-game schedule in the future due to the new playoff system.  But as long as the Big Ten doesn’t go to a nine-game league schedule, the SEC appears to have more company in the “We just play eight” boat.  (Of course, the Big Ten was planning to go to a nine-game schedule before striking its deal with the Pac-12, so it’s certainly possible that it could decide to go down that road and once again leave the SEC as the lone eight-gamer in major college football.)

But for now, this is a small victory for the SEC in terms of national perception.  Today there’s one less league and one less group of fans who can accuse Mike Slive’s conference of ducking major out-of-conference competition.

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SEC Headlines – 6/12/12

1.  ESPN’s Mark Schlabach breaks down the playoff battle brewing between Jim Delany and Mike Slive.

2.  Could a playoff system really cut the little guys from the little conferences out of the race altogether?

3.  This NBA mock draft has the top three players coming from the SEC.

4.  The manhunt for the alleged shooter at Auburn goes on… after police raided the wrong Alabama house.  (Two arrests have already been made in the case.)

UPDATE — Police now say reports of them raiding the wrong house are inaccurate.

5.  This writer says Gene Chizik is the right man to help lead AU through its current tragic crisis.

6.  Mark Richt’s new contract at Georgia states: “It is expected that the recruitment of junior college student-athletes will be kept to a minimum…”

7.  Andy Staples of says UGA’s drug policy is noble, but it puts the Dawgs at a disadvantage.

8.  Joker Phillips has ended two long Kentucky streaks for futility, but there are still more streaks to snap.

9.  Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin is taking his hoops program to children across the Volunteer State.

10.  Vanderbilt’s James Franklin thinks the SEC “is difficult enough” with an eight-game football schedule.

11.  According to The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Missouri will be an underdog in six of its 12 SEC games this fall.

12.  Sad.  Just a sad day for sports and news coverage.  (Link fixed, sorry.)


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