DESTIN, FLA. – Welcome to Day Three of the SEC Spring Meetings at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort. This is traditionally known as the quiet day around here, which is in stark contrast to yesterday when Steve Spurrier was proposing paying players, Nick Saban was storming out of meetings and the conference leaders were retooling men’s basketball.
As of today, all of the coaches and some of the administrators have gone home. This morning there were golf and tennis outings for attendees. But this afternoon the real work gets done.
The SEC president conduct the first of two meeting at 2:30 p.m. EST to discuss the legislation brought before them by the coaches, faculty athletic reps, senior women’s administrators and athletic directors. Sometime tomorrow morning they will cast actual votes on said legislation and then we might see some changes regarding roster management, divisional play in men’s basketball and other important things such as cowbells being allowed at Mississippi State home games.
UGA President Michael Adams was kind enough to sit down with me this morning to share his thoughts on some of the subjects they’ll address over the next 36 hours.
On the over-signing/roster management discussion:
“I expect there will be a robust discussion in the president’s meeting today and tomorrow about whether or not we can get a handle on over-signing, grayshirting, etc. Our position is pretty well known. I think our coach and AD can speak for ourselves.
“But our first concern on these issues is the student. We don’t think it’s fair to students to leave them hanging and wondering. We feel like a scholarship offer is a scholarship offer. Now what form if any that is going to take in legislation or even if anybody is even going to agree with us remains to be seen. But our coach, our AD and myself are all committed to the fact that we will to the best of our ability. When we offer a person a scholarship, we will have one available. We don’t intend to do purposeful over-signing.
“Having said that, in this league, as we did this year, you sometimes have one or two who for one reason or another might not be fully eligible. If you’re not fully eligible, we feel like you’re better off at a junior college than at a place like Georgia. So sometimes one or two spots do open up and it’s not a perfect system. We’re not trying to cast aspersions on anybody, but our view is we want to be straight-up with the student-athlete.”
On eliminating divisions and seeding 1 through 12 in men’s basketball:
“I talked to Coach Fox about it and he and I and in sync and I intend to vote just like he voted in the basketball coaches group.”
On other business before them:
“I think the rest of it is pretty pro forma. Financially it has been a great year attendance wise and the league all and all is in good shape. I’d just like to see us ratchet up our academic interests a bit.”
On Steve Spurrier’s proposal to pay football players a game bonus:
“I’ve known Coach Spurrier a long time and I have a lot of respect for him, but we’ll just respectfully disagree on this one. I think something like that would start another whole different kind of arms race. I think we have enough arms races as it exists.”
On whether the “cost of attendance” scholarship is a realistic possibility:
“I think that’s yet to be determined. I think one of the things a lot of people don’t understand is how much we can do right now for a student-athlete through the opportunity fund. I had a pretty substantial impact on enhancing that during the time I was on the [NCAA] board. All of the old wives tales about we can’t pay to let an athlete go home to his grandmother’s funeral or that sort of thing is all really passé. I think what we need to do is wait and see what the legislation looks like and then count the costs and try to do what’s fair for the student-athlete.”