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

m

November 11th, 2009
8:37 am

Tony,

Tech will destroy Puke and annihilate Cincinnati in the ACCC game. Tech will then avenge the ACC with a thorough whipping of the formidable William & Mary in the inagural Rutabaga Bowl.

Thank God & Greyhound we’re not playing Richmond

JP Owns DJ

November 11th, 2009
8:41 am

Mullen

November 11th, 2009
8:41 am

fire Rodgers Redding!!

N

November 11th, 2009
8:42 am

I hate being this close to m.

Kiffin

November 11th, 2009
8:42 am

Please fire Rodgers Redding!!

rocksteadyfreddie

November 11th, 2009
8:42 am

Tony,
care to address the fact that the SEC does not have HD monitors in the replay booth?? How is that I am better equipped to review a play than the SEC is?? There is no excuse for this. At all.

Petrino

November 11th, 2009
8:43 am

we need new officials!

Saban

November 11th, 2009
8:43 am

love those officials!

Mikey

November 11th, 2009
8:43 am

The coaches need to be able to express their displeasure, like baseball managers kicking dirt on the umpires.
That would be cool.

Meyer

November 11th, 2009
8:44 am

can you donate my thirty grand to the official for our Arkansas victory?

Mikey

November 11th, 2009
8:45 am

rocksteadyfreddie- I guess the SEC cannot afford them.

UGASlobberknocker

November 11th, 2009
8:46 am

Very good point, Tony, I am one who sees weakness in the non response; Im gonna look at it differently now.

The rule should also extend to snide comments about other coaches and players like Kiffin, Spurrier, and Meyer or prone to do. Im talking about specific comments directed at a school or coach in a press conference or reporter. Im NOT talking about the harmless jokes to boosters in the offseason ..as long as they are not mean spirited or directed to an individual.

Roger Reddingr

November 11th, 2009
8:46 am

you can’t fire me Mike I know were the bodies are buried!

1L

November 11th, 2009
8:46 am

If somethinng is wrong, you have to fix it. The best way for coaches to get their point across about the terrible officiating not only in the SEC, but all of college football, is to complain, and publicly at that.

I read on another blog the SEC needs a mark cuban type, someone who will complain and complain and take the fines and just laugh about them until someone, be it the SEC office, the NCAA, etc. fixes the officiating.

1L

November 11th, 2009
8:47 am

Enter your comments here

MattyB

November 11th, 2009
8:48 am

TB,
Here’s a completely unrelated, but extremely relevant comparison-NASCAR. Five years ago, the stars were aligned and the sky was the limit. But they shot themselves in the foot through over-legislation and political correctness. Slive, and indeed all of college football would do well to pay attention to this model.

Mike Slive

November 11th, 2009
8:50 am

We have exactly whwt we want!

Atlanta Gator

November 11th, 2009
8:52 am

I agree with Tony. He’s a smart man. The present ban is not sustainable, but the trash talk by the like of Lane Kiffin must remain banned. IMHO, the coaches should be allowed to roll the tape for reporters and announce that they are sending the tape to the commissioner’s office for review. Nothing more, nothing less. Questioning the game officials’ personal and professional integrity cannot be permitted. Period.

RedKneckerson

November 11th, 2009
8:52 am

I guess Kiffin should now be considered a good coach since he pushed the envelope.

KR

November 11th, 2009
8:52 am

Frankly, I think Mike Slive is out of control. My understanding is that he works for the universities of the Southeastern Conference, not the other way around. I’d like to see some university athletic directors and presidents stand up, back their coach and tell Slive to back off. But that’s just me…

There have been some very bad calls this year. They’ve probably always been there, but now that a lot of us have 50″+ HDTVs to watch the endless replays, we can see them for ourselves. It’s time for the SEC officials to step up their game and improve the quality of their work. If they don’t, you can expect the integrity questioning to continue.

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 11th, 2009
8:54 am

Wow, Tony Barnyard writing an article about SEC officiating.

SHOCKING!!!

m n m's

November 11th, 2009
8:55 am

I can’t wait for the choke job that the insects will have against the Bulldogs after they win the mighty ACC division of BCS busters. ACC stands for Almost Competitive Conference of Losers

Brad

November 11th, 2009
8:57 am

Hey Tony… I am a fan of yours and respect all of your opinions (in fact, the only reason I even read the AJC sports section is because of your articles), but now that you have addressed what you think should happen in the off-season with regard to the coaches commenting on officiating, can we please stop talking about this issue? I am sick to death of listening to conspiracy theorists and sore losers continuing to give this issue life. In short, let’s talk football… you know, on the field stuff. All this peripheral garbage doesn’t matter.

junbeautiger

November 11th, 2009
8:58 am

You make valid points and I agree. Good article Tony.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Gen Neyland

November 11th, 2009
9:02 am

bamafan : Geez, what a goof up by me yesterday. But don’t point it out to loudly or else The Slive of the blogosphere might fine you 30K. Didn’t mean to displace McElroy as the guy that’ll lose to Florida in the Dome. Again, my apologies to both Florida and Alabama.

Coaches are speaking out because the offciating has been poor and has aided some outcomes. Excessive Celebration flags are judgement call of which there isn’t a defined line. We all sit and go “Huh?” at some of those. Facemasking, late hits, offsides, defensive holding, for examples, are not judgement calls. Bad things happen sometimes when they are missed. The game has evolved to 24/7/365 and to see an outcome turn on a blown or missed call has to be infuriating. Can’t wait for next years SEC Coaches/Media Meet with The Slive…

Jake

November 11th, 2009
9:04 am

A coach should be able to express his thoughts regarding a call. If a bad call was made and I was a player, I would expect my coach to stand up for me and my fellow team mates.

Ryan

November 11th, 2009
9:07 am

Agree completely with you Tony…Urban Meyer got fined for something Lane Kiffin (and Dan Mullen) did… pointing out missed calls is part of football…always has been. Questioning the officials’ integrity isn’t…

Furthermore…The SEC has some of the best officials in all of football, they are that way because coaches have been allowed to point out shortcomings in the past to improve officiating. How are you going to improve if nobody can point out when you are wrong?

rowdy von wompington

November 11th, 2009
9:08 am

how about fixing the officiating and the coaches won’t need to complain. I say if a ref makes a call so bad that the SEC has to issue an apology for it the ref should have to pass a refereeing course before they can get back on the field.

Gatorrashad

November 11th, 2009
9:09 am

Gatorrashad

November 11th, 2009
9:12 am

Hey Tony….how about have refs who can get calls right…afterall you give them instant replay….and when a mistake is made that the League office says so…Coaches arent crying over being a poor sport for losing games etc…they just want to get the calls right …I think it is a sham that coaches cant criticize calls…if you arent going to use the technology correctly then why use it.

m

November 11th, 2009
9:18 am

Please note that the m-poster at the top of the page at 8:37 is just an idiot crybaby dawg.

Just like the sec in genreral…a bunch of overranked weak teams with a bunch of crybaby fans.

Tech is undefeated in the sec this year and is 4 out of 5 over two years. The sec is weak…weak…weak.

The ACC beat the sec 6 out of 10 in the regular seacon last year and will beat the sec 4 out of 7 this year. The sec is weak..weak …weak.

There is a new sheriff in town…his name is Paul Johnson.

And Thank God and Greyhound that chan gomer gailey is gone forever.

Will Trane

November 11th, 2009
9:21 am

What is disturbing about the officiating within the SEC is the passive attitude of the University Presidents, Athletic Boards, and ADs who received those bad calls. It has huge impacts on the financial affairs of each university involved. More important the attitude of the officials, the SEC Commissioner, and the SEC Officials office is very harmful. Young recruits and future student athletes see this. Do you think they want to attend a University of their choice and a program they want to play in and be subject to this kind of abuse and discrimination on the field of play. Go talk to high school football seniors and listen to their comments. I think the those who live in a vacuum like the ADs, the Commissioner, and the University Presidents do not understand the harm they are doing to the future of a great conference and future athletes. It must stop. But it should start with the dismal of Redding when the last play is made on this season. Any AD or University President who does not call for his dismal has no care for student athletes.

Dawg Fud

November 11th, 2009
9:26 am

Gen Neyland – nice pick up of James out of N. Gwinnett. I think he will prove to be a valuable asset to the Vol’s offensive line.

Gen Neyland

November 11th, 2009
9:27 am

…and to our Veteran’s, thank you.

Tide4u2c

November 11th, 2009
9:29 am

I do think coaches should be able to speak out and point out a bad call however when/if they start questioning the integrity of the SEC officals they should be fined/silenced.Some people act like they have never seen a bad call before it happens and has happened many times before.It is not the ref’s fault your team did not make the plays to win the game to take the ref’s out of it.Bama had 10 penalties for 130 yards in the South Carolina game so no ref help for Bama.Bama had to overcome them 130 yards of penalties and still find a way to win and did.If the ref’s have been trying to help Bama how come Bama is 5th in the top half of the league when it comes to penalty yardage.We’ve seen Bama get in the red zone only to have a penalty set them back which is one reason why Bama struggled in several games in the red zone and had to overcome it and yet still find a way to win.Your teams are just making excuses.

FactuAll

November 11th, 2009
9:29 am

There is a definite difference between disagreeing with a call (i.e. Meyers), and bashing the integrity of the SEC/Officials (i.e. Kiffin). I think Slive is will have to adjust his ruling(s) to address each; they are not the same thing.

BTW….to my fellow Bama fans. Quit whining about every little perceived slight or error by the CBS broadcasting crew. (a) No one cares about your petty little grievances. (b) Danielson does an outstanding job analyzing the games he calls….I don’t always agree with him, but I do respect his knowledge, and honesty.

OrlG8r

November 11th, 2009
9:30 am

Tony, I’ve said all along that this is a terrible rule for the SEC as written. When any ACC team plays any SEC team are the ACC coach/players held accountable under this? Let’s get real. This rule was written as a knee jerk reaction to Kiffin’s comments that the “…SEC letters of reprimand don’t mean anything”. Let it stand thru the season then modify or delete it..

Dawg Fud

November 11th, 2009
9:31 am

ditto, Gen Neyland. Thank you, Veterans.

Otto

November 11th, 2009
9:32 am

Without fire and brimstone as you put it nothing changes.

Spurrier in the 90s called out bad calls and paid his fines. He went on to rule the SEC. Urban does the same.

SEC refs have been bad for decades but the stakes are higher now, the league is making more money, and there is no reason to be looking at blown calls week after week.

GatorG

November 11th, 2009
9:32 am

“Richt knew it was a bad call but handled the situation with class.”

Dawg Fan Tony Barnhard, not so much. Here’s the quote:

“…the excessive celebration call on Georgia’s A.J. Green last Saturday against LSU is the single worst officiating mistake I have seen in my three decades of covering the sport.”

Eastside Jacket

November 11th, 2009
9:34 am

I just wonder how long it’ll be before TB quits mentioning the call at the end of the LSU/UGA game in his columns (aka THE Worst Call in the Last 30 Years of College Football).

Little Nickie Saban

November 11th, 2009
9:35 am

I think the officials are doing a great job! They are following the preseason script very well.

On a serious note, I think Tony B. has a good point however part of the reason for the coaches complaining is because there does not seem to be any consequences felt by the offending officials. I think Slive tried to do that with the officials from the Florida-Arkansas game but it needs to be done more often and on a consistent basis. It does not have to be done in public but the coaches have to know that when calls are made that potentially affect the outcome of the game then the Commissioners Office will take action against the person or crew that did it.

Otto

November 11th, 2009
9:35 am

Irony, a fan crying on a blog about another conf. having cry baby fans.

Do they know they are the court jester?

sact

November 11th, 2009
9:36 am

all of these controversies are stirred and in many cases started by the cbs crew, in particular the color analyst…….we dont need his opinion which has been wrong on more cases than correct….he shouldnt be commenting on officiating, sec officiating is no worse than any other and in most cases better…the conference deserves better tv coverage….they miss pronounce names, cant remember where they are or what schools are involved; one saturday is enough to convince any listener this is a bad group and their opinions are not relevant to the game

Miles

November 11th, 2009
9:36 am

Mr. Barnhart, why would you have to consult a friend to come to this conclusion? People have a right to say what they want, including questioning the integrity of the officials! Why haven’t we heard a response from the officiating crews? Is their silence to be construed as holier than thou or merely a sign of Mike Slive’s censorship?

G8R GRAD

November 11th, 2009
9:40 am

Tony:

“. . . you can’t completely neuter these guys or the SEC, at least from a personality standpoint, will end up like the Big Ten.”

You buried the lead!

Mo-Ron

November 11th, 2009
9:41 am

unbiased volfan

November 11th, 2009
9:47 am

Tony, after 8 years of reading your articles, I just realized what a puss and a homer you are.

Jeremy Coleman

November 11th, 2009
9:48 am

One of the major complaints of old school NASCAR fans is that once it became a nation-wide sport with major money, then the corporate culture made driver comments stale and really untrue. It is condescending to the fans for a coach to make non-statements about calls that the announcers, crowds, and viewers MAY disagree with. It doesn’t make the coaches look weak; it promotes an appearance of the SEC and coaches saying “we can’t handle the truth.” (To borrow from Jack.)
This ultimately goes back to the struggle in D1 college football today. The fans are being marginalized more and more by corporate sponsorship. Slive cares much more about TV revenue, than his customers. Exhibit A is the BCS.

DawginLex

November 11th, 2009
9:52 am

M,

The ACC blows. That’s why Tech has a shot to win the conference title.