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Slive Doesn’t Sound Too Terribly Thrilled To Have Pearl Back In The SEC

PEARL-SLIVESoon after landing at Auburn, basketball coach Bruce Pearl put in a phone call to SEC commissioner Mike Slive.  Not a bad move since Pearl has already left one SEC school on probation (Tennessee).  He also was handed an eight-game suspension by Slive and the league office during his final year in Knoxville for his transgressions.

The commissioner’s take?


“He called, and I thought he might…

I think Bruce has faced up to some mistakes he made publicly.  We cleared the air.  Assuming he does what he says he’s going to do, we’re ready to move ahead…

Bruce is an energetic guy who brings a lot of enthusiasm.  He and I have had our moments.  I think you are all aware.  I think there is a lot of excitement that he is back in the league by the folks at Auburn.”


Not exactly a ringing endorsement, eh?

Ironically, the same Auburn fans who once wanted Slive and the SEC to slap Pearl around while he was at Tennessee are now likely wanting Slive to butt out when it comes to flamboyant coach.  According to Slive, he does butt out when it comes to the hires made by league schools.

“I really try to stay out of personnel issues,” the commish said.  ”If I was involved every time a coach came or left the SEC, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else.  I really try to stay out of those things the best I can.”

Clearly the onus is on Pearl at this point.  He’s been hired right back into the league he left.  If he plays by the rules, Auburn couldn’t have made a better hire.  But with his tenures at Iowa (as an assistant) and at Tennessee ending in controversy, there’s no guarantee of good behavior.  Tiger AD Jay Jacobs has swung big on this one.  Expect a home run or a strikeout with little room in between.


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Missouri And Texas A&M Worth $41 Million To The SEC In Year One

offering-cashAccording to the SEC’s federal tax return for 2012, the conference saw its revenue grow by $41 million dollars in its first year as a 14-school league.  USA Today requested the return which shows the SEC took in $314.5 million in 2012.  Missouri and Texas A&M were welcomed into the Southeastern Conference in the summer of 2012.

Interestingly, the SEC showed an overall deficit for its fiscal year which ended on August 31st, 2013.  While the league brought in $314.5 million, it spent $317.9 million.  Most of that money went back to the member institutions in the form of annual payments.  The league will hand out new checks next month during the SEC Meetings in Destin, Florida.

The SEC’s tax return also shows:


*  Missouri and Texas A&M each made about $19.5 million in their first year in the SEC.  The two schools made a little more than $12 million in their final year in the Big 12.

*  Mike Slive’s base pay increased to nearly $1.2.  His overall income was down from 2011 when he received more than half a million dollars in bonuses.

*  Slive’s base salary in 2012 was less than what fellow commissioners John Swofford (ACC), Jim Delany (Big Ten) and Larry Scott (Pac-12) made in 2011.


The Southeastern Conference fell $1 million shy of the Big Ten’s revenue total ($315.5 million) from the previous year.  When compared to all other conferences, the SEC and Big Ten are still dominant financially.  For example, the ACC ranked third in revenue in 2011, making $223.3 million.

The SEC’s revenue will continue to rise over the next few seasons as the new playoff system will debut, new bowl partnerships will kick off and the SEC Network will launch.

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SEC Headlines 12/5/2013

headlines-thuSEC Title Game

1. Missouri’s run defense or Auburn’s run offense? “Four times this season, Auburn has run for more than twice what its opponent usually gives up.”

2. Gary Pinkel on coaching rumors:  ”I’m a Missouri Tiger and I’m going to stay a Missouri Tiger.”

3. MrSEC on Gus Malzahn and Texas talk:  ”There’s no denying it’s better to be at the #1 “name” school in a state…”

4. Will Missouri jump Alabama with a victory over Auburn?  ESPN’s Brad Edwards: “Just a win over Auburn in the computer part alone would send them past Alabama. “

5. Can Auburn jump Ohio State if both teams win?  Edwards: ”Auburn…is going to need approximately 75 percent of voters to have them ahead of Ohio State on their final ballots..”

6. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive makes the case for this Saturdays’ winner: “The SEC champion with one loss ought to play for a national championship.”

7. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson on Missouri quarterback James Franklin: “He’s a big 230-pound guy. When he pulls it down, he’s not easy to tackle.”

8. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall won a state title in high school at the Georgia Dome.

9. Auburn backup linebacker and special teams player Javiere Mitchell suffered a “slight concussion” in Iron Bowl but expected to play Saturday.

10. CBS analyst Gary Danielson was at the Missouri practice Wednesday: ”I think the coach needs to see me in person.”

SEC Football

11. The SEC on CBS had its best year ever for ratings- up 24% percent.

12. Mike Slive doesn’t like the idea of an Iron Bowl rematch in the Sugar Bowl: ”If you’re playing for the national championship, I would be in favor of a rematch. Not if you have other options.”

13. “The SEC West is no longer Alabama, LSU and the four dwarves.”

14. Five reasons why the Cotton Bowl should select Texas A&M over LSU.

15. How does an ACL injury impact LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s NFL draft chances?

16. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl all-star game next month.

College News

17. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is not impressed with Florida State’s schedule: “They beat Clemson, and that’s about it.”

18. Christine Brennan: SEC has no room to gripe about the BCSMrSEC disagrees.

SEC Basketball

19. Alabama 76 – North Florida 48. 20 points for Levi Randolph and 12 from freshman Jimmie Taylor.

20. Texas A&M 74 – Houston 57. Aggies snap two-game losing streak.  Video highlights.

21. A win tonight over Kansas State would give Ole Miss its best start since the 2007-2008 season.

22. Mississippi State plays TCU tonight - first Bulldogs opponent from a major conference.

23. “Missouri, 7-0, is undefeated but also largely untested.” That changes tonight with a game against West Virginia.

24. 4-3 Vanderbilt faces Marshall tonight.Coach Kevin Stallings sees a need to emphasize winning.  “We’re not playing 7-year-old soccer.”

25. Kentucky will play Baylor Friday night at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium

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Nashville Set To Become SEC’s Semi-Permanent Home For Hoops Tourney

NCAA Men's Basketball 2009-10. SEC Tournament 2010. Photo by Jonathan PalmerBack in the spring, SEC commissioner Mike Slive let it be known that the SEC was looking to find a more permanent home for its annual men’s basketball tournament.  The suspicion was that Nashville would get the nod.

Well, it looks like that nod will come tomorrow.

The SEC has sent out a press advisory regarding an “historic announcement” to be made in the Music City tomorrow by Slive, Nashville Mayer Karl Dean, and representatives of the Bridgestone Arena.  It is expected that the SEC will still move the tourney to other sites on rare occasions.

This is a smart move by the league.  Nashville now joins Atlanta (football) and Birmingham (baseball) as hosts to the major mens’ sports in the SEC.  All three cities have plenty of hotel space, plenty of nightlife, and are centrally-located within the league’s footprint.

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Mike Slive: NCAA Needs To Change Agent Rules

gfx - they said itIn the wake of the Yahoo! Sports investigation alleging improper benefits were provided to football players at Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says the NCAA needs to change its rules governing agents.  


“I feel like the current NCAA rules and regulations are part of the problem, they’re not part of the solution. What we had hoped for was for a total rethink of the rules and regulations as they relate to agents. A task force was formed and began to do some work and then for reasons I’m not clear on, the conversations ended.”


Slive tells the AP he’d like the NCAA to give leagues like the SEC – which had 63 prospects taken in this year’s NFL draft – the authority to create their own rules.


“We need to create rules that allow our student-athletes to deal with agents in sunshine, not deal with runners that are going down back alleys. We need to provide a different way to deal with agents, so we’ve been disappointed that this hasn’t taken place.”


Tennesssee has made defensive lineman Maurice Couch ineligible after a Yahoo! report claimed that former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis was acting as a middleman between players and NFL agents and financial advisors.  The other four players mentioned in the story- Alabama’s D.J. Fluker, Mississippi State’s Chad Bumphis and Fletcher Cox, and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray – left for NFL careers.  All but Bumphis, who was cut by Miami,  are currently in the league.

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Mizzou’s Pinkel Says It’s Time To Pay (Some) Players

gfx - they said itYou can add Gary Pinkel name to the growing list of coaches, administrators, and conference officials who believe it’s time to pay athletes.  Some of them anyway.

In a video posted at the coach’s official website, the top Tiger said:


“I’ve kinda changed my view on this over the last few years just because of the amount of money now that is in college football.  You know, the billions and billions of dollars that are out there.  And I think that men’s football and basketball at most universities — certainly at our level, the BCS level — pay for a good portion of the entire athletic budgets.  But our players are getting room, board, books, tuition which is fine.  They’re gonna get their education, which is important.  But I also think we can give them additional money per semester or per quarter… To pay back all their sacrifices.”


Pinkel also mentioned the SEC’s ongoing attempts to force the NCAA to allow those schools who can afford to provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships to do so.  The SEC isn’t alone on that front.  Most of the major conference heads have spoken out just as loudly on this subject as Mike Slive has.

Readers of this site know that we have been writing for two years that a new “super-division” at the top of the NCAA food chain is inevitable.  How many leagues and teams become part of this new stratum is anyone’s guess at this point, but the day is coming when the biggest spenders and heaviest hitters will provide extra stipends to some of their athletes.

And just as certain is the fact that some members of those athletic groups not paid — non-revenue players, female players — will immediately file lawsuits saying, “Where’s my cut?”

You can watch the full Pinkel clip here:


Mizzou Football Head Coach Gary Pinkel on Paying Student-Athletes


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New UGA President Will Push The SEC For A Drug-Testing Policy

gfx - they said itNew Georgia president Jere Morehead said in an interview this week that he intends to push the topic of a uniform drug-testing policy to his fellow SEC presidents:


“We’ll get a good sense on where others stand on that subject.  You know it sometimes takes the conference a period of time to work through an issue.  When I was faculty athletics representative (from Georgia to the SEC), I know sometimes an issue would percolate for a few years before a consensus would develop around how to resolve the issue.  But I’ve gotta believe that other presidents and chancellors are as concerned about the issue of drug or alcohol misuse by their student-athletes as we are.  And I’ll be interested to see what sorts of ideas they have on this subject.”


Where the other presidents will stand is probably where they’ve always stood — with the power to make their own decisions regarding the types of drug tests, the number of drug tests, and the penalties for drug tests on their campuses.

At, we’ve long been a proponent of a uniform testing policy.  The league makes enough money from television today to easily pay one company to handle all of the testing for its 14 member institutions.  Creating an level playing field should be a goal.

To date, Mike Slive says that he has brought the topic up a time or two only to have it gunned down.  We believe that he should apply a bit more elbow grease.

Slive’s tenure as SEC commissioner will be viewed as the league’s “Golden Age,” a term he uses often.  But if there’s an area where Slive could have and should have done more for the good of the overall conferences, it’s this issue.

He’s got a great batting average as commissioner, but to date he’s struck out when it comes to a uniform drug-testing policy.

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Slive Didn’t Rattle His Saber Today Regarding Full-Cost-Of-Tuition Scholarships

SabreIn recent months, SEC commissioner Mike Slive has referenced the possibility — the possibility, mind you — that a new division could be created within the NCAA’s existing football structure.  We, like many others, viewed such comments as a reminder to all that the big-money schools might just someday form their own private football club at the top of the NCAA food chain if no ground could be gained toward providing athletes with full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.

Today, Slive did talk about scholarships but he did not talk about any new split between the haves and have-nots of college athletics.  The commissioner stated instead that recent conversations with his fellow commissioners gave him the impression that a “meaningful solution” can be reached.

Keep in mind, however, that any move that allows the richest schools to provide more financial help to student-athletes will in essence increase the gap between the richer schools and the poorer schools.  The toothpaste is already oozing out of the tube and that will continue to be the case regardless of whether schools in the same division offer different levels of scholarship help or some of those schools are broken off into a new division.


UPDATE – Slive was asked later in the day what the alternative might be should the NCAA not make changes on the financial aid front.  “I’m going to let you decide that.”

He might not have rattled it too loudly during his opening speech, but the commissioner did have his saber with him, it turns out.

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Slive Says SEC Will Have To Unravel A Knot And Make A Decision On Schedules

40knots1Earlier this week we brought you a quick comment from SEC scheduling czar Larry Templeton regarding the issues faced by the league when trying to build a schedule that pleases everyone.  Now commissioner Mike Slive has weighed in on the topic and he, too, makes it clear that scheduling isn’t as easy as most fans and media members believe:


“We try one (scenario), and there’s a knot.  We try another one, and there’s a big knot — whether it’s permanent (games), whether it’s traditional game or whether it’s too many games.  At some point in time, we’re going to have to unravel one of those knots and just make a decision.”


When the knots are unraveled, we expect — as we’ve written for years — that the league will move to a nine-game schedule featuring a 6-1-2 rotation with the league mandating that a 10th game be played against a school from a power conference.

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Whoever Replaces Slive Will Face A “Larger” Challenge

mike-sliveLet’s start with the obvious: SEC commissioner Mike Slive is one of the most powerful men in college sports.  Along with Big Ten commish Jim Delany, Slive seems to always be a few steps ahead of pack.

An ex-ESPN employee who’s sat in on meetings with a number of conference commissioners recently told that Slive and Delany are such strategic thinkers that they’re often operating on a completely different level from their counterparts in other leagues.

Slive hasn’t gained his power through bluster.  He works a room, calms conversations, keeps bringing all parties back to the topic at hand, and then manages to build a consensus without anyone realizing how exactly he’s done it.

Put it this way: If you’re traveling with two wanted droids on Tatooine, you want Slive in the brown robe talking to the Stormtroopers.

According to Eric Hyman – who has worked with Slive as AD at South Carolina and now at Texas A&M – it is Slive who makes the Southeastern Conference strong:


“I’ve known him for a long time and he’s a visionary.  He’s brilliant intellectually.  He’s got tremendous political acumen.  He’s adroit in what he does and how he maneuvers things.

He knows where he wants to take the league and he gets a consensus in that direction.  There’s no division.  We all say the things we feel (as individual institutions), but the conference has a bond and is as strong as it is because of Mike Slive.”


While Slive has mastered the role of calm, cool leader, he’s also benefited from the fact that the Southeastern Conference has long been an all-for-one, one-for-all kinda neighborhood, even before his arrival.  If there’s another conference whose member institutions have always marched arm in arm it’s the Big Ten.  So it coincidental that Slive and Delany are the best at what they do?  Obviously not.  Slive and Delany are excellent leaders, but their talents are enhanced by the esprit de corps that exists among those they are leading.

Slive recently had this to say to The San Antonio Express-News:


“One of the hallmarks of this league is the fact that we talk about being a family.  It may sound sort of naïve, but that’s the sense I got out of the (spring meetings).  It’s “This is tough, but we’re going to find a way through it.  We’re going to make a decision – as long as it’s thoughtful, reasonable and with an open dialogue – and, once we make it, we’ll move on.  That’s just the way we’ve always done it.’”


Ah, but here comes the rub.

The bigger conferences become, the more difficult it will be to keep everyone on the same page.  There are more voices in the room, more opinions on every topic.

The math is pretty simple, really.  If you and three friends are going to dinner, reaching a consensus on where to eat is one thing.  If you and 13 friends are going to dinner, good luck getting everyone to agree on a restaurant.

Slive is now 72-years-old.  Delany is about 65.  It won’t be too many years before new leaders have taken over the SEC and Big Ten.  Those leagues will no doubt try to find men – or women – who have just as much foresight and polical savvy as their current commissioners.

But whether those new leaders will have as much success as Slive and Delany will in part be decided by how well 14-school leagues – not 12- or 10-team leagues – can be managed.  The bigger the conferences, the bigger the challenge.

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