Slive tips his hand. Will that be enough?

Mike Slive tells his good friend Tony Barnhart what he’s after with his “roster management” legislation:

CBSSports.com: This week you are going to bring forth some proposals to change some of the “roster management” issues in football. You believe that this is an issue whose time has come. Why do you feel that way?

Slive: People talk about “oversigning” and “grayshirting” the most, but we’re going to look a proposals that deal with everything including early admits, mid-year admits, summer admits and medical hardship cases. Philosophically, we want to make sure that our rules are fair to the student-athlete. That’s the context. This isn’t about what gives us a competitive advantage with other conferences. [Emphasis added.] We have to be fair to the kids who want to come to our institutions. It will be a good conversation.

So what does that mean?  Perhaps the better question to ask is what it doesn’t mean.  For that, let’s turn to Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone, who has been part of the committee to help draft the proposed SEC legislation.

“I don’t think there is an intent to use the Big 10 (Conference) policy, which says you can sign no more than 25 and may go further to say that if you only have 18 scholarships available to get to your limit of 85 that you can’t sign more than 18. I don’t think we want to do that,” Boone said. “I do think everybody wants transparency in everything we do in dealing with our prospective student-athletes.”

A shrewd politician – which Mike Slive certainly is – knows you only pick the battles you know you can win.  Pushing something which many most SEC coaches believe would amount to unilateral disarming in the recruiting wars ain’t one of those, even if you think that Saban and Nutt overstate their case.  What Slive wants this week is a win-win, legislation that does in fact aid the kids without having much of an adverse impact on the programs.  You may find that particular eye of the needle exceedingly narrow and you may very well be right, which is why all that may come out of the meetings is window dressing.

But it’s clear Slive intends to come out with something, if for no other reason that it gives him something to build on if there’s little impact from what gets enacted this time:

… We want to make sure that it is a more equitable relationship for both sides — the institution and the students who we recruit. So we’ll have this discussion. We’ll make some changes. If the changes don’t work we’ll come back in a few years and make some adjustments.

None of that sounds like the SEC presidents are ready to override those coaches who are vehemently opposed to restrictions on a program’s ability to maximize the number of roster slot openings.  So the commissioner may have little choice but to settle for steps to make the process more open for recruits and their families.  Is that better than nothing?  It should be.  But Slive may be unduly optimistic about what he can carry out over time.  Saban’s no dummy, either.  As hard as he intends to fight Slive on the front line to prevent action, he’ll be studying ways to emasculate whatever new rules do get passed.  It’s not as if Saban lacks experience with that.

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UPDATE:  Good post from Cecil Hurt (although if you’re going to invoke Elliott Porter, it’s only fair to note Porter’s elected to walk-on at LSU).

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11 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

11 responses to “Slive tips his hand. Will that be enough?

  1. Mike

    I agree with the approach making this fair to the players. If a program is going to oversign, then they also have to get a player signature on something that says the program *might* not have a space available and ask the player to greyshirt, walk-on, etc.

    • What happens if a coach adopts a policy that he makes every kid he recruits sign such a disclosure? Doesn’t that make it less meaningful?

      • Mike

        Perhaps, but at least it discloses the concept to the player. And programs that do what you suggest will be compared unfavorably to programs that do not.

        There is no legislation or set rules that will prevent people from breaking or even pushing the rules. That is the reason I am a big fan of transparency , whether we are talking about Government, political campaigns or the NCAA rules. You can’t stop people from being jerks, but you can shine a light on those that are jerks. At least it will give the recruit another point of comparison.

        • Scott W.

          The fact that it has not been a secret for a very long time now shows that this will be ineffective. Why even go through the motions if all you’re going to do is pay lip service to legislation? Plus making a kid sign a discloser agreement is basically shifting the blame to them instead of focusing on the shyster that is circumventing the rules in the first place.
          Why not just up the roster number? Hey let’s hold open tryouts for anyone who is a student.

  2. If he can get what he has on the table passed, much respect to Slive. I just hope this isn’t the end solution.

  3. lrgk9

    Would just like to get to a place where UGA can feel comfortable in engaging in practices which narrow ‘The Turk is Coming’ gap out in the Western Conference.

  4. Dave

    I think the basic format Slive wants, which essentially shuts down the unregulated summer period, will pass. They’ll tinker an appeals process into the mix on both the 25 cap and the “anyone on the roster at the start of the summer counts against your 85″ to mollify the coaches and to allow a program to adjust to a rash of dismissals, but I think this passes.

  5. Macallanlover

    Ducking the issue by not adopting a “Big 10 like” policy is very telling about Slime’s lack of ethics and leadership. Add the AD at Mississippi to the list of sleazy characters who should be exposed this week. Georgia and Florida should speak out adamantly to distance themselves from the Bama, Barn, and Old Miss on this issue requiring the others to defend the indefensible. A level playing field needs to be determined within the conference.

    I agree this isn’t about trying to gain an advantage against other conferences, it is about winning the SEC and beating traditional rivals….and cheating to do so. Schools that get a “look” at 20+ athletes more than others over a 4 year period have a huge edge before you get to the ethics of discarding mediocre bodies.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1.

    • Dave

      (Sigh).

      School A redshirts 90% of its players over 5 years (example: 18 of 20). School B redshirts 70% (example: 14 of 20). That’s 20 extra bodies over 5 years right there. People who reduce this math to black and white just don’t get it.

      Saban’s APR climbs every year he’s there. I’m not defending him, but this problem has been dumbed down to the point that real change will have to be Step 4 or 5, down the road.

  6. Scott W.

    Love, love, love the attitude of the SEC West. Always we’re getting screwed because we’re little, well is there a program that’s above reproach ethically and one-off examples in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I mean if JPW a well off kid from Birmingham benefited from voluntary delayed enrollment it couldn’t be so bad, right?