Slive: SEC needs to be vigilant to avoid Penn State situation

Mike Slive .... (AP photo)

Mike Slive sees Penn State as cautionary tale. (AP photo)

HOOVER, Ala. — Between quoting Churchill, Shakespeare, Muhammad Ali and I believe all but three of the Seven Dwarfs in his State of the Empire address Tuesday, SEC commissioner Mike Slive made a reference to Penn State.

He did it as only a smooth, well-practiced executive could. He didn’t mention the school by name. Or the deviate in prison. Or the legendary late head coach who so clearly either closed his eyes or looked away.

“Last week’s headlines remind us that we must be ever vigilant on all issues of integrity, and that our primary mission is to educate and protect young people,” Slive said at the opening of SEC Media Days. “There must be an effective system of checks and balances within the administrative structure to protect all who come in contact with it, especially those who cannot protect themselves. No one program, no one person, no matter how popular, no matter how successful, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution.”

If Slive were running for political office, there would’ve be a pause immediately following, “… the soul of an institution,” while his supporters broke into thunderous applause.

He struck the perfect chord. He should.

Penn State is a cautionary tale for major college athletics. It shouldn’t escape Slive that the same warped power structure that existed in State College, which allowed Jerry Sandusky to continue with his sick and perverted ways, could be mirrored in Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge, Auburn, Gainesville, Athens, Knoxville or on any campus where the image and success of the college football team rank above everything else in importance.

The SEC has been no stranger to scandal for several decades. Illegal recruiting. Academic fraud. A hot, young, blond, female assistant getting a $20,000 bonus from her sugar daddy, the football coach in Arkansas who clearly operated without oversight. (Just to use a recent example.).

The SEC is stuffed with monster football programs and powerful coaches who are treated as deities. One man’s Joe Paterno is another man’s Nick Saban.

That’s not to pick on Saban. It’s just the reality of the situation.

Slive is a smart man. He surely anticipated he might be asked a follow-up question (or two) about his Penn State reference and the potential parallels with SEC schools. He was prepared.

“The point I was making is, we all manage intercollegiate athletics as part of the mission of the institution and that what happened [at Penn State] is something that in a horrific way reminds us that athletics has a proper place in the context of higher education,” Slive said later off stage. “We need to be ever vigilant to make sure we keep that perspective.”

He declined to offer an opinion on how the NCAA should deal with Penn State. (”I wouldn’t presume to put myself in their place.”)

He declined to say how he would react if an SEC school was involved in a similar situation. (”Those of you who know me know I never deal in hypotheticals.”)

But when asked if he was concerned that the potential enabling of criminal behavior and a long-term cover-up could be replicated in his conference, Slive bit.

“Without characterizing it, one thing that I appreciate in our league is the active involvement of our presidents and chancellors, their work with the league, the fact that they meet with each other, face to face,” he said. “All of us — presidents,  commissioners, athletic directors, everybody involved — understand the importance of making sure that everything we do athletically is in the context of the institution.”

He acknowledged the ripple effect the Penn State story has caused, adding: “I don’t think there’s anybody in intercollegiate athletics who isn’t sensitive to these matters.”

These are high times in the SEC. The conference has won the past six BCS championships. There are no major NCAA sanctions in football to speak of (South Carolina self-penalized for players getting reduced hotel rates.). Member schools received $20.1 million each in conference revenue sharing in the past fiscal year — and it’s going to go up.

Penn State is sitting on a large treasure chest. But civil suits will cut into revenue, and there’s a chance the school will lose federal funding. It’s what happens when a university loses sight of its mission, something the SEC’s monster programs can’t ignore.

By Jeff Schultz

SEC Media Days

Digi-blog gives you a snapshot of SEC media daze

106 comments Add your comment

5150 UOAD

July 17th, 2012
5:29 pm

UGa has to protect the students from the Criminal Athletes & Cross Dressing Prostitute Teachers


July 17th, 2012
5:40 pm

And Tech has to protect it’s students from all of the crime constantly happening around campus. In addition to Tech having to constantly pass out pictures of pretty women since not a one exists on campus.

5150 UOAD

July 17th, 2012
5:44 pm

steve you haven’t been on campus if that is what you think.
ALL police have to protect college students in big cities. Very few states allow students to carry guns on campus and the criminals know it.


July 17th, 2012
5:45 pm

5150-What’s up with the odd capitalization? The comment misses the mark if nobody knows what in the hell you’re talking about.

230gr Full Metal Jacket

July 17th, 2012
5:48 pm

Sadly, something like that could very easily happen again at most SEC schools. the reason, pure and simple, is that the schools place more emphasis on the football teams than they do on academics. The coaches can literally do anything they want (just like Sandusky) and nobody will dare to raise a finger as long as they are winning. The mentality/culture that enabled Sandusky at PSU is alive and well in the SEC. Nothing matters but winning football games. Academics don’t matter, just as long as the children win their little ball game on Saturdays. And as long as they keep winning, the players and coaches are free to do ANYTHING they want without repercussion. Players being paid under the table. Coaches being treated like royalty instead of like the public employees that they are. Kids from poor families suddenly have new cars and Mister T starter sets to go along with all of that new ink they got. I’d feel quite safe in betting on at least one SEC program pretty much self-destructing within the next few years. They may not be quiet as bad as PSU, but the general attitude of the fans and administration is identical — and almost all of them would try to cover things up, as PSU did, if their coach was to get in hot water — provided that the coach had a winning record!!

Bill McKinney

July 17th, 2012
5:49 pm

Yeah, nothin like that could ever happen down here. “Lewis, there any hillbillies in these SEC crowds?” “Well…there’s some people who never seen a city before…at least no biggern’ Aintry”

5150 UOAD

July 17th, 2012
5:49 pm

You don’t know about the Arrested Players?
You don’t know about the German Teacher arrested as a cross dressing prostitute?
Where have you been?


July 17th, 2012
5:49 pm

Funny how all I hear about are robberies on campus, even in dorm rooms. Nice! BC, he is one of “those.” You know, no life, woman, obsessed with UGA, etc.

Hillbilly D

July 17th, 2012
5:51 pm

Member schools received $20.1 million each in conference revenue sharing in the past fiscal year — and it’s going to go up.

There’s your problem. The tail wags the dog.


July 17th, 2012
5:53 pm

Dez Bryant – Beat his mom and was arrested. What a fine Tech product!


July 17th, 2012
5:53 pm

Of course I’ve heard about those events, I’m wondering why you throw in random capital letters in your comments. It’s as if you’re tAlkiNg iN cOdE or something and you look dumb. Plus your message sucks.

Bill McKinney

July 17th, 2012
5:54 pm

Steve….Dez Bryant went to Ok State you doofus


July 17th, 2012
6:00 pm

Excellent point, Jeff. It seems the SEC has at least one coach that reports to no one. A disaster waiting to happen. Wasn’t that the issue at Penn St and U of O.


July 17th, 2012
6:13 pm

There is one SEC school where the importance and blind loyalty to football would enable very bad things to happen. Slive knows where he needs to keep his eye on.

[...] Schultz: SEC needs to be vigilant to avoid Penn State-like scandals [...]

Wilson Pickett

July 17th, 2012
6:19 pm

Concern…Richt does need to be brought under control…you maybe can tote his Bible.

Wilson Pickett

July 17th, 2012
6:20 pm

One thing that you UGA follks excel at and that is envy! You have a problem with your trophy case though.


July 17th, 2012
6:24 pm

#ugafurman, you are correct. There is one school in the SEC with a complete lack of perspective. Conveniently, Mike Slive’s office is only 30 miles away.


July 17th, 2012
6:26 pm

Alabama comes closest to mirroring the PSU situation. Saban is the second coming. EVERYONE defers to him; President, AD, Board, law enforcement, politicians, etc. They better hope that Saban isn’t setting them up for a big fall.

Delbert D.

July 17th, 2012
6:28 pm

“There must be an effective system of checks and balances within the administrative structure to protect all who come in contact with it, especially those who cannot protect themselves.”

Nobody at Auburn could protect themselves from Bobby Lowder. Just ask Tuberville and Bowden.

Mike Slive

July 17th, 2012
6:36 pm

The Penn State way is small potatoes, there is a whole state full of enablers here in Alabama. Vigilance may be the goal, but its wishful thinking. They aren’t selling 100,000 tickets to listen to an Economics lecture in Tuscaloosa, so we can safely predict a major scandal at some point in the future.

Dawg One

July 17th, 2012
6:37 pm

“UGa has to protect the students from the Criminal Athletes & Cross Dressing Prostitute Teachers”

Someone needs to keep an eye on Grantham and Garner. I wouldn’t trust either of those overgrown punks.

Phil F.

July 17th, 2012
6:40 pm

Did UGA display their Fulmer Cup at the Media Days event?

Tube rille

July 17th, 2012
6:40 pm

I walked away with a $7m buyout. Don’t cry for me. I was the one who finally torpedoed Bobby Lowder. And he had it coming.

hey steve

July 17th, 2012
6:47 pm

hate to tell ya but isaiah crowell was on his way to the gt campus to commit some ‘mischief’ when he was arrested.

i guarantee that much of the crime on our campus is perpetrated by wayward uga thugaletes.

lakedawg i disagree

July 17th, 2012
6:57 pm

tell me which coach in the sec goes around hugging and kissing on recruits in the same fashion that jerry sandusky did at pedophile university.

which coach has even invited recruits to go swimming much in the same manner that jerry sandusky had clandestine one on one showers with his boi’s.

which coach has been known to sing happy birthday to recruits?

i have never been around a pedophile but that behavior sure sounds like grooming to me. eh?

wasnt jerry sandusky also a man of god? he even had his own charity much like the the sec coach who will go unnamed.

i dont think it would take a genius to figure out which sec coach this is and ill give you a clue. it is NOT saban.

hunk a' junk

July 17th, 2012
6:57 pm

No more statues to living people please.


July 17th, 2012
7:13 pm

Football Top Fan supports SEC President Mike Slive efforts to ensure that all member institutions are vigilant on integrity. The SEC must have a check and balance system to ensure the protection of young people. No one is BIGGER than the school.

Football fans anxiously await the start of the SEC season. The addition of the Texas A&M Aggies and the Missouri Tigers should add excitement to the best football conference in the world.


July 17th, 2012
7:19 pm

‘and that our primary mission is to educate and protect young people,” Slive said’
Protect young people? Can you tell one thing college educators do to ‘protect’ students? I sure didn’t receive any protection. Most college students I know are adults by the time they enter school and have to work and study or they starve and flunk out.
I realize he’s talking about protecting YOUNG kids on the Penn State campus, but that comment goes without saying in any school, church,or home. Just another BS speech in my opinion.
Since the crime around the Tech campus was brought up here, can anybody tell me if it’s any worse at Tech than around Georgia State or Morehouse, or any other downtown Atlanta college?

5150 UOAD

July 17th, 2012
7:23 pm

C…..yes there is crime at all the downtown colleges.

Wilson Pickett

July 17th, 2012
7:38 pm

UGA fans have no trophies but a major problem of Pen-is Envy! You embarrass yourself with your comments regarding Nick Saban then again with one trophy you’re used to embarrassment.

will you sign 40 or 50 this year?

Delbert D.

July 17th, 2012
7:41 pm

@7:19 “Since the crime around the Tech campus was brought up here, can anybody tell me if it’s any worse at Tech than around Georgia State or Morehouse, or any other downtown Atlanta college?”

A task force is forming to reduce crime at downtown and midtown college campuses. So says the AJC.


July 17th, 2012
7:53 pm

If Slive were running for political office, there would’ve be a pause immediately following, “… the soul of an institution,” while his supporters broke into thunderous applause.

More like thunderous laughter. The leader of most corrupt and money hungry conference out there is giving an ethics speech. It is pretty humorous.


July 17th, 2012
8:41 pm

“that our primary mission is to educate and protect young people”


GT Bob is a Joke

July 17th, 2012
8:42 pm

GT Bob,

At last check, Georgia Tech was on probation for a second time in 5-6 years. So, who runs a dirty corrupt program? Shut the h_ll up until you have room to talk!!


July 17th, 2012
9:01 pm

No comments of any real substance here folks. Move along to another blog. Nothing to see here…

UGA is Fed in the A!

July 17th, 2012
9:22 pm

Can’t wait to see the Georgia arrest tallies this fall.

You can take the monkeys out of the jungle – but you cant take the jungle out of the Dawgs.

Dr. Phil

July 17th, 2012
10:12 pm

Slive and Adams are peas in a pod.


July 17th, 2012
10:32 pm

Are they going to stop “pimping teenage girls” to get the attention of teenage boys on college visits?

@ Hillbilly D…
You’re too smart for this blog!


July 17th, 2012
11:02 pm

I think the #1 difference is simply that Paterno had been there 60 years. They hadn’t really been relevant in the national picture since about 1996 or so, it’s just that no one wanted to fire him.

Everything corrupt that can go on does go on in the SEC, but for the most part if they stop winning they are gone. The turnover is what keeps the programs “honest”

Politicians, Coaches and Diapers should be changed frequently and for the same reason.

Tide Rising

July 17th, 2012
11:34 pm

I see a lot of cheapshots being taken at Alabama and Saban. I guess that’s to be expected from jealous dawg fans. Rather than being ticked off about someone else’s success you should spend your time worrying about improving your own lackluster program. 32 years and counting….

hey GT Bob is a Joke

July 17th, 2012
11:40 pm

when gt has an embarrassment like jan kemp
when gt has an embarrassment like harrick n son
when gt has an embarrassment like damon evans
when gt has a scum bag cheat like vince dooley for a coach
when gt starts going on ncaa probation every 4-5 years over decades
when gt has a fan base that urinates and defecates on its library carpet and in other classrooms every saturday
when gt has a fan base that leaves 10 tons of trash on its campus every saturday
when gt has a fan base that is asked to not tail gate in their city
when gt has a professor kill his wife and her two lovers
when gt has a transsexual professor arrested on campus for prostitution
when gt has a professor accused of putting feces in another person’s mail box
when gt has a pharmacy professor supply the answers to his students for a nationalized test
when gt vies for the fulmer cup every year.
when gt starts 10 or more fb players arrested every year..

when that stuff starts to happen than you can afford to throw stones. until that time i suggest you stfu before i add to that list.

there is no comparison between the above and haven a t-shirt given to him by a potential agent.

you fail.


July 18th, 2012
12:06 am

GT has a football program?

[...] Schultz: SEC needs to be vigilant to avoid Penn State-like scandals [...]


July 18th, 2012
6:37 am

the atrocities commited by sec schools for the “good” of athletics over education are every bit as vile as the penn state debacle. many young lives haves been ruined by $5 million a year coachs and overzealous corrupt supporters, many of which are not alumni. it has to stop someday. ralph nader and steve spurrier have the right ideas. pay the kids, remove them from any pretense of being a student, make the big time athletics semi-pro and disconnect totally from our institutes of higher learning

Sugar Rae

July 18th, 2012
7:01 am

Frankly, I’m pretty fed up with all of the Richt apologists with their lame whining that all schools have the same problems with their athletes. That’s utter tripe. UGA has so many athletes arrested and suspended or dismissed outright because Mark Richt recruits low class dummies with no moral code, no sense of teamwork, and a “me first” attitude that’s like a cancer to the team.

And yes, Richt hires thug coaches like Grantham.


July 18th, 2012
7:38 am

Mr Slive shows he, too, is a hypocrite. When he could have declared Cam Newton ineligible under SEC rules, he “deferred” to the NCAA. Why? Because it might have cost his beloved SEC a shot at the mythical National Championship, and a sizeable bonus for himself!!! Greed is killing college football!!!!


July 18th, 2012
7:47 am

While something like what happened at Penn St. would probably be hushed up down here as well, the difference is that the offender would also dissappear (at least until his body washed up in the swamp).

Wilson Pickett

July 18th, 2012
7:53 am

@65Dawg….as my friends Lynyrd Skynyrd sang…”You got that right”, Slive is just a ho when he must.


July 18th, 2012
8:07 am

The SEC has nothing to fear. ESPN,CBS, CSS not only report College football nationwide but have a vested interest in selling their own product and that is of course the SEC. The worst thing the SEC could do is start their own network and compete with their biggest promoters. You don’t have to worry about the SEC,they are protected. Just look at how long it got to get rid of Bobby Petrino. If these networks get a sniff at a scandle it will be on the shows with the talking heads in minutes. They are protecting big money.