DESTIN, Fla. — The SEC spring meetings began Monday at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort and Golf Spa, with the schools’ respective athletic directors and revenue coaches filing in.
The intent is for the league to stay on the same page and, under the leadership of commissioner Greg Sankey, determine how best to move forward.
Several issues will be discussed at the SEC spring meetings this week. Sankey will make his closing remarks on Friday afternoon.
Along the way, several stories and memories of former SEC commissioner Mike Slive will be shared among administrators, coaches and media members. Slive was a tremendous success as the league’s commissioner.
Here are five of the top issues:
Alabama coach Nick Saban has said he doesn’t want the SEC to deal with “free agency.”
Players’ rights are a growing issue, particularly when academic accomplishment and/or completion is involved.
An ongoing case involving Crimson Tide backup center Brandon Kennedy will be referenced. A past case involving former Alabama and Georgia defensive back Maurice Smith also will be brought up.
Sankey granted Smith, a graduate transfer, a waiver to play immediately at a school in conference and will likely do the same for Kennedy.
Likely resolution: Requirements will be outlined for players who have graduated to transfer within conference without sitting out a season.
Stadium alcohol sales
Alcohol sales are currently limited to SEC stadium suites and private or leased areas. The NCAA’s decision to no longer ban alcohol sales at championship events has sparked conversation.
Many conferences allow individual schools to set their own alcohol sales policy. The SEC, however, has maintained a league-wide policy.
The issue was discussed last year, with Sankey saying it would remain a topic for conversation moving forward.
Likely resolution: There will be more discussion, but the SEC eventually will grant each school the freedom to set its own policy.
Impact of gambling laws
SEC fantasy football anyone?
A federal law that required states to ban sports gambling was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, leaving the college game with yet another challenge.
Millions of dollars are bet illegally on college football games in SEC states each year, and the league has no control over the direction of the gambling laws.
Sankey will, however, insist his athletic directors and coaches be proactive on this issue.
Likely resolution: Increased compliance personnel at each school and close SEC oversight via an administrator assigned this potential trouble spot.
Serious misconduct policy
The SEC is expected to review a proposal to expand the league’s serious misconduct policy beyond active student-athletes and potential transfers.
The question: Should prospective student-athletes — recruits — fall under this rule?
There are several factors to be considered, among them the right to due process, juvenile law differences from state to state and diversion programs.
Likely resolution: It’s hard to imagine the SEC overstepping its authority, much less eliminating players from consideration that other leagues will continue to recruit.
Financial penalties for banned schools
SEC schools in hot water could be looking at double jeopardy moving forward.
If a school faces sanctions that precludes it from competing in the postseason, why should it split the league-wide revenue?
This would certainly serve as a much-needed deterrent, as many have noted that schools that have broken records and won championships have not paid a penalty equal to the success.
In other words, a case could be made that in many instances, it has paid for a school to cheat.
Likely resolution: This has Sankey’s fingerprints all over it, as the current SEC commissioner is big on ensuring a level playing field. This will eventually pass, if not this year, then next.