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Slive Worked With Emmert On Proposal

Yesterday we wrote the following regarding Mike Slive’s opening speech regarding an NCAA agenda change:

“As expected, Slive has clearly been in contact with (NCAA president Mark) 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.”

Turns out, that was exactly the case.  Matt Hayes of The Sporting News wrote this as a wrap of the speech:

“Understand this about the NCAA and its utterly useless ability to create and make change in college sports: It’s not the NCAA’s fault.

The NCAA is powerless when it comes to making change, powerless to lead and cultivate an argument from a proposition to law — unless member institutions are in aggreement.  The job of president (see: Emmert) is voted upon by member institutions, and the president of the NCA, in many ways, is simply beholden to university presidents.

That’s what makes Slive’s proclamation so stunning.  No one listens to the NCAA president.

Everyone listens to the commissioner of the most powerful conference in college sports.

‘Mark Emmert will not be surprised by what I’ve said,’ Slive said.

That’s because Emmert and Slive and associate SEC commissioner Greg Sankey worked on this proposal for weeks, fine-tuning talking points that will eventually become the syllabus for the ‘retreat’ Emmert announced last month — whether university presidents and conference commissioners will gather to discuss serious change.”

What this shows is that Slive has Emmert’s ear.  Not a surprise since Emmert was once the chancellor at LSU.  But the positive here is that it’s good for the commissioner of your favorite league to be the go-to guy for head of the NCAA.

The more Slive and Emmert work together, the quicker the SEC will shake off its outlaw reputation.  (Well, that and schools have to actually stop cheating.)

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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.

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Emmert Says NCAA Needs Big Changes

NCAA president Mark Emmert has called a brainstorming retreat for the second week of August in which he and about 50 university presidents will discuss the challenges facing college sports today.  Yesterday, Emmert made it clear on the NCAA’s official website that he believes big changes need to be made in order to deal with those challenges:

“The integrity of collegiate athletics is seriously challenged today by rapidly growing pressures coming from many directions.  We have reached a point where incremental change is not sufficient to meet these challenges.  I want us to act more aggressively and in a more comprehensive way than we have in the past.  A few new tweaks of the rules won’t get the job done.”

Get ready to hear more talk of a new “big money” division within the NCAA football structure.  Rather than a split from the NCAA, several coaches, administrators and media members now expect — at some point — that the big BCS leagues will become their own division as part of an overall NCAA restructuring. 

Emmert alluded to the fact that “the huge financial differences across Division I make it very hard to create ‘one-size-fits-all rules.”

We have scoffed at the idea of a BCS breakaway from the NCAA for years.  “Who writes the new rulebook?  What about basketball, baseball and other sports?”  A new division within Division I, however?  Very doable.

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Writer: Lyles Can’t Be Trusted After Flip-Flop On Oregon

If you’re among the fire-eating LSU fans who become outraged at the mere suggestion that the Tigers and street agent Willie Lyles might have been involved in some out-of-bounds behavior, you might as well stop reading here.  Save yourself the headache and save us the nasty emails.

If, however, you’re among the many, many rationale Tiger fans who are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, we suggest you keep reading.

This much we know: Lyles — who has turned into a one-man nightmare for the Oregon football program — was also paid $6,000 by LSU for work he did for Les Miles’ staff.  Lyles says that work was legit.  LSU says that work was legit.

But as John DeShazier of The New Orleans Times-Picayune points out, that’s what Lyles said about Oregon, too… intially:

“But if he now is telling the truth about his relationship with Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Kelly’s assistants (and he seems to have documentation proving Oregon’s gratefulness for him wielding influence), we know his previous attempt to cover for himself and Oregon isn’t true.  So you’ll have to forgive me if, given the way scandal has erupted throughout college sports — and, specifically, the way smut is leaking from big-time football in the BCS conferences — in the last calendar year along, I’m more inclined to presume guilt rather than innocence right now.

‘In eight years of working in scouting and working for bigger companies and doing different things in scouting, you get a chance to see a lot and do a lot,’ Lyles said Tuesday during an interview with a Portland, Oregon radio station.  ‘You see a lot of things that go on.

‘That’s just stuff that I don’t want to even touch at this point and that’s about it.  I haven’t decided on what information I do want to talk about at this point as far as dealing with them.  I don’t want to say anything that’s out of line and out of turn as far as my dealings with LSU.’

Actually, it’s a little late in the game for Lyles to dummy up, given that he has given up Oregon via the claim that he believes Oregon paid him to steer players to Eugene.

So, to think Lyles and LSU would be incapable of doing what Lyles and Oregon apparently did would be beyond naive.”

Yes, it would.  As DeShazier points out, there’s no reason to think that Miles and LSU did pay Lyles to steer prospects toward Baton Rouge — not yet anyway — but there’s also no reason to rule out that possibility.  Even though many on The Bayou would definitely to do so.

First, LSU got itself mixed up with a guy who clearly walks outside the lines and has no problem — in Oregon’s case at least — being a rat.  That’s not good.  Whether he did anything improper for LSU or not, Lyles is trouble.  That’s why the NCAA is likely to keep digging on Lyles and on all of his dealings with various schools.

Second, no school should ever want the NCAA snooping around its campus and that’s especially true right now.  Mark Emmert and crew currently have their antennae up and their general mood suggests rule-breakers will be taken to the woodshed.

For those reasons, the wise fan clad in purple and gold will admit to being a little nervous over the Lyles situation.  Not panicking, mind you, but nervous.  And the wise fan is certainly not confident.  With Lyles rolling over on the Oregon, how could he be?

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Slive Talks About Rule Change Recommendations

Yesterday we discussed several proposed rule changes recently sent by the SEC to the NCAA for its consideration.  You can find the details of the SEC’s letter — as well as our thoughts on the letter – right here.

But how did this proposal come to be in the first place?  Mike Slive explains:

“It was a result of meetings and legislation that we were already discussing and, in some instances, had already started to implement within the SEC.  And ultimately, its goal is just to modernize the current rules, catch up to technology and society and to make a confusing process easier not only on the schools but the prospects and their families.”

Surprisingly, there’s been little reaction to the SEC’s proposed changes on a national level.  We’re still waiting for someone to ask Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany for his take.

That said, we still believe one key national figure was aware of the proposal before it arrived in the NCAA’s mailbox — NCAA president Mark Emmert.  Emmert was in Destin for a day during the SEC’s spring meetings and Slive likely ran the gist of the proposal by him at that point.

Heading into Destin, Slive let it be known that he had a proposal at the ready to change the SEC’s oversigning rules.  When that story came out, we opined that Slive wouldn’t go public with a proposal if hadn’t already taken a straw poll to see if it would indeed pass.  And it did pass.

The same holds true — in our opinion — here.  The SEC and Slive likely would not have sent this proposal to the NCAA if they didn’t believe it had a good chance of gaining some traction.

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Scarbinsky Openly Mocks – In Writing

A few days ago the website posted a hit job on Auburn regarding Gene Chizik’s contract.  We looked over the post, felt the writer’s two plus two equaled five and didn’t reference it or post a link to it on

As AU fans know — Lord knows we hear from them — many times we have posted links to when their postings a) featured more factual information than supposition and/or b) elicited solid responses from other media members.  In the case of a) we feel our readers need to know about it because it appears to be an accusation grounded — at least — in logic.  In the case of b) we feel you need to know about it because the post is starting to spread across the internet which by default — right or wrong — makes it a water cooler talking point.

But the post we ignored has been tackled by Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News.  As a writer who continues to correctly remind readers that no one has found any real evidence of wrongdoing at Auburn in recent months, he’s become a “pro-Auburn” guy in the eyes of many Alabama fans.  His response to’s Auburn accusations — which are always accepted and digested by hopeful Tide fans — won’t change many Bama backers’ views about him:

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Gene Chizik’s new contract is a shameless attempt to absolve him of responsibility from impeachable offenses under the law.

That would be shocking and shameless and headline news, if it were true.

It’s not.

The web site tried to make that case, one of its many against the Tigers, with a post titled, ‘Auburn Openly Mocks NCAA President — In Writing.”  The premise is that Mark Emmert wants to increase the risk for coaches who break the rules but that Auburn has decreased the risk for Chizik to cheat by taking out the original Paragraph 13 (d) from his new contract.”

Paragraph 13 (d) took away the school’s right to suspend all but Chizik’s $500,000 base salary if the school, the SEC or the NCAA began an investigation into him or his program.

So what’s wrong with what SportsByBrooks posted?  Scarbinsky suggests the site’s writers should have looked at the very next paragraph of Chizik’s deal… a paragraph that was not removed:

“Paragraph 13 (e) says, ‘Pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 11.2.1, it is agreed that Coach may be suspended for a period of time without pay, or his employment may be terminated, if University, the SEC or the NCAA concludes or has reasonable basis to believe, after providing Coach notice (including being made aware of the allegations at issue) and an opportunity to be heard, that he or any person under his supervision or subject to his control or authority is involved in significant or repetitive violations of NCAA regulations.”

In other words, the school can still suspend the coach and withhold his pay if he’s under investigation.  It just can’t presume guilt and, as Scarbinsky puts it, “penalize him before the facts are in and a conclusion is drawn from those facts.”

Well played.

And since we didn’t link to this the first time around, here’s the original post from

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SEC Headlines – 6/14/11 Part Two

1.  Recent Kentucky basketballer Josh Harrellson is one of the good guys in college sports.

2.  Football analyst, ex-Vol — and possible AD candidate? — Charles Davis weighs in on Tennessee’s NCAA situation.

3.  Georgia kicker Blair Walsh is within reach of the SEC’s all-time scoring mark.

4.  UGA president Michael Adams is planning to attend Mark Emmert’s “how do we clean up college sports” summit.

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NCAA’s Emmert Not Big On Pay For Play

NCAA president Mark Emmert — who attended the SEC meetings in Destin yesterday — has no problem discussing the value of athletic scholarships.  He says he is “very supportive of exploring” ways to give athletes more money to support themselves while they’re on scholarship.

But when it comes to Steve Spurrier’s “Let’s pay 70 players per game 300 bucks a pop” proposal, color Emmert unimpressed:

“I think paying players by game doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  Are you going to pay them for every game they go to?  Are you going to pay them for women’s volleyball?  And why $300?  Why not $600?  If you’re just paying them for a game why not $3,000?

Where do you set that number, and why do you set that number?  That’s converting student-athletes into employees, and I’m adamantly opposed to that, and I think that would be the death of intercollegiate athletics.”

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Afternoon Nuggets – 5/18/11

1.  Harvey Updyke — the Alabama fan accused of trying to kill the trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner — has been indicted.

2.  Here’s a Q&A with Arkansas running back Knile Davis.

3.  This writer believes a preseason Alabama-Auburn scrimmage would be a bad idea.

4.  The Big Ten is looking at paying some money back to its athletes.

5.  NCAA president Mark Emmert has responded to the Justice Department’s BCS query just as you probably expected he would.  (Now let’s hope the Justice Department can get back to real-world business.)

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New NCAA Prez About To Get Tougher On Crime

The NCAA is viewed by many as being unfair in its enforcement of violations.  One school might get hit hard while another escapes undetected.  “They all do it,” is a common statement, but only a few get caught and get penalized.

That’s due to the fact that about 40 NCAA enforcement officials are responsible for overseeing more than a thousand college programs nationwide.  It’s kind of hard to get ahead of the curve when your manpower is that limited.  (As we’ve suggested previously, the NCAA should take some of its massive income and hire a bigger staff of investigators.)

In reality, the NCAA enforcement situation is no different, however, than the way police departments enforce speed limits.  There are thousands of people each day who zip along our nation’s roads above the speed limit.  Only a few get busted.  But police hope the hundred-dollar fines that go with a ticket coupled with the possibility that you could be the next to get one will cause you to occasionally tap your brakes.

Speeding tickets don’t go to every speeder, but the fact they’re given to some is expected to be a deterrent to future speeding.  Ditto IRS audits.  And NCAA penalties.

But new NCAA president Mark Emmert wonders if the NCAA’s penalties are actually stiff enough to deter coaches and players from breaking rules.

“If I’ve learned anything in the six months (as NCAA president), the single biggest concern that I have among the threats to the collegiate model is simply the threat of integrity.  I’ve heard concerns expressed by people all around the country about the integrity of intercollegiate athletics right now, that people are seeing things that they don’t like and that I don’t like and that many people are concerned about.

“As they see those things, they extrapolate across a whole enterprise of intercollegiate athletics,” Emmert said.  “On the face of that, that’s inherently unfair because the vast majority of what goes on inside intercollegiate athletics is done by people who have extraordinary integrity, have extraordinary concern for their student-athletes, and people who want nothing more than to have intercollegiate athletics be successful in all the ways we all want it to be.

“But there are those occasions where we have people from top to bottom who don’t spend enough time and care in the conduct of this business.  And we see that while we have an understanding about a lot of our values, sometimes we’re lagging in that integrity.  We need to be sure that we restore it.  We need to make sure that people understand what we stand for.  We need to make sure that we’re willing to stand up behind that.  And when we have people that don’t want to conduct themselves consistent with the integrity of these games, we need to be ready to deal with that appropriately.”

Which means?

“We cannot have coaches, administrators, parents or student-athletes sitting out there deciding, ‘Is this worth the risk?  If I conduct myself in this fashion, and if I get caught, it’s still worth the risk.’  We don’t want those kind of cost-benefit analyses going on.”

Translation: Now is not the best time to be on the NCAA’s radar. 

The new president is dealing with a rash of scandals across the country — including several in the SEC — and he’s looking to get a grip on things.  The best way to do tha is to create harsher penalties for rule-breakers and — for all you “This is Spinal Tap” fans out there — up the deterrent factor to 11.

If and when that hardline stance goes into effect is anyone’s guess, but it would be wise for the SEC’s 12 athletic departments to avoid becoming Example 1 of the NCAA’s new crackdown.

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