SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Uses The Podium To Address Ideas That Would Change The College Football Landscape


SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Uses The Podium To Address Ideas That Would Change The College Football Landscape

Ah yes, we’ve reached that time of year where every major college football conference has its annual Media Day. The days are used for all members of the media to catch up with a league’s coaches and players, but also with the commissioners. The SEC kicked things off this week and commissioner Mike Slive didn’t waste any time taking to the podium and throwing out several ideas about how to change college football at the national level.Slive made plenty of points that sparked debate, even amongst the coaches in his own conference. For one, he would like to raise the academic entrance requirements at schools to a 2.5 grade point average, up from 2.0.

He proposed cost-of-education scholarships, in which players would have health insurance, clothing, travel and some other things covered in their scholarship. And, amongst other things, Slive threw out the idea of decreasing the limits on coaches’ contact with players via social mediums and a modernization of NCAA rules.Now, with more media days ahead, the other conference commissioners will be saddled with responding to Slive’s ideas.Mike Slive joined WJOX in Birmingham with The RoundTable to discuss which people in the conference he spoke with and warned about what ideas he’d be propsing in his media day address, why the SEC doesn’t need to expand to achieve ‘superconference’ status (he already thinks the SEC ‘super’), his ideas for simplifying numerous NCAA rules, and why the SEC won’t look at adopting his ideas unless they garner support at a national level.

Before you gave your speech, how many people did you call and give a warning to?:

“I talked with President Mark Emmert of the NCAA and almost all of my colleagues that have leagues like our league. … I think all of them were pro doing it, they were very positive. I think you’ll see other commissioners, as their days come up, doing something similar. It may not be the same, but something similar, hopefully with new ideas, other ideas, criticisms. What I was trying to do … was I was trying to paint a quality impressionist painting, not take a photograph with all the little details in it, but making sure the issues were out there in a way that everybody could then weigh in and have a dialogue, but a dialogue followed by action.”

You said there are 16 teams that would line up to join the SEC right now, so why not just go ahead and do it?:

“What I said was, if being a superconference is 16, we could be 16 in 15 minutes by asking four schools. That’s not what we’re about. It’s not that I’m talking about creating a superconference. I think we’re super now. … Looking ahead, one of my jobs is to make sure that we have the best interest of the league, long-term, at the forefront. … I don’t rule out any tool that would help us do that.”

In arguing for more modern rules in recruiting, including less strict rules on contact through social media, aren’t you really just arguing for simplifying things?:

“Exactly. Let’s decide what’s important to us. Let’s decide what goes to the heart of what we do. Let’s decide what we need to do to protect and preserve the great thing that we have in intercollegiate competition. If you think about it, if kids communicate by text, can you explain to me why we can’t text them? Why is it OK to make a phone call this week and not next week? … And why, if you’re going to go visit a school, you have to turn to a young man who can’t wait to visit with you as a coach and say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t talk to you.’ Why don’t you say you’ve got 100 and some odd days, recruiting days.”

The ideas that you laid out, can you just implement them in the SEC or does the NCAA need to approve of that?:

“Let me be clear: I made a very concerted effort to be very brief to talk about the SEC if at all. The entire talk was a talk about national issues. And I want to make sure that everybody who cares about us understands, these aren’t things that we’re going to do unilaterally. We’re not going to consciously put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage. Everything I’m talking about is either national or nothing.”

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