DESTIN, FLA. – UGA’s Michael Adams and most of the other SEC presidents emerged very tight-lipped about what took place during their 3 1/2- hour meeting Thursday. But the comments of one president indicate some major changes are about to take place regarding roster management in football.
The SEC presidents will vote on several items of legislation before them in their final meeting Friday morning. Thursday afternoon they debated amongst themselves and Thursday night they will huddle with their respective athletic directors one last time.
The main issue on the table is whether to cut or further restrict the number of football players SEC teams can sign to scholarships each February. Currently that number is 28.
“There was vigorous discussion and debate on that,” said South Carolina President Harris Pastides. “I couldn’t predict that one, I really can’t. I’m going to speak to my athletic director about that tonight and I have heard from a lot of people about that. But again, I think what’s good for the SEC ought to be good for the nation and vice versa. I think it can be awkward to have one rule over here and another rule in another conference.”
Pastides’ football coach, Steve Spurrier, signed 32 players this past February and told two commitments they would not have room in the signing class. Pastides declined to provide details over the presidents’ debate but indicated they are considering more restrictions.
“I think most of the discussion was around if we go first and we do something that is viewed as restrictive and conservative, would that be a challenge to the rest of the country and the other leagues?,” he said. “Or might we be left out there as the only league? We decided to do what we felt was best for the college athlete and I think that’s how we’ll vote tomorrow.
“We’d love the SEC to play a lead role in doing to right thing,” he said. “But we would hope the NCAA would adopt whatever we do. I think that’s what our ADs and our coaches are hung on. They don’t want us to be so far out in front that we’re the only league that clamps down on that. So we’re interested in seeing parity relative to what happens in the nation on that particular topic.”
Adams parroted most of the other SEC presidents in refusing to comment on the internal debate.
“I’m not going to have any comment on anything; nobody’s going to say anything today,” Adams said. “We talked about things today. I assume there will be decisions made tomorrow.”
A reporter jokingly asked, “What would you suggest a reporter write on a meeting you’re unwilling to comment about?”
“I would suggest you guys go rent a beach chair and get a beer and wait until tomorrow,” Adams said with a laugh.