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2010 SEC Media Days: Urban Meyer meets the press and Pouncey investigation

SEC Media Days are usually a victory lap of how great the SEC is before the season starts. For the Florida Gators and Urban Meyer, it could have been an easy few days. Instead, the Maurkice Pouncey investigation and Meyer's responsibilities will be Topic Number 1.

The Pouncey family has not yet released a statement denying the allegations Maurkice received $100,000 from an agent's representative between the SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl in December. This may seem like bad news, but they are apparently waiting for Meyer to make his statement first. What Meyer says could be significant.

The timing of the allegations presents a problem for Florida and Meyer. Not only did the alleged agent contact take place during a time when coaches are not with their players in December, but it took Florida six months to find out of the allegations. The press will jump on this and Meyer has to respond, otherwise he looks weak or to be avoiding responsibility. 

Meyer will have to issue "no comment" comments, but not flip out when he is asked if his health issues in December caused him to lose control of the team. (Whether or not this is accurate, the question will be asked.) The press has always looked for an opening to go after Meyer and now they have it. You can assume Pouncey and Florida are innocent until proven otherwise, but the press will try to make the conclusion that Meyer mentally stepping away from UF in December led to the staff dropping their guard and having an agent floating around. 

Meyer will also say UF and law enforcement are properly conducting their investigation. The press will let him know you can't get credit for an investigation starting six months after the alleged contact.

Unless more players were contacted, Mike Pouncey included, Florida will avoid USC-type punishments. It is to UF's benefit to have law enforcement and the NCAA involved, rather than sweeping the allegations under the rug. Yet, in the minds of the media and some fans, the Gators are already on trial and presumed guilty. That impacts Florida's ability to recruit as much as losing scholarships would. Meyer has to maintain a strong front and avoid the urge to call the assembled press bad guys. Maurkice Pouncey is the one accused of breaking NCAA rules, but it will be Meyer who has to deal with the investigation and repercussions, real and imagined.

For those of you who like watching press conferences, the SEC Media Player on the right side of the page will be streaming SEC Media Days. I'm interested in seeing ESPN reporters Pat Forde and Joe Schad. Unlike some of you, my first thought is not to attack the press for reporting these allegations two days before SEC Media Days. However, it does seem interesting ESPN got the information out of a school that refuses to release player injuries and coaches' contracts. Considering the UAA's veil of secrecy, I would guess Forde and Schad were contacted by other agents, NCAA officials or other coaches first.