Mike Slive throws stuff against wall, waits to see what sticks.

By now I’m sure you heard the SEC Commissioner being lionized in the media for his new agenda to reform college football.  John Infante does the best job I’ve seen laying out Slive’s series of proposals item by item here.

I don’t want to wade through all of it, but there are a couple of significant parts worth discussing.

First is his idea to do away with the one-year award of scholarships, to be replaced with multi-year arrangements.  There’s no question this is a terrific advance for student-athletes.  There’s also no question that it’s poison for a number of SEC coaches.

… South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who earlier this spring suggested paying his football players a $300 stipend for each game played, said he disagreed with most of Slive’s proposals.

“I think most coaches feel like a one-year [scholarship] is more fair,” Spurrier said. “That’s a terrible idea, Commissioner. If you go bad, don’t show up to work, your butt will be out on the street. Everybody has to earn your way in life. Go from there, that’s the way I believe.”

As dramatic a change as that would entail in recruiting, it’s nothing compared to what Slive proposed on the academic front.

… Slive wants to increase recruits’ minimum high school GPA from 2.0 to 2.5 in 16 required core courses to be eligible for first-year competition in college.

He also suggested a “satisfactory progress rule,” where prospects must complete a certain number of core courses in each year of high school in order to be qualified to compete in their first college year.

This rule, he said, would reduce the number of athletes who attempt to cram too many core courses into their senior year of high school — a common set of circumstances where prospects often qualify though questionable academic means.

“This would avoid the last-minute effort of high school seniors when they finally realize what they need to do to become eligible to try to cram together too many core courses,” Slive said.

Talk about shrinking coaches’ margin for error!  This, too, is likely to be met with a great deal of hostility from SEC head coaches, and no wonder.

“I’ve never felt like, ‘Let’s put things back on the high schools.’ Let’s make sure we do it on the college level,” Petrino said. “To me, it’s hard to justify you need a 2.0 or a 2.5 coming out of high school, but to be eligible after your first year of college, it’s a 1.8. That’s where I struggle a little bit.”

As Infante puts it,

… But the infrastructure to guide a prospect through this new environment simply doesn’t exist. High school guidance counselors struggle with the requirements already. And current recruiting rules prohibit any sort of direct contact until a recruit is finished with their sophomore year. To make annual progress work, the NCAA needs to allow and in fact encourage early recruiting.

Unless Slive could get the NCAA to buy into this on a national basis, were the SEC to adopt this on its own, it would go down as the moment when Troy University began its rise as a national power.  That’s not going to happen, of course.

In the end, this is little more than getting a serious conversation started, not that Slive doesn’t deserve credit for doing that.  But this isn’t Destin, where he pitched some concepts that basically nibbled around the edges.  The coaches realized five minutes after those meetings ended that they could still game the system.  What’s being discussed this time is a much bigger threat to the way they do business and they will fight it.  The question is whether those on the administration side are willing to pick up the gauntlet Slive has thrown down and fight back.  For now, color me skeptical on that.


Filed under College Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

25 responses to “Mike Slive throws stuff against wall, waits to see what sticks.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    Slive’s proposals remind me of what the France family did to NASCAR. They screwed it up.


  2. heyberto

    Regarding the changes on the academic side, I’m not sure how I feel about it either. I know we’re talking about collegiate athletics, and academics is just part of the deal.. but lets face it.. many of these players aren’t in school to get a degree…. It’s a gateway to the NFL. Football is their real education. How many kids will be barred from the opportunity to get to the NFL now? If you read the book The Blind Side (not the movie) Michael Oher had a lot of issues to overcome just to get into school, let alone play football. But does anyone ever doubt that professional football is what he was best suited for? The guy wasn’t stupid, he had just been shuffled around too many times and didn’t care about school. When he got some good guidance, that changed and I’m not sure he would have qualified for College with heavier requirements.

    It’s a slippery slope, don’t get me wrong, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I But I’d hate to see someone miss out on an opportunity that could be there for them, particularly when they’re not meant for academia. I’m not suggesting that they retract current requirements, or that athletes disregard their academic responsibilities in college, but I’d hate to see more barriers go up that keep hard working kids that haven’t been afforded a sound learning experience prior to coming to college be outlawed. I don’t want them to come to a place like UGA and not be able to make it either, so there’s that. I’m not trying to make some case for social justice.. but unless you see a huge number of athletes come in that can’t cut it (and I don’t think that’s the case, or are there more Caleb King situations out there that I don’t know of?) is it really necessary to raise these requirements? Food for thought.


    • AthensHomerDawg

      “I know we’re talking about collegiate athletics, and academics is just part of the deal.. but lets face it.. many of these players aren’t in school to get a degree…. It’s a gateway to the NFL. Football is their real education. How many kids will be barred from the opportunity to get to the NFL now?”
      Not everyone that attends a university with a football scholly has the belief that they will get into the NFL. While many do have the goal to use college football as a gateway into the NFL….it is a very narrow gate. Consider the 100,000 HS seniors that target that dream of the NFL…..only 215 will make an NFL roster. Of the 9000 athletes that play college ball…….just 310 will be at the NFL scouting combine. That’s just to get into the selection pool.

      “I don’t want them to come to a place like UGA and not be able to make it either, so there’s that. I’m not trying to make some case for social justice.. but unless you see a huge number of athletes come in that can’t cut it (and I don’t think that’s the case, or are there more Caleb King situations out there that I don’t know of?) is it really necessary to raise these requirements? Food for thought.”
      These are stats from 2007.…I know we have had improvements but it was a easy stat to dig up…. Not very attractive.
      From Stanford scout.com……2007 results
      Bottom 10 Football Grad Rates: Division I-A
      San Jose State 32%
      Florida Atlantic 33%
      Arizona 39%
      Texas 40%
      Georgia 41%
      Central Florida 42%
      New Mexico 43%
      Cal 44%
      Alabama 44%
      Minnesota 44%
      UTEP 44%

      Grad Rates for African American Football Players: Pac-10
      African American Caucasian Difference
      Stanford 94% 95% -1%
      Washington 62% 68% -6%
      Arizona State 51% 68% -17%
      Oregon 48% 79% -31%
      USC 46% 61% -15%
      Oregon State 44% 69% -25%
      Washington State 40% 84% -44%
      UCLA 39% 79% -40%
      Cal 38% 48% -10%
      Arizona 25% 55% -30%

      I do think our university needs to provide for these athletes the best education/educational opportunity possible. NFL as a gateway to a future is more of a keyhole than gate. Some of these kids struggle with so many of the basic things that you and I learned in elementary school. I have two kids at Georgia…one wants to go to law school and the other med school. As they laid these choices out for me I asked Why? Youngest- Law school because his favorite Dad’s- friend is an attorney. The oldest- med school cause his Mom has a medical career. I am a builder/developer…. It was no mystery to me why neither were following in my footsteps. My request was that their major would carry them career wise in case they didn’t get into their choice of future careers. That’s being prepared for life.
      Steve Young earned a law degree while he played pro ball. He now is a managing partner with a venture capital firm. Nice career success after the NFL. “
      But for a lot of the NFL…..“Despite their median $900,000 annual salaries, a surprising number of NFL players (some estimate up to 80 percent) squander their fortunes in the years immediately following their retirement.” Michael Oher still has his work cut out. I hope he is prepared to handle it.


      • heyberto

        Great post my friend, and you bring up a lot I elected to not take on in my original post. Certainly I have no answers, simply stating that I’m torn and just wonder what raising these limits will accomplish besides stating that we’re making it tougher on some of these kids to have an opportunity to gain a different kind of education. There are exceptions to every rule, and who knows how many Michael Ohers are out there being slighted because they didn’t get the right opportunity. Maybe the raising of these limits does very little to keep out bubble players.. but we’ll see.


  3. Puffdawg

    Based on his comments, I assume Spurrier a one year contract with USCe every year?


    • Damon Evans

      +1 (with more to follow if you keep up your performance)


    • Darrren Rovell

      But you left out the rest of Spurrier comments – where the 1 year rule to prove yourself does not really apply to the Head Ball Coach or his colleagues.

      Even while voicing his displeasure, Spurrier acknowledged college coaches have multiyear contracts.

      “Luckily, coaches have four- and five-year contracts,” he said. “They get paid off if they get canned, I guess.”


      • Puffdawg

        So student athletes shouldn’t get multiple year contracts but coaches should? Not sure I follow yours or the OBC’s comments.

        As for proving oneself, when exactly has SOS proved himself at USCe, other than backing his way into an East title last season with 5 losses.

        I’m not sure whether I support multiple year scholarships, but I think SOS is being hypocritical.


        • Darrren Rovell

          Point taken and I probably should have elaborated.

          Spurrier wants to be able to cut a kid after a year if “he doesn’t prove himself” but he and his colleagues aren’t really subject to the same level of scrutiny. Even if they are fired they get paid the bulk of their salary unless they are dumped “for cause.”

          So, of course, it is another hypocritical, highly controlling football coach trying to dictate his view of the world for his own advantage but not really wanting or having that standard used for evaluation of his own performance.

          Personally, I think the mult-year scholarship is a great idea. Give every program a total of 85 active football roster scholarships and 15 academic non-active football scholarships. Maintain the current yearly signing requirements. The coach now has 100 total scholarships with which to manage his numbers and determine the 85 best football players on campus. A full-qualifier signee can only be signed to an 85 active roster scholarship. If the coach decides that a kid with 2+ years in the program is not talented enough but has done everything else right (grades, discipline, etc.) then he can move him to one of the 15 academic scholarships for the remainder of his 5 years (using the 5 yrs to play 4 rule). The player can accept the move or transfer to another institution to keep playing football. If a player is asked to move from the active roster but is not offered an academic scholarship and thus kicked off the program there is an independent review of their standing.

          After accepting the academic scholarship, the player only needs to maintain grades and the normal requirements of discipline etc that a normal student does. Players on academic scholarship would not receive meals or assistance with the books, etc. The scholarship is gone after they hit 5 years total.

          Coaches could still kick off discipline issues. Medical hardships will be treated as they are currently. A coach could choose to use one of the “academic” scholarships on an incoming non-qualifying freshman. However, that player would have 1 year to improve to full qualifier status and then must be moved to the active 85 scholarship number. Those players could not then go back to the academic scholarship and would be given four years on the active roster.


          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Well said DR. +1.


          • The other Doug

            It might be better to just say 20 scholarships a year. That gives a team 80-100 players depending on red shirts, and teams that don’t red shirt usually have around 80 players anyway.

            Coaches would start to take into account a recruits behavior and chances of academic success before they burn one of their 20 on them. I can’t see a downside to that.

            This wouldn’t stop oversigning completely, but it would cut down on it. To stop oversigning you simply pass a rule that says you can only accept 20 commitments.


  4. Gravidy

    Move along…nothing to see here…

    None of this has a chance in hell of being adopted any time soon. This is just Slive beating his chest in front of fawning media.


    • Go Dawgs!

      Yup. Sounds like Slive was having trouble meeting the other conference commissioners’ eyes in the conference commissioner locker room.


      • Dog in Fla

        In his pre-SEC Media Days pitch for the multi-year scholarships and 2.5 GPA, the latter of which would put tSEC into Chapter 11, at his “meeting the other conference commissioners’ eyes in the conference commissioner locker room,”Slive tried this with the other commissioners with no luck because all of them felt they were not quite as dumb as him so they were happy letting him make the proposal


  5. King Jericho

    With the cheating scandal that’s being going on in Georgia high schools, do we really want to put more weight on the school’s ability to “coach up” these kids?


  6. Ausdawg85

    As the Senator and others have pointed-out…follow the money. If Slive were to know, for example, that All-inburn were going to be sanctioned like USCw, then he might see that SEC revenues could be negatively impacted by growing outrage. Floating these ideas for a “serious discussion” is just a good way to begin hedging some bets.

    Personally, someone needs to take real leadership on these problems, but I doubt Slive is the guy, and sure hope it isn’t our own Adams.


  7. Cojones

    King Jerico brings up the elephant. 2.0?, 2.5? What’s the difference in school systems that are cheating the students?

    Everyone blogging here can identify distancing yourselves in classes sometimes without knowing it. Sometimes fellow students got lost and you were unaware that something could have been done to prevent it. We weren’t mature enough in HS to understand fully what would happen later in life. The student of today appears to be in worse circumstances. We, the students of yesterday are the responsible ones for tomorrow’s students. Responsibility cannot fully rest on school administrators and teachers. It be us. Imagine 3 more pages of pontification for me to arrive at my closure.

    Funding or lack thereof (see Memphis School System) leads the way, then competent teachers, then competent PTAs, then competent parents all have to occur in a tenuous thread for a kid to be in a position to pursue a competent intellectual college degree.

    I know a kid who barely got out of HS in California and his parent only got involved halfway through his Senior year. The parent was given an evaluation sheet of the school (upbeat/upscale highly rated Thousand Oaks) and tore them to pieces. The administration was appalled and took umbrage when they were accused of not educating his son. All of it should never have happened since the father didn’t take an active part in his education and had left it to the School system with their great reputation. Fortunately, the kid overcame them both and graduated himself from Cal-Poly. Yeh, you guessed it. He is my son. He has a responsible position in a well-known biotech company today.

    My point? We are concerned with moving a point score mark from 2.0 up to 2.5 in order to ensure that the athlete can survive and obtain a college degree. The standard is meaningless because we know nothing of the end result extent of his education and mental ability to overcome same. He has to want it to get it . How in hell can we measure that in the brain of a HS school kid anywhere in the U.S.?

    The point is moot.


    • AthensHomerDawg

      I appreciate your passion…. I’m just not certain where it takes us. Oconee Co spends less than ACC per student and their results are so much better.
      Read Shaker Heights/A Study of Academic Disengagement… it’s an eye opener.


      • Cojones

        Haven’t read it yet, but am familiar with a part of Cleveland, O. by that name. Thanks.


        • Cojones

          Perused it quickly and saw the southern studies,etc. The Shaker Heights I am familiar with was home to millionaires (of the Ingersol name). The owner of a 30,000+acres plantation in south Georgia called Shaker Heights home. Maybe times have changed, but I didn’t go far enough to get the Shaker Heights reference. Will read it closely later. Thanks.