While we’re on the subject of cynicism and college football this morning, I think those who are getting excited about Seth Emerson’s report that Mike Slive intends to put oversigning legislation on the table at the SEC spring meetings in Destin might want to take a deep breath and read MaconDawg’s parsing of Slive’s comments.
Here are three things to keep in mind as the end of May approaches.
- Nobody really knows what Mike Slive is thinking. I’m sure we’ll see more of the “Mike Slive is 72 and is looking to cement his legacy” stuff that John Pennington pitches here (the Tony Barnhart column just about writes itself, doesn’t it?), but who’s to say that clamping down on oversigning is what he has in mind? This may be little more than a gesture which allows Slive to say he took a stab at a PR problem, much to the media’s approval. If nothing else, that’ll sure give the assembled multitudes something to write about for a week or so.
- Slive has a lot of convincing to do. Pennington’s head count is 7-5 against proposed legislation. If anything, Pennington may be a little generous with the level of support, as I would expect Kentucky to line up with the opposition. But even if you grant that Pennington’s numbers are spot on, which schools among that bunch will Slive be able to turn from the dark side? And based on what arguments?
- The broader the proposal, the harder the task. Slive told Emerson, “We’ve put together what we call a bit of a package to address these issues, that will give our people a chance to think about these issues in a more global fashion.” In other words, he’s not nibbling around the edges with his legislation. How far it goes we don’t know, but the more he tosses in, the less likely it is that he’ll get anything to pass. It’s one thing to ask Georgia to approve legislation that puts teeth into limits on grayshirting and oversigning, but how do you think the school would take to a proposal that prohibits it from placing players at JUCOs? Answer: not enthusiastically. (The cynic in me wonders if Slive might overreach purposefully to sabotage his own proposal.)
I don’t know how this is going to play out. As I said yesterday, I’m a little surprised that Slive has taken the offensive, but while that sells well in the media, it also gives the Alabamas and South Carolinas plenty of time to prepare their defenses. One thing I do know about Slive is that he’s a consummate politician, which means he’s accomplished at knowing his constituents and counting heads. If the support for change isn’t there, he’ll quickly regroup and move on. Were I a betting man, I’d still put my money on the establishment of a study group when the dust settles.