SEC Commish to coaches: Knock it off



Destin, Fla.—Mike Slive is, by his own admission, “a recovering attorney.” He is also a former district court judge. So he’s no stranger to being in a room full of powerful people who don’t necessarily love each other.

The SEC Commissioner will draw upon that experience today as the league’s 2009 Spring Meetings begin here on the Florida panhandle. Slive will meet with the SEC’s football coaches as he always does. His language will be measured. He will be calm, but firm. He will remind them of the SEC’s basic rules of sportsmanship to which every coach in the league in every sport is expected to adhere.

But the message, while dressed up befitting a man of Slive’s stature, will be very simple and very blunt:

Knock it off.

Knock off public pronouncements that other coaches are breaking the rules. Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin said that about Florida’s Urban Meyer in February. Kiffin was wrong and was reprimanded by the SEC.

Knock off shots about somebody else’s recruiting techniques. Meyer was quoted as wondering if the NCAA would look into Auburn’s use of limos in recruiting. Meyer made the comment when he was led to believe recruits were riding in the limos. That was wrong, but Meyer was wrong to comment on it. He also made reference to coaches tearing off their shirts (Tennessee) in the recruiting process.

Even Dan Mullen, the mild-mannered new head coach at Mississippi State, got in a shot at Auburn’s limos, suggesting the money at his place went to stuff for the players and not fancy cars for the coaches.

Knock off the talk of rumors that another coach might be moving on. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier told Paul Finebaum that he had heard the Meyer to Notre Dame rumors like everybody else. Ten years ago that was probably a harmless remark. Not now.

Here’s the issue, and it’s a simple one: The price of playing poker in this league has really gone up in this decade.  The SEC has won three straight national championships. The SEC has four coaches (Meyer, Nick Saban, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier) who have won national titles. Three of those, Miles ($3.751 million), Saban ($3.75 million), and Meyer ($3.5 million) are among the highest paid coaches in the sport. Into that high-energy, high-ego mix add Kiffin, the young Tennessee coach who was hired to bring the swagger back to the Vols and Auburn’s Gene Chizik, who is literally trying to stem the Tide of the powerhouse Saban is building in Tuscaloosa.

Now to be fair, it should be noted that the vast majority of the coaches in this league have not said a negative word this offseason. If you’re Mark Richt, Saban, Miles, Bobby Johnson, etc., will you be amused when Slive begins his talk? Or will you be mad because you’re having to sit through it?

Bottom line: From the commissioner’s perspective, there is too much at stake for too many people to have coaches back biting each other in public. Did we mention that the SEC is about to begin unprecedented TV contracts with CBS and ESPN that will pump a little less than $3 billion into the league over the next 15 years? No pressure there.

 Yes, the fans and the media are immensely entertained by it all. The commissioner is not. The commissioner wins.






125 comments Add your comment

[...] starting today.Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also previews the meetings, but he zeroes in on the big issue of the week — coaches’ mouths.According to Mr. Barnhart, commissioner Mike Slive will tell the [...]


May 26th, 2009
8:51 am

Interesting that you mentioned Bobby Johnson in this mix.
I think the next thing he says will be the first.Period.

Michael G.

May 26th, 2009
8:52 am

Hearing about and reading about all the sniping being done by coache’s throughout the SEC makes one wonder when exactly will the conference start its self-implosion much the way the Southwest Conference did almost 20 years ago.

Joe M

May 26th, 2009
8:58 am

Honestly, I hope Slive is even more animated than you describe.

As a fan I’m sick and tired of reading articles about grown men acting like teens on a high school drama.

Just recruit and coach to the best of your abilities and graduate your players to the best of their abilities.

BTW, Tony, if possible please ask the commish why in the world they put UGA and LSU through that mess on Saturday. Why couldn’t they simply read a weather forecast and hold off on starting game one? I’m not real sure that was one of the better moments for the SEC and its product.

Urban Meyer

May 26th, 2009
8:58 am


Lane "Shirt-Rippin" Kiffin

May 26th, 2009
9:01 am

Somebody put a tack in my chair.


May 26th, 2009
9:02 am

Even a fish wouldn’t get in trouble, if he’d just keep his mouth shut.


May 26th, 2009
9:04 am

Yeah, you can’t spell lickin’ without a LK!

Mark Richt

May 26th, 2009
9:06 am

God bless him…or help him.

Nick Satan

May 26th, 2009
9:07 am

What I got planned for him has nothing to do with God!


May 26th, 2009
9:07 am

I agree, Joe. That was a travesty….whoever decided that it was a good idea to begin a baseball game in a downpour should be fired….Stupid. They had plenty of time to delay the start….even if they had to play 2 on Sunday. Where was the consideration for player safety and fairness?

Just stupid….


May 26th, 2009
9:08 am

Yes coaches and fans.. please leave the “Chizzzz” Gene Chizik alone. Its like picking on the “slow” kid back in elementary school, not fair!

Coach "O"

May 26th, 2009
9:10 am

Hey little Laney… get Layla to bring me another beer out to the pool AND make sure she has on that bikini. ARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH COACH O!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


May 26th, 2009
9:12 am

Does this mean no more daily Lane Kiffin quotes? We need something to do before Labor day.

Loser Lane

May 26th, 2009
9:13 am

Where’s my wig and glasses?!?! And how do I look in this dress??


May 26th, 2009
9:20 am

Put Boy Blunder and Meyer in a cage match and let Saban be the referee. I think Saban would gave
Meyer a couple rows of quarters to have fun with Kiffin anyway he wants to. Thats want they used to do in the old Memphis wrestling days with Jerry the King Lawyer as the good guy and the following week as the bad guy!!

The Chizzz

May 26th, 2009
9:22 am

“5-19 TO 5-15!”…”5-19 TO 5-15!”…”COME IN 5-15!”…”YOUR LIMO IS WAITING OUT FRONT”…”COME IN 5-15!”…


May 26th, 2009
9:23 am

OMG…….how many more days of torture till college football starts?


May 26th, 2009
9:31 am

There’s something about having millions in the bank, multi million, multi year contract in hand and treated like Elvis everywhere you go.

Loser Lane

May 26th, 2009
9:32 am

“Yes, I’m here to register for todays luncheon. Thats Mrs D-O-U-B-T-F-I-R-E

Gator Growl

May 26th, 2009
9:36 am

Gee, this should be interesting!

Winder,GA Dawg

May 26th, 2009
9:39 am

It never gets dull listening to schools bash each other in the spring, while waiting for fall to arrive. All the new kids in the confrence will have to take their beatings and then understand how it’s done in the SEC. While I don’t expect UGA to win the confrence every year, i do expect us to be competetive.These new coaches need to get a grip and realize they are riding the short bus!!!


May 26th, 2009
9:45 am

After Slive is finished, put on the spf 15, open a cold one, and don’t lose too many balls on the golf course. I’m sure it’ll be a tough day for all of you. Should you run into Mike Price, tell him to temper his behavior while in Destin.


May 26th, 2009
9:46 am

Only about 90 or so days until you see the new Junkyard Dawg Defense come out led by Marcus Washinton and Sanders Commings! Get ready, are defense is going to be awesome!

Saint Nick

May 26th, 2009
9:47 am

Lame Kitten is a loser and will be a BIGTIME bust at UT!!! Bama and Florida will beat UT by a combined total of 90 points!!!!! He p*ssed off Meyer by accusing him of cheating PUBLICLY, and Lame hired Lance Thompson and Lance starting running his mouth about Saban wasn’t gonna get any more of “his” players. Funny how Saban has got commitments from 4 guys that Lancey boy had targeted as must have recruits!!! Yeah Lance you can out recruit Saban, keep dreaming you freaking moron!!!!!! you should have stayed at Bama because you are already on a sinking ship!!!! UT will be lucky to win 4 games!!!!! ROLLS TIDES!!!!

Coach O

May 26th, 2009
10:05 am

“Lame, can I still take my clothes off in front of all those high school boys?!”


May 26th, 2009
10:07 am

By all means Lane, keep flapping your pie-hole. When your not-so-smart self realizes the damage you have done, it will be too late.


May 26th, 2009
10:12 am

Wow, lotta losers posting today. Or perhaps it’s one loser posting 20 times. Either way, it’s pretty ‘lame.’

Tide rising

May 26th, 2009
10:19 am

Saint Nick,

The funniest part of that was when Lance Thompson and Kiffin declared that they were going to put a fence around the Memphis recruiting area. A few hours later Keiwone Malone, the top recruit in Memphis and probably one of the top 3 or 4 recruits in Tennessee committed to Alabama. Too funny!

I would pay money to see the handshake and initial greeting between Kiffin and Meyer. You just know Meyer is itching to run up 60 on Kiffin. As for Saban he just don’t care what Kiffin says. If he doesn’t give a hoot what the media says about him he certainly doesn’t care what this guy has to say. Saban just views him as a petulant child and then just goes about his way in out recruiting him.

Rolls Tides!!!


May 26th, 2009
10:21 am

Mark Richt said it best:

“I’ll just worry about my program and everybody else should probably do the same.”

It does make for some interesting story lines next year.


May 26th, 2009
10:26 am

Is this why The Atlanta Urinal and Constitution finally (thank God) got rid of Terry Moore??


May 26th, 2009
10:27 am

You really think he is going to make this speech, Tony? After all all the publicity the coaches’ mouths have generated can’t be bad. We are talking football in March, April, and May. It only heightens the anticipation for the season. That can’t hurt with those new t.v. contracts out there.

Coach "O"

May 26th, 2009
10:29 am

Get me another beer and a jack on the rocks Layla!! Who the f*ck wants to fight me????? ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH

The Truth

May 26th, 2009
10:42 am

By the time Bama and UT play, Bama will be on probation! The Criminal Tide just can’t keep their noses clean.

Jack G.

May 26th, 2009
10:42 am

Our educational system has failed. It is not teaching people to express an opinion without resorting to name calling.


May 26th, 2009
10:53 am

The Truth = uneducated, stump humpin’ BARNER…. Fear the Chizzzzzzz right ?????? (5-19)


May 26th, 2009
10:53 am

how can we expect the players in this league to act mature and stay out of trouble when the coaches won’t even do it?


May 26th, 2009
11:17 am

3 billion dollars in TV contracts, all that national exposure, more media bias, and yet still not as good as the ACC!

[...] But, apparently not to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. Mr. College Football, Tony Barnhardt, says Slive will be telling football coaches to “knock it off” when it comes to taking shots at each [...]


May 26th, 2009
11:33 am

gte268p: in your dreams about the acc!

TV money paid for as much as 3 billion is not for lesser programs like the acc, and how many national football championships have been won lately by the acc?

it is still a round ball league only.


May 26th, 2009
11:34 am

Richt will start talking trash once the Dawgs barely get over .500 this season when he realizes he’s being left behind by the other SEC powerhouses. Everyone is focused on Kiffin this year, but watch for Georgia to be the underperforming team of the season.


May 26th, 2009
11:36 am

Wait a minute, here. Are we all a bunch of old grannies, or what?

The game is supposed to be fun. The coaches (at the college level, at least) are a major part of that entertainment. Who cares if Kiffin says something stupid? Well, a lot of people care, and they enjoy it. It hypes the league, it hypes the games, it hypes up the players.

So Kiffin does a “too sexy for my shirt” deal with recruits. Who cares? So Meyer makes fun of it. Great! It deserved to be made fun of. So Spurrier mentions Meyer rumors. Big deal.

Do we really want the league to be all button-down cool? Why? It certainly wasn’t “cool” between Bryant and Neyland, or between Bryant and Jordan, or between Spurrier and Fulmer, or between any other successful coaches.

Tee it up, hit it hard, and see where it lands. We don’t want to be the No Fun League.


May 26th, 2009
11:36 am

Alabama can eat my shorts!


May 26th, 2009
11:53 am

LOL @ the Auburn fan talking smack. I didn’t know there were any left.

George G.

May 26th, 2009
12:10 pm

The majority of the Tide fan base will come scurrying to the Plains once the hammer is dropped on Bama….again.


May 26th, 2009
12:12 pm

At least to some extent Slive is probably shooting himself in the foot. Silly as it all was, the stories got national play, generated additional publicity (of which there’s virtually always only two kinds, good & better), and did no real harm in the long run. There’s no shortage of people who pay money to cheer cheaters & criminals who entertain them, does Slive actually think any significant number of people are going to turned off by some second-rate reality show pseudo-drama?

My SEC interests lie with UT but there’s also nobody who’d be any happier to smack Knoxville’s newest village idiot upside the head, I’m already starting to think even Auburn made a better choice. But there’s a certain method to the madness as far as the p.r. aspect goes. The complete absence of a legitimate D1 QB on campus on the other hand … well, that’s beyond madness into downright stupidity but that’s a different subject for a different day.


May 26th, 2009
12:21 pm

Fans please remind me doesnt Tennessee come to Florida Field this year ? Mr. Kiffin might here a word or two about his comments or nothing and the Gators will tell him about his comments on the field.


May 26th, 2009
12:21 pm

So who cares if you predict what the SEC commish says to the coaches in the league? I’ll predict he will remind them of how much money he is responsible for that is anticipated for the future and he is responsible for diseminating it and he deserves a raise and…..!! Big Deal!! You would think that after getting rid of so many sports writers that the AJC would have many sports stories about UGA waiting to be written. So quit predicting what Slive will do and write those stories about the Dawgs.

So: Who are the Dawgs participating in summer workouts and practice(unsupervised, of course) and who ain’t gittin’ with it!! Is receiver practice continuing to use the tennis ball routine borrowed from TT? Does it help? Hint: ask the receivers, not the coaches. At least Chip Tower was disinteresting one out of five, not every article. Call him and ask for a tip. I’m sure he had some idea on what to write during the summer doldrums. With him gone all you can come up with is some article on what Slive may tell the coaches? Duh.

Lexdysics would call you Mr. Follege Cootball. That would be about right.


May 26th, 2009
12:27 pm

Yeah, sure, Richt has shown so many times that he’s a .500 Coach. Give me a break.


May 26th, 2009
12:37 pm

Wait…Terrence ‘Never met an article I couldn’t make racist’ Moore is gone? Jeebus be praised.