Slive may have to adjust rule on coaches


Nobody asked me, but SEC Commissioner Mike Slive may eventually have to rethink and readjust his position on the coaches and their comments on officiating.

When Slive decided to get tough on coaches who commented negatively on officiating, it was absolutely the right thing to do at the time. And for the rest of this season the threat of fines and/or suspensions should stay in place. The atmosphere is just too toxic and every time there is a controversial call, like the one in last Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game, it just gets worse. So the rule needs to stay in place to keep a lid on things for the rest of this season.

But in the offseason when things calm down, the commissioner may need to take a second look at this policy. Here’s why. Somebody I respect a great deal in this business made this point to me. He didn’t give me permission to use his name so I won’t. But he did change my thinking on this issue.

When their teams get the short end of a bad officiating call, coaches feel compelled to say something. Because to say nothing makes them appear weak to some elements of their fan base. I saw one guy in a comment section take Les Miles to task this week because he decided to take the high road on the interception/non-interception call against Alabama. It was clear from Miles’ comments that he didn’t agree with the call but to some fans that’s not enough. They want fire and brimstone. It’s silly but it’s true.

When Georgia’s Mark Richt didn’t raise hell in public about the bad excessive celebration call in the LSU game Oct. 3, some people saw this as a signing of weakness in Richt. That’s also silly. Richt knew it was a bad call but handled the situation with class. Maybe I missed the memo, but when did that become a bad thing?

How about this for an adjustment to the rule for 2010? Coaches can say they disagree with a call. They can say that they saw the call differently than the guy who made it. They can even say the call was “disappointing.” But utter one word that questions the integrity of the officials (as Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin did after the Alabama game) or suggests that an official be “punished” (as Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen did after the Florida game) and the hammer comes down. Hard. Make the line for the coaches bright red and 100 feet tall. You cross it and you will pay a dear price.

Really good coaches push the envelope. In this league coaches have to do it just to survive. It could be the genie is out of the bottle on this one and can’t be put back in. Because the league is so competitive now and because the stakes are so high, the commissioner could be exactly right: Zero tolerance on this subject may be the only thing that will work with these guys.

But, within limits, we want a little feistiness in our coaches. It’s entertaining and college football is in the entertainment business. My friend told me that you can’t completely neuter these guys or the SEC, at least from a personality standpoint, will end up like the Big Ten.

God help us if that happens.


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195 comments Add your comment

jesse james

November 11th, 2009
4:51 pm

Coach Richt made an interesting statement on his show Monday night. He said that in every UGA game this year not only has the Dawgs been penalized alot, but the other teams have had their most penalized game of the year when they played the Dawgs.

Got 12?

November 11th, 2009
4:53 pm


The ref on the sideline called the ball out of bounds due to Julio touching it. The replay official was trying to tell if Julio actually touched the ball. The video, much like your pic, does not offer irrefutable evidence so they went with the call on the field.

It’s funny how the refs would chose that moment (70 yards to go against the No. 4 defense in the country with a backup quarterback and backup running back) to cheat after letting LSU hold and PI Bama all game.

If the refs don’t mind cheating so blatantly seems they would have give Bama the timeout instead of the substitution penalty inside the five yard line.

Again, just like last year’s SECC game, the better team took control in the fourth quarter and won the game. Let’s move on. Doesn’t LSU have another game this weekend? I know we do.


November 11th, 2009
4:55 pm

Well said, Tony. Urban essentially paid for Kiffin’s sins last week. Big difference between disagreeing with a call and creating conspiracy theories about a league favoring particular teams. Would like to see it change now, candidly. That is all.

Thank a veteran today!

Got 12?

November 11th, 2009
4:59 pm


Yes, Miles has a track record of being a stand up guy: When Saban was hired at Bama, Miles dropped the F bomb and at a recruiting event attended by high schoolers and their families.

If Miles, a man of such character, isn’t popping off at the mouth, maybe the bloggers shouldn’t either (my recurring theme for the day).


November 11th, 2009
5:12 pm

All college and professional sport officials should be put under a new Obama Administration Officiating Czar!

Tampa Dawg

November 11th, 2009
5:15 pm

Why isn’t Gary Danielson fired for his comments in the Ga.-Fla. game in which he indicted the SEC officiating by saying that CMR was working the referee on the sideline and finally got his penalty as if to say that works.
Send his A$$ back to Purdue and never come back!!!!What a cheapshot S.O.B.


November 11th, 2009
5:23 pm

Got 12?

“Again, just like last year’s SECC game, the better team took control in the fourth quarter and won the game. Let’s move on. Doesn’t LSU have another game this weekend? I know we do.”

I think most LSU fans recognize that Bama took control in the final quarter and took advantage like good teams do. I think there are just a few Tiger posters who are whining.

I think Miles did the right thing as complaining would not have changed anything. We lost and it’s time for us to focus on La Tech. Miles knows that with Scott out and Jefferson likely not to start, we better be ready or we will be embarrassed. Distractions, or ‘clutter’ as Nick says, more than not leads to a loss.

The Tigers still have alot to play for and can finish in the Top 5 which is a tremendous improvement over 7-5 in the regular season last year. Hopefully the fans and players will move on as Miles has tried to do.

Geaux Tigers


November 11th, 2009
5:45 pm

OMG, we are living in the land of sissy’s!!! If you make a stupid call that cost a team the game, you deserve to be called stupid! If you hire your friends but can’t seem to fire your friends…….. and your program begins to tank, you need to be called to nice and to loyal to a fault!! If you don’t get upset with your coaches and players with the same ferver as you do the refs, then you don’t have the right kind of passion! If drive,determination,fire, hard work and burning desire to win is not your bag, then football is not your game!!! Damn it man!!


November 11th, 2009
6:02 pm

All of this orchestration is nothing but posturing. What the H*** are these ref’s looking at when they go to the monitors….must be a pole dance. I can’t honestly believe that the replays cannot be overturned. If not what is the purpose of having the challenge in the first place?

As a stadium viewer at the recent Wake Forest game… I though I saw was different that what I taped and saw later. Clearly the refs blew 2 calls. One was very questionable and I was completely wrong about one. Point is these guys are right there and still blow the call. There has to be a check and balance system that is used and not to rubber stamp the call. I do not believe that there have even been 2 calls this season that has been reversed because of TV – and the replays clearly show the errors. Why is that?

If I were to build a building and the wall fell down don’t you think someone would want my hide for a mistake? You bet’cha. Problem is we have the technology and refuse to use it…what a shame.

This year has been bad on the NCAA ref’s period. Maybe they need more help than they have now…..certainly the fans can see the bad calls.

BTW none of my stuff falls down because it is over engineered.


November 11th, 2009
6:45 pm

Why shouldn’t Coaches be allowed to question integrity. I think the integrity of officials should be in question when it seems to be a blatant bad call to protect the top. Bottom line – the SEC can’t have their beloved at the top lose, because then their conference wouldn’t seem nearly as powerful.

It is obvious that UF has been protected all season long, and I don’t blame the commissioner. It is in his best interest. A school in is conference goes to the NC, he makes big bucks.

Bottom line, officials need to get it together or get tougher skin. The commissioner needs to have harsher penalties for bad referees as opposed to the coaches. It isn’t the coaches fault the SEC hired a bunch of idiot referees from the School of Athens.

SC Rules!!!

November 11th, 2009
6:56 pm


Ref czar! LMFAO!!!!


November 11th, 2009
7:00 pm

I agree with Ramblin A, as a Gator Alum, I must admit Florida has gotten many favorable phantom calls this year. I have season tix, and was at the Arkansas game where we benefitted from a phantom PInterference call and the bogus Unnecessary roughness calls on Ark. Another reason why the BCS is really BS, as conferences want their best teams to win as it brings it the big cash from the BCS bowls.
The coaches should definitely be able to say what they want about calls, if the call was wrong, how can you fine a guy for freedom of speech. That was 100% an interception the other day, ask the NFL review guys what they think. Even though it is great to be a Gator with their approaching a 3rd out of a possible 4 BCS titles, the officiating and the way college football is run is comical at best. Please clean up this great sport, fire these old curmudgeons disguised as referees, and bring in some new younger refs.


November 11th, 2009
7:13 pm


I believe the SEC Commissioner does not have the legal authority to fine coaches inside the SEC or any conference. Coaches at public institutions are employees of the state and are subject to wage and labor laws of that state. The SEC Commissioner may have the authority to suspend coaches from competition or levy fines against the institution, but fines levied against coaches (employees of the state) are not legal!

bank walker

November 11th, 2009
7:19 pm

It is most evident that these knuckleheads are steering these games. For Christ’s sake people, if you can’t see it, and you are buying into what they are telling you, then I have some ocean front property in Arizona, you can buy. It is all about the $$$, and Slime is letting it happen. People need to voice their opinion to all these jerks, and let them know, we can see right through the smoke!


November 11th, 2009
7:28 pm

What’s the big deal about criticizing officiating? What real harm does it do? Yeah, sometimes it’s bad sportsmanship–so what?


November 11th, 2009
7:30 pm

has Georgia accepted the invite to the Weedeater bowl yet? OUCH


November 11th, 2009
7:54 pm

Conpiracy theorists is it really worth all of this bashing of the SEC just because your team did not make the plays in the game to win?I mean sure I don’t expect people to be quite when they see a bad call but you conspiracy theorists are taking it way too far causing alot of SEC bashing even from fans in other conferences.


November 11th, 2009
8:04 pm


SLIVE HAS ajusted the rules ALREADY in this PRO-FLORIDA season. Too many calls benefitting Fla., too few against them.

Somenone should investigate the SLIVE-FLORIDA connection. Pretty bad when an ENTIRE OFFICIATING CREW has to be suspended.

Makes you think twice about the GA-FLORIDA game in Slive’s tenure.

bank walker

November 11th, 2009
8:15 pm

bwwaaahhhhhaaaa……hm you are as funny as a hemorrhoid.

Tide, you are one of the highest bidders, you and FU. Please don’t give me that crap you are trying to sell. The officials are awful at trying to hide the fact that they are steering these games, and the whole country sees it. Are you that gullable?

Tom Ragsdale

November 11th, 2009
8:19 pm

I think because college players are getting increasing faster every year the SEC officals need to consider more officals, especially on the side lines. It is easy for one of the officals to be completely blocked from a view of a side line play. Coach Miles admitted the other day he thought it was impossible for the offical to see through two players.


November 11th, 2009
8:26 pm


It’s odd when journalists like ESPN spends time on 2 different shows after the recent LSU Florida game(Outside the Lines & Pardon the Interupption) giving validity and laying out the case for a SLIVE FLORIDA CONSPIRACY.

SLIVE started in 2002. Georgia (Florida’s division SEC conference rival) hasn’t won a National Championship during that time. Florida has 2, going for a 3rd.

SLIVE– I hope it was worth the money–enjoy it while you smoke those cigars on your porch.

jesse james

November 11th, 2009
8:32 pm

hm – why do you want to know? So you can go ahead and order your ticket.

Las Vegas

November 11th, 2009
8:36 pm

We love the SEC refs here in Las Vegas. They are cheap and easy to work with!


November 11th, 2009
8:42 pm

bank walker,

I’m sure you are glad about all of this bashing of the SEC meanwhile your team failed to make plays to win the game.Think back to the Tennessee game Bama was about to lose if the field goal kicker makes it and yet Mt Cody made a play and blocked it and he done it twice in the game not just on the last play of the game.Excuses to why your team lost is just sour grapes had that Tennessee kicker made that field goal Bama would have 1 loss instead of being undefeated.Somebody stepped up and made a play just like somebody on your team could’ve. In the LSU/Bama game LSU had 2 possessions after that bad call and yet failed to make plays to score.Again just excuses and sour grapes.


November 11th, 2009
8:57 pm

Tony I find the class and grace that Mark R and Les M chose to answer the calls for retribution against the REFs a refreshing throwback to southern gentlemen coaches of yesteryaer. Have we lost our dignity? Where are the writers that aLways led the fans down the path of logic? I believe many fans and readers of the local press recognize a coachspeak moment and appreciate a lesson in character class and discipline Life lessons wil never go out of style nor surrender value in place of shouts to look at me

Anniston Lass

November 11th, 2009
9:11 pm

Auburn 41, UGA 17. Another monumental beatdown of the ugly mutts. It’s going to be fun to watch the stadium bleeding red and black, or whatever ludicrous colors the Dawg fans wear this week. It’ll be over by halftime.

Bye bye Dawgs, bye bye Richt. Don’t let the door hit you in the azz on the way out.

Anniston Lass

November 11th, 2009
9:14 pm

Oh, I forgot. The Shreveport Motel 5½ will be the official team hotel for the Dawgs for their Toilet Bowl game. Make your reservations now, it’s not a big place. ;-)


November 11th, 2009
9:33 pm

Floyd 10;58…I agree 100%

Ref’s shouldn’t get a free ride, someone has to call them out are it will continue. Some this year sucks.

Denver Dog

November 11th, 2009
9:33 pm

Well, why don’t they just fix the officiating. It should not be that hard. I say fine any coach that says anything about the officiating. Take some scholarships, but fix the officiating.

Delbert D.

November 11th, 2009
9:47 pm

Tony B. posts a statement about “neutering” refs, and he gets that past the AJC censor? I guess they are really tough only those of us who comment. There are some bosses of some bowl sponsers that I think should be neutered.

Delbert D.

November 11th, 2009
9:50 pm

Denver Dog – That’s the problem. The officiating is fixed. Rumors, anyway…mob, government, conference officials, and throw the Brits in there for good measure…

Delbert D.

November 11th, 2009
9:53 pm

This whole SEC/BCS thing is a big smelly, slivey mess.

Delbert D.

November 11th, 2009
9:55 pm

My dog barfed, and the floor got all slivey.

Delbert D.

November 11th, 2009
9:58 pm

If I post anymore I will have lost my dingity. I mean dignity.

Gary Danielson

November 11th, 2009
10:48 pm

I’ve been trying to tell you yokels all year long that this SEC football is fixed! I’m from Michigan, where they play REAL football, so I know about these things. How many times do I have to tell you stupid rednecks that Southern football is just as fake as professional wrestling?

Why, just take the last game that I announced. I proved once again that the refs are on the take with that blatant missed call on the interception. If you don’t believe me, just look at the youtube video.

See there? See that divot? It’s inside the line dangit! Oh, wait.. well that foot made the divot before he caught the ball, I guess. But hey, what about that next step after he caught the ball? What? You can’t see whether that foot landed inside the line? Well no, you can’t see the ACTUAL CHALK, but heck, I KNOW I saw dirt fly up when his foot landed. Dirt can’t fly up if he’s out of bounds. EVERYBODY knows that. Well… at least everybody from the Big Ten knows it. You stupid rednecks don’t know Jack about football. Just take my word for it — I’m from Michigan. Did I tell you that already?

Anyways, LSU should have won that game. And they WOULD HAVE — if it wasn’t all FIXED!!! I’m tellin’ ya, it’s all just a big scam to make the Big Ten look bad. What have I gotta do to convince you low-life Southern scum?

Oh well… tune in next Saturday. I’ll prove it to you AGAIN — you just wait. YOU JUST WAIT!!!

Gary Danielson

November 11th, 2009
11:20 pm

Oh, and just in case you still think I don’t know more about football than you stupid rednecks, there’s pictures of me on the Internet playing quarterback — so there!

luny lane

November 12th, 2009
12:21 am

The gag rule came down for one reason — Kiffin went so far out of bounds professionally, the league had no choice. The irony is that unlike some of the other situations we’re discussing, Lane had no basis for his whining. I think time will prove Lane far more adept with a microphone than a clipboard, but in the interim, no university should sanction a coach questioning the integrity of the league itself or men who do a thankless job essentially for per diem. Note I said integrity. Competence is fair game.

He’ll be gone in 2 years to USC, whining about the SEC the entire way. Fools gold.


November 12th, 2009
1:16 am

Tide4U2C- That 9 yards has a lot to do with Jefferson and Scott being injured previously in the game. We had to go with a backup who had been an INT machine the year before. That same starting qb was speared by one of your players and of course it was not called. BTW there was a block in the back not called on Jones’ TD when Peterson was out with cramps. There were also two face masks of Hebert and Dworaczk that were not called on your D during a sack and a pressure on our qb. Peterson most probably suffer dehydration and a lingering effect of having the flue earlier in the week. Injuries and officiating with the following starters out of the fourth cost us a shot to come back or push to OT; Riley -best LB, Jefferson – starting qb, Charles Scott – best FB/TB, PP – out during Jones’ TD and in segments due to cramps and T-Bob Hebert – starting Center. If y’all were missing McElory, Ingram, and McClain and your best corner during a good portion of the game think you had much of a chance in the fourth.


November 12th, 2009
1:30 am

Got 12 I got to hand it. You are one proud Homer and so am I. I am not convinced that Bama is not much better than us and only slighly at best. We had you at 15-10 before the injuries and bad officiating caught up. PP was not holding or committin PIs. Even the announcers commented about Bama WRs and LSU DBs having incidental contact and feet tangled up. Also Peterson was called for a bogus PI when the pass was uncatchable. Your team took advantage true of some freakish injuries that happened at the worst time. So, yes credit for taking advantage at home with two weeks off to prepare for us. With the home cooking and our health situation you should have won no doubt. We will move on but this game was bitter. There is an asterisk mark right by this game and definitely there should be one for the SEC CG no matter who wins. No offense Bama and UF fans but you guys are getting help. As far as Les Miles being class he is all that and more. The F bomb at the LSU recruiting bash was an emotional outburst in response to Saban’s stunts going on behind the scenes. That is the calling of our former players to help recruit La. kids for Bama and trying to sway current LSU recruits at the time days after he was hired up until NSD. That and the collusion between Saban, Orgeron, and Petey out West with the McKnight deal. Be thankful that Slive is the SEC commissioner and the office is in B’ham. And this is irateness as a natural esponse to our team being hosed. Its not whining by LSU fans; at least those who see the light and through the nonsense that is SEC officiating.


November 12th, 2009
5:48 am

I think the officials should be held to public accounting just as coaches and players are. I strongly believe the officials should have their own post-game news conference and be forced to answer difficult questions.

If Paul Johnson can be second-guessed on going for it on 4th down and one in overtime, an official should be also second-guessed on why he let the clock run down after a first-down play.

Coach O

November 12th, 2009
8:33 am


You’re just gonna have to get used to LSU being LSU again. The Bengals played a pretty good game against Bama, and they’ve certainly improved as the season progressed. Earlier in the season (when MSU almost whipped their A$$), they were over-ranked based on their recent history.

That said, LSU never had a real chance to win last Saturday, even when they got ahead on the scoreboard. The officials allowed a lot of aggression in that game (on both sides), and Bama was just more aggressive. The flu excuses were supposed to be over with in September. The first REALLY bad call in that game was against Alabama, when they completed a 15 yard pass for a first down and the officials ruled it a no-catch.

The video evidence was absolutely conclusive and the call on the field would have obviously been over-ruled, but the end-zone construction in the stadium at Alabama led to another power outage in the booth and no re-play call was available. Hmm… wonder why Gary Danielson didn’t pitch one of his little hissy fits about THAT call?

After proving at the end of the Alabama vs. Tennessee game that he doesn’t actually know the rules of college football, Gary SHOULD have learned to just shut up with the whining and call the game. A little power glitch (that temporarily took out the headsets for BOTH teams)early in that Bama vs. TN game is what led young Mr. Kiffin to spout off with HIS conspiracy theories. Surely Nick Saban sneaked into the electrical room and fiddled with the circuit breakers while nobody was looking, right?

As for your guy Peterson, I GUESS you can call it “getting your feet tangled up” when a DB climbs up the front side of a WR like a step ladder. There is also an argument to be made that ANY ball is “un-catchable” when the receiver is tackled from behind while the ball is in the air. Pretty much ALL balls are un-catchable when you allow THAT kind of coverage. That’s why they invented the pass interference rule.

I’m just curious — what was your excuse for LSU losing LAST YEAR? Better yet, what will your excuse be NEXT YEAR? You still have 51 weeks left to work on THAT one…


November 12th, 2009
11:53 am

You really want to stir things up, find out why Miles did not speak up forcefully. Find out if he was threatened with game suspensions if he told the truth in public about Redding and Slive.

iJax | Baker’s Dozen

November 12th, 2009
3:29 pm

[...] a difference between denigrating officials and simply voicing disagreement over a call, and as Tony Barnhart points out, the SEC should take a long look at revamping their policy in the [...]


November 13th, 2009
2:04 pm

Mike Slive should just be fired. He is ruining the SEC and is a sad excuse for a commissioner. He is power hungry and will only get worse.


November 16th, 2009
10:32 pm

Well said, Tony. What really needs to be put in place is a rule that deals with the overall nonsense we’ve seen from Kiffin, etc. Calling the integrity of a coach / player / AD / conference into question, or speculating on conspiracy theories, etc. – should all be punishable offenses.

If a coach says, “we didn’t agree with that call, but we are moving on…” – big deal. But if they cross the integrity line on any topic (recruiting, conference policies, anything), then penalties should be enforced.

Hopefully the nonsense of 2009 is behind us.

“Words speak louder than actions.”
-Lane Kiffin