I don’t know about you, but this leaves me a little uneasy:
… At its most recent meetings in Destin, Fla., the SEC apparently relaxed its rules concerning non-qualifiers. I was in Destin but missed that development, as did most of the other reporters there, none of whom (at least as far as I have seen in extensive on-line searching) mentioned it at the time. It’s only been referenced in stories about Powe. But here is what Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone had to say about the change.
‘Basically, the SEC’s initial eligibility rules will generally mirror the NCAA’s, which allow some non-qualifiers to attend school and try to get their grades up before competing,’ Boone told the Clarion-Ledger. ‘The one caveat is that any non-qualifier still has to be approved by the (SEC) commissioner.’
Now, as large as Jerrell Powe is, let’s set him aside for a moment. This is big news. It is a huge change in the way the conference approaches this issue. In the past, the SEC — unlike other leagues — didn’t allow non-qualifiers on campus at all, at least as prospective athletes. A non-qualifier either had to get qualified in prep school or graduate from junior college. Otherwise, they didn’t get on the field, ever.
Perhaps this new rule could be called ‘Saban Rule II.’ You might remember the mini-controversy that some people attempted to stir last fall when Saban, in response to a direct question about the University of South Florida, raised just this point. (I know it is hard to keep up with all the media-generated Saban mini-controversies.) The Alabama coach correctly referred to the differences in what a Big East school could do and what an SEC school could do, and this is exactly the difference he was talking about.
Talk about your slippery slopes. Mike Slive has to approve these recruits? What do you think the odds are that he says yes to one school and no to another? And if he were to do something like that, what sort of uproar do you think that would generate?