Apparently, it still isn't quite summer yet and I've always thought my birthday (June 2nd) was a summer birthday. Guess I just wasn't thinking along the lines of the Southeastern Conference. Oh well. Guess it could be worse.
The SEC Spring Meetings begin today and are scheduled to end on Friday at the Sandestin Hotel in Destin, Florida and much like previous years, nearly every single basketball coach (women and men) and football coach will be in attendance.
Among the topics on the table for discussion this season football-wise are noisemakers (more cowbell anyone?), oversigning (the elephant in the room), pay for play (sort of), scheduling (Alabama is still crying foul) and outside influences when it comes to recruiting. Not to mention on Friday, the SEC will announce how much each school is expected to receive from the conferences distribution of monies earned.
Chris Low of ESPN.com provides a nice and to the point glimpse of what is to be expected (aside from oversigning):
The NCAA investigations and off-the-field trouble that has dogged the league for much of the past year. South Carolina and Tennessee both received official letters of inquiry from the NCAA, with Tennessee scheduled to appear before the Committee on Infractions in June. The NCAA has conducted several different investigations connected to Auburn, including Cam Newton’s father, Cecil, attempting to shop his son to Mississippi State coming out of junior college. LSU fired assistant coach D.J. McCarthy and docked itself two scholarships stemming from the recruitment of former junior college player Akiem Hicks. Former Georgia receiver A.J. Green and former Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus were both suspended for multiple games last season because of improper dealings with agents.
Outside parties in recruiting such as recruiting and scouting services that provide tape and information on prospects. The SEC may also look at preventing 7-on-7 camps and combines on their campuses.
Mississippi State’s tradition of ringing cowbells during home games at Scott Field. The SEC will revisit its decision a year ago to allow cowbells into Mississippi State home games on a trial basis. Normally, the league bans artificial noise-makers, but Mississippi State officials have argued that cowbells are a major part of their tradition.
Stipends that would help athletes with additional expenses over and above tuition, lodging and meals. This is an idea that’s starting to gain steam throughout college athletics.
The Auburn investigation should be interesting, but nothing is expected to arise from the SEC meetings. Leave that to the NCAA and the SEC for another time.
As for outside parties/influences, I am of the opinion that they are a necessary evil and I don't expect anything to change. Yet.
Personally, I don't think anything is wrong with the cowbells that Mississippi State likes to "ring" under the umbrella of tradition. The cowbells are a big part of their tradition and football in Starkville just wouldn't be the same.
Stipends for athletes is a huge problem in my opinion. I'm a firm believer in the "scholarships are their pay" line of thinking and I don't think that should change. They can live on campus if they want to, not every meal has to be of high quality....etc. They'll be just fine. If the SEC decides to do something (and the Big 10 for that matter) think of what that will do to certain teams. Florida can afford to do it but what about teams from another non-BCS conference. Doesn't the NCAA preach parity? Aside from their punishments/rulings...
Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News notes that the topic of Alabama's 2010 schedule will also be discussed:
Alabama football fans will quickly note that this year's Crimson Tide schedule has an interesting trend: Six of the teams Alabama plays this season have an open date the week before playing the defending national champion.
Alabama officials have made note of the pattern, too, and that will lead to discussions this week about how future schedules are put together.
"Yes," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, when asked if the issue was on the agenda for discussion this week. "Our staff is working on the football scheduling that goes out to 2012 to 2022. We're going to fill in our ADs (today) as to where we are. It's a tedious process, as you know."
Would you like some cheese with that whine Alabama? Give me a break. Suck it up and play the cards you are dealt. Or fold for all I care. The Gators have the toughest schedule in the SEC this year (the month of October specifically) and you don't hear one person complaining.
The schedule of today's events is as follows:
SCHEDULE FOR TUES., MAY 31:
9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m: SEC Athletic Directors meet;
9 a.m. - 7 p.m: Senior Women Administrators meet;
1 p.m. - 7 p.m: Women's basketball Coaches meet;
2 p.m to 7 p.m: Football coaches meet;
2 p.m. to 7 p.m: Men's basketball coaches meet.
4 p.m. to 7 p.m: Faculty Reps meet.
(All Times Eastern)