You get the flow of this congratulatory piece from the opening – “Mike Slive sprawls in a comfy arm chair, propping his feet on a coffee table…”. Yes, on the seventh day, Slive rested. A little slow on the uptake? Okay, how about “Slive, whose deal with the league runs through next July, sounds like a man contemplating his legacy even if he balks a bit at the term.”?
Read the story in its entirety and Slive’s legacy sounds like it boils down to returning everybody’s phone calls and making sure the money keeps rolling in, and with regard to the latter, in a world where a Paul Finebaum has been able to cash in on the passions of goobers to cut a national deal with ESPN, that hardly seems like a creating light from the darkness move.
If he is leaving next July, there will be a few loose ends for the next guy to pick up. There’s the whole scheduling format snafu that’s resulted from the last round of expansion. The odds on that getting settled next week in Destin? Well, if that occurred, it would be, shall I say, miraculous.
And there’s another issue looming on the horizon that the SEC’s self-proclaimed holder of “almost a public trust” hasn’t come to grips with yet.
Advances in technology in recent years have halted the advance of attendance numbers in college football, and Southeastern Conference officials as well as the league’s athletic directors have taken notice. Nine of the 14 SEC schools suffered declines last season, with Tennessee’s average home attendance dipping under 90,000 for the first time since 1979 and Kentucky’s slipping under 50,000 for the first time since 1996.
Tennessee and Kentucky had disappointing seasons, but Florida went 11-1 during the regular season after going 6-6 in 2011 and still endured a drop of nearly 1,500 fans a game.
It’s kind of like the weather. Everyone talks about it, but nobody has the first clue what to do about it.
“It’s at the top of our list of concerns, and we talk about it constantly,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “We talk about improving the experience and doing things in our stadium that people are doing at home. We provided look-ins this past year on our video board of other games going on, and I don’t think that would have even been thought of 10 years ago.
“The majority of people are coming to the games to enjoy the team. There is a tradition here, but if we ever took the stance that people are just going to show up and the game will unfold, that’s when problems will really escalate.”
Ah, yes, there’s that “tradition” thing. You know what tradition is – it’s the public sentiment that the conference taps when it needs a few more bucks.
Hey, I think we’ve just put our fingers on Mike Slive’s true legacy.