Emptying the notebook . . .
Sounds like the SEC spring meetings in Destin will be quite interesting. Three SEC football coaches defend the practice of oversigning in this Wall Street Journal article –- the same practice that Florida President Bernie Machen called “reprehensible” in this SI.com article.
UGA President Michael Adams briefly addressed the topic at Georgia’s athletic board meeting last week: “We will not oversign,” he said. “Issues of grayshirting and oversigning in football — and some of the other [compliance] issues that have been in the press — are issues that I know will be on the presidents’ agenda for Destin.”
Speaking of the SEC spring meetings, another issue sure to be on the table is the seeding format for the conference’s men’s basketball tournament.
The past two seasons of disparity between the divisions –- the East much stronger than the West –- have drawn criticism to a system that gives the top two finishers in each division a first-round bye, even if, say, the third-place team in one division has a better record than the second-place team in the other.
“It was a topic of debate [at last spring's meetings], and we couldn’t come to a consensus,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said on his weekly radio show Monday night. “There were really three options: Leave things the way they were; reseed the tournament but award byes to the division champs; or just reseed the entire tournament. I think we’re getting closer to [a change] just because there’s been such a disparity in the East and the West the last couple of years, and I think the media is hounding the league to make a change.”
Fox said he voted last year to reseed the tournament. “I do think if you’re going to have two divisions, you should reward the division champ with a bye but not the second-place team,” he said.
February provided two instructive examples of how rumors outrun reality.
Remember the night of Feb. 7, when Bulldog Nation was aTwitter with the rampant rumor that Washaun Ealey had been dismissed from the team? He had not been dismissed, of course, and his suspension from off-season activities was lifted almost two weeks before the start of spring practice.
Then there was the afternoon of Feb. 21, when the rumor rocked Bulldog Nation that quarterback Aaron Murray had a broken ankle or worse. It turned out, once the X-ray and MRI results were read, that the ankle was merely sprained. And Murray, like Ealey, is expected to be available for spring practice.
At his second Athletic Board meeting as Georgia’s AD, Greg McGarity drew praise from Adams.
“I want to compliment Mr. McGarity for the way he has come in [and] taken hold on the reins,” Adams said. “He and I talk a couple of times a week. I have found him to be thoughtful and open to diversity of opinion and committed to doing things right and to winning.”
With two games left in the regular season, Georgia still could finish anywhere from second to fifth in the SEC East. The current standings:
South Carolina 5-9
LSU coach Trent Johnson said Monday that Georgia has “probably locked up” an NCAA tournament berth “as we speak,” but Fox isn’t assuming that.
“Hopefully we have earned the respect of the selection committee . . . but I do think we have to win a few more games to feel comfortable,” Fox said.
After finishing the regular season with games against LSU in Athens on Wednesday night and at Alabama on Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs move on to the SEC tournament next week in Atlanta.
– Tim Tucker, AJC