“We support the SEC rule of not granting guys’ releases to go to other SEC schools.”

When Alabama relented and gave Maurice Smith his unconditional release, there was a pretty common sentiment that the reason it did so was because the the fix was in — that Nick Saban knew the SEC wouldn’t grant a waiver for Smith to attend Georgia.  It turned out that was wrong.

But there’s more to this story than that.  It wasn’t simply that the SEC granted the waiver, albeit conditionally.  It’s that Greg Sankey went out of his way to criticize the very conference rule that Saban supported.

Sankey did acknowledge it’s time for a healthy discussion about this subject beyond Maurice Smith, particularly SEC Bylaw 14.5.5.1, which prohibits transferring within the league and playing right away barring a successful waiver request. In the commissioner’s words, “The current rule places our coaches and administrators in untenable situations so it is time for us to address graduate transfer rules.”

Granted, that statement came after some weasel words about the need to be careful with graduate transfers (why?) and praise for Alabama’s stance, but when you boil it down, untenable is untenable.  Sankey recognized that Maurice Smith was the perfect storm to challenge an unfair rule and had little choice but to do what he did.

“The five conferences wanted autonomy to make these [type of] decisions,” SEC commissioner Sankey told me. “We’ve just been stuck in the morass of Division I governance process and don’t have an output. Part of what I’m observing is we’ve got to do something.”

It starts with getting rid of the silly year-in-residence rule for graduating players who, like Smith, desire to transfer within the conference. I spoke to two FBS commissioners Friday who told me their conferences would at least have to consider getting rid of similar grad transfer rules.

Sankey was not of them, but the architect of Friday’s ruling suggested he is already tiring of ruling case-by-case. In other words, Smith’s case was not the first one he has dealt with, just the some prominent.

“No, I don’t [look forward] to doing this on an ad hoc basis,” Sankey said.

Think about it: This whole thing blew up over an academically-motivated kid from Sugar Land, Texas, who was second in special teams tackles last season for Alabama.

In a world where conference commissioners issue mealy-mouthed proclamations about student-athletes’ concerns, the optics of preventing someone with a degree from transferring are terrible.  Sankey doesn’t want to defend the indefensible.  Perhaps that will indeed lead to a change in the SEC’s rule, which would be a welcome development.

But that may not be the biggest thing about what just happened.  Because it’s hard to look at how this went down and not think that Greg Sankey hung Nick Saban out to dry.

The SEC owes Nick Saban a favor. Had someone in the conference office told the Alabama coach that the league would let recent Alabama grad—and former Crimson Tide defensive back—Maurice Smith transfer to Georgia and play immediately, Saban probably would have released Smith immediately instead of getting painted as a villain for weeks.

The SEC announced on Friday afternoon that Smith would be granted a waiver to a league rule that would allow him to play immediately. This is the correct decision, because the rule is a bad one in the first place. But the decision came at the wrong time. Instead of letting its most successful coach get blasted as being anti-athlete news cycle after news cycle, someone at the SEC should have stepped in much earlier in this process.

This never had to become a national debate. Had someone at the SEC told Saban earlier this month that Smith would get the waiver, then Saban—who is nothing if not pragmatic—probably would have simply released Smith and saved himself the negative headlines. He stuck up for the league’s rule, but the league didn’t. Had Saban known the SEC would cave, he probably would have released Smith weeks ago.

I think Staples is right about that, except for the favor-owing part.  Saban made a self-serving decision and righteously cloaked himself in the conference rule.  He misread the situation in that Sankey was placed in a spot where he had little choice but to take his own talk about student-athlete support seriously.  (Saban also didn’t help himself with the Black and Pappanastos transfers.)

Still, Sankey could have simply granted Smith’s waiver and left things at that.  Instead, with his call to revise the graduate transfer rules, he’s indicated his intent to move the conference in a direction that will undercut head coaches’ control of their players, something that for most is not a desired result.  And Nick Saban is the catalyst for that.

I don’t think anyone saw that coming, least of all Nick Saban.

45 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football

45 responses to ““We support the SEC rule of not granting guys’ releases to go to other SEC schools.”

  1. Bright Idea

    And now after sitting quietly while Saban got hammered by the national media Kirby has to work Smith into an experienced group of defensive backs, who all have to be wondering, which one of us is going to the bench.Smith must be one hell of a player.

    • Cojones

      True, but they can rotate with each other and Maurice may end up being the solid cog to help transfer the D philosophy to those not as familiar with it as Smith is. Instead of treating him as an outsider or newcomer, the other players may welcome him in due to his experience and the help he can give the linebackers. I definitely think that he and his family have our and the players’ respect for the stand they took unequivocally for players’ rights.

      I hope his Mom joins the other player Moms with the same determination for her son and this team as she demonstrated in Tuscaloosa. Has anyone heard from Bryant Denny on this subject?

    • KrautDawg

      A specialized nickel player from a run-stopping defense won’t be a bad thing to have against Ole Miss, UT, Mizzou, Kentucky, or Auburn — all of whom spread it out, but still like to run. Especially against Ole Miss, I’d expect us to run a lot of nickel. So if we have a guy who knows Kirby/Tucker’s nickel defenses, I imagine him seeing the field a good deal during these games (as opposed to a converted safety/ILB we’re having to train up).

      In other words – I agree with you on our secondary’s experience – I simply think that Smith will meet a different need.

  2. Argondawg

    Nobody owes Nick Saban a favor. He wasn’t defending the conference. He was defending his own self interest. Which is natural and I get it but this guy acts as if he was taking one for the conference and I call bullshit on that. This kid knew after three years of giving all he had that he could be replaced at any time at Bama. He will probably have a pretty secure spot at UGA.

    I think the biggest thing for us regarding Smith is that he is smart and has been in this system for 3 years. The coaches have a limited number of hours per week they can spend with a player. Smith can essentially coach his teamates all the time. Drinking a beer, eating breakfast, playing Xbox if you’ve got a question I feel damned comfortable that Maurice has heard the question and knows the answer. Our secondary just gained another gear in learning its part of the D. We also gained a solid player.
    Kirby is not just playing for three years from now. He is doing everything he can to make this team a little better, a little deeper every day.

  3. Nick ain’t fooling anybody. He knew the SEC would grant a waiver to Smith. He simply chose to be vindictive and deliberately waited until the proverbial “last minute” to release the kid, thereby attempting to hamstring him even more by forcing him to miss the start of fall camp and therefore have to play catch-up instead of having a completely fair shot by starting out with the rest of the guys on Day 1. I hope Smith’s familiarity with Coach Smart’s as well as Coach Tucker’s schemes and terminology help him quickly adapt so he can be a valuable contributor this year, which is all the kid wanted anyway. “Up yours, Nick!”

    • ASEF

      No.

      Smith graduated Saturday. He could not become a graduate transfer until this week. He could not participate in Georgia football whole he’s still taking classes in Tuscaloosa.

      • He graduated Saturday, thus he became an eligible graduate transfer candidate on Saturday. He could have been signed up and starting his Post-Grad classes at UGA on Monday. But because of a power-hungry d-bag like CNS, he didn’t arrive in Athens until Friday, just in time to drop his suitcase and stroll over to see the equipment manager. Practiced for the first time today.

  4. 1smartdude

    I believe Jimbo Fisher actually handled this type of situation the best. When Coker, a graduate, wanted to transfer to Alabama, he simply praised his play and wished him well. Will Kirby do that when a graduate of his wants to transfer to Alabama? His recent comments say he will but his recent history says he won’t. There’s something brewing between these two.

    • McTyre

      Indeed we’ll see how Kirby handles this king of situation as one challenge that comes from quality depth is convincing HS stars to patiently wait their turn rather than transfer. When the time comes, hopefully Kirby will strike the balance between holding student athletes accountable without, as Saban does, holding them captive.

    • JCDAWG83

      It would have been interesting to see how Jimbo would have acted if Coker wanted to go to Clemson. I don’t think Saban would have cared if Smith wanted to go to FSU. The intra conference transfer was the issue, not the actual transfer. Kirby handled the Turman transfer the same way, he said he could go anywhere he wanted outside of the conference, Miami or tech.

  5. Dictators reigns do have end, LOL.

  6. Derek

    Sorry but staples doesn’t make any sense here. If Saban thought the sec would prevent the transfer, then Saban would have chosen to be magnanimous and let Sankey be the bad guy. Saban played the bad guy instead because he is and he knew he was the only thing standing in the way. The sec already did Saban a favor by not coming out and calling him an asshole while he held the kid up.

    • ASEF

      No.

      He graduated Saturday. He was not held up. The paperwork started Monday at Alabama and ended Friday at the SEC. Maybe the bureaucracy could have moved a day or two faster.

      The public misunderstanding of this story is breathtaking. Especially here, where it’s been discussed in such detail.

      • To a great extent, you’re right.

        Except Saban could have granted Smith a release any time he wanted after Smith told Saban he was going elsewhere.

        • ASEF

          If he’s still taking classes to qualify for graduation, then it can’t be a graduate-transer release. Instead, it’s the promise of a release, isn’t it?

          Monday was the first business day after graduation. We learned this had been handed over to the SEC on Wednesday. The SEC ruled by Friday.

          The angst in this story was all based on the premise that Saban would not release Smith when the time came – but a ton of the comments here clearly reflect the misunderstanding that the absence of Smith’s release prevented him from working out with Georgia football all summer, and that this prevention was done purely out of spite by Saban. That’s just flat wrong.

          Question: a lot of this was complicated by the fact that Alabama renewed Smith’s scholarship, apparently against his wishes. If Alabama had not renewed that scholarship, would Smith have had to pay for his summer classes out of his own pocket? Or does the grant-in-aid for the 2015 school year cover summer classes in 2016?

          • Smith first requested the transfer back in June, contingent upon his graduation this month. All of this could have been settled beforehand, and the kid should have been able to leave as soon as he flipped his tassel to the left side. Quit making excuses for repugnant behavior on the Alabama HC’s part. Regardless of the circumstances, preventing a kid with eligibility remaining from transferring ANYWHERE they choose after they have graduated is just plain wrong. Graduation is supposed to be the goal for all student athletes, right? That even includes those that Saban and Pruitt obviously had major plans for this year, and thought it was in “his best interest” that he stay with their program. What a crock!

            • ASEF

              Oh please.

              “He could have been working out with the team all summer!”

              “No, he didn’t graduate until Saturday.”

              “The bureaucracy could have front-loaded the paperwork so that he could run straight to Athens on Sunday! Stop making excuses for Alabama!”

              “Um, I’m not. I’m pointing out that he graduated on Saturday.”

              Cool?

      • Derek

        He graduated last Saturday and didn’t know where he’d be next for 6 days (during summer football camp) but he wasn’t “held up?” Sure. You’ve got it all figured out. Frankly I’m surprised that the kid didn’t wait to ask for his transfer until after he got his sheepskin on Saturday. The public’s impatience these days is breathtaking. I haven’t been able to take a full breath since I found out that’s the family was asking for the release BEFORE graduation day. What is wrong with these people??

        • ASEF

          I’m addressing the idea that he could have been working out in Athens all summer or even last week. No, he couldn’t.

          Smith spent a couple of months in emotional limbo, and Smith had to fight harder than he should have to get to this point – no questions about that.

          But he graduated Saturday, meaning the official paperwork couldn’t start until Monday.

          The SEC rule stinks. The Saban-Smith saga put a spotlight on that. But no one’s been more student-athlete friendly than Andy Staples, a former student-athlet himself. He’s not beholden to Saban. If he sees some mitigating circumstances in all this re: Saban, that holds some weight with me.

          • DawgFlan

            You do know that a student doesn’t have to go to the graduation ceremony in order to graduate, right? Every December enrollee from high school does it. Smith was clearly on track to graduate, and it had been several weeks since he asked for permission to talk to UGA and was denied. Sure he couldn’t have been practicing here until earned his last necessary credit, but UA and the SEC could have granted him a conditional waiver (adding the condition of graduation) any time it wanted, as even yesterday’s was conditional.

            • ASEF

              He clearly took summer classes. Summer graduation at most institutions happens about 24 hours after final grades are posted. You don’t hold a ceremony a month after classes wrap because those students are clearing out of town.

              If he had completed his academic requirements earlier, then I would think the Smith family would have highlighted that fact by now.

          • Derek

            Irrespective of your respect for staples and irrespective of my near total lack of respect for Saban, the problem is one of logic as pointed out above. The idea that Saban did what he did because he thought the SEC would have his back is just nonsense.

            Why media people want to give cover to this complete asshole who has built that program on exploiting and abusing student athletes I have no idea. I will say that that is a clear pattern of media giving anyone with success cover no matter how they behave whether it’s woody Hayes, Bob knight or Nick Saban. There is no other place in the world (with the possible exception of being the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) other than college head coach that you can act like these guys act and get away with it year after year.

            • ASEF

              I’ve read Andy for a long time. He’s not an apologist, and he doesn’t provide media cover for bad actors in return for access. You’re lumping him with the wrong group.

              Saban is an easy target (control freak) and a desirable one (a figure everyone loves to hate) from a media perspective. But lumping him with coaches who physically hit players and verbally abused them as a their base motivation technique is kind of ridiculous. Saban has 3 psychologists on retainer. All of them are telling him the same thing – fear only gets you so far when it comes to productivity. Fear’s benefits are entirely short-term, and then it becomes ridiculously counter-productive. So, if for no other reason than winning games, Saban wants his players to believe that he has their back and that he believes in them. Doesn’t make him a saint. Doesn’t mean he was right to tell Smith he wouldn’t get a waiver when the time came. Hate him all you want (you’re not alone) but I’d take him over, say, Coach K at Duke, an abrasive, profane bully who has marketed himself brilliantly.

              Do you think Kirby’s a monster, too? Because they are in many ways carbon copies of each other.

              • Derek

                My issues with him relate to:

                medical redshirts for guys who can play but he doesn’t want
                forcing players to transfer who don’t pan out
                yanking scholly offers of commits because they ran out of them
                pissing on my back by telling me that Jonathan Taylor’s admission was an “academic decision.”
                complaining that it was unfortunate that he had to let Taylor go before he had full due process of law
                I could go on. As far as Kirby goes I’m hoping that he won’t be a carbon copy of that crap. Other than the Turman issue, I haven’t gotten a sense that he’s going down any of these same roads. If we start leaving kids w/o a LOI on signing day like Darius Philon was and/or running folks off and it giving medical redshirts in May to guys practicing at Jax state in August, he’ll lose me. I’m hoping we’ll get the good and not the bad.

                I just don’t like the fact that Saban built that program by being completely indifferent to 17 to 23 year olds knowing that the media wouldn’t care and that teenagers are too stupid to think that any of that bad stuff could happen to them. Part of the reason we ended up just short in that SECCG is that CMR was never willing to do that sort of “roster management” to stay at 85 no matter what. It wasn’t a matter of X’s and O’s.

                • ASEF

                  I hear you. But allow me a counter-perspective:

                  If a player post-injury is capable of playing football at an FCS level but not an SEC level, should Smart keep him on the active roster as one of the 85 counters? Or offer him a medical to stay at Georgia or the right to transfer elsewhere if he wants to continue playing football? I know how I answer that question. Georgia plays SEC football. The scholarship players on the roster have to be capable of doing their jobs on the field and in the classroom. If a physical injuy diminishes their ability to stay on the field – diminishes, not eliminates – then I think a medical is a perfectly ethical solution when that diminishment makes SEC-level contribution impossible.

                  I disagree completely on the 85 roster spots. Georgia at one point had fewer scholarship players than USC, which was on severe NCAA probation. I may have been the first one here to point that out. Saban probably goes overboard over those last 2 or 3 roster spots – and has been publicly burned for it – but Richt was just as irresponsible, simply in the opposite direction. And that has an ethical component to it as well. I’m a firm believer in depth being a key injury prevention mechanism. Alabama’s has remarkable injury “good luck” over the past few years, while Richt’s rosters seem to have remarkable “bad luck.” We’re into both correlation-causation and small-sample/anecdotal evidence territories with that observation, but I’m convinced there’s some merit to it. So I would prefer Smart’s roster management to look a lot more like Saban’s and a lot less like Richt’s.

                  Saban bugs me in a lot of ways. I’m not defending his virtue as a football coach. He’s an easy and effective spotlight for NCAA and player reforms when he trips some of those wires. He’s paid handsomely to deal with those issues, so I hardly feel sorry for him.

                  I wonder if Smart played any role in the decisions to grayshirt Philon or accept Taylor? They were both defensive players. Those were both ultimately Saban’s calls, and he took all of the public blame for them. But Smart had to have been involved at some level. Maybe he opposed both. Maybe he requested both. We’ll never know.

                  • Derek

                    My answer is that you have a responsibility to the player every bit as much as you have to the team overall. I don’t think keeping guys like Albert Hollis or Antonio sims on scholarship, despite the fact that they were unlikely to contribute is a bad thing. Quite the opposite. If the kid is trying to rehab then you support him. If the kid wants to quit, give him the MR. I just think that when you sit down with parents and tell them that you’ll take care of their son, that means something and it’s not something that gets broken out of convenience. I didn’t like being at 62 or wherever we were but I don’t think that was a product of not being cut throat on roster management. After all, if we were keeping guys around for no good reason, we wouldn’t have been at 62.

                    • ASEF

                      A medical retains all components of the scholarship. They just don’t practice or play. They can still be a part of the team, on the sidelines and all that. Just not in pads. I’ve never understood the outrage over medicals. It’s all the benefits of an athletic scholarship without the sacrifices.

                      If my kid was recovering from a knee injury and was told either to get back on the field or lose the scholarship (no medical), then that would be outrageous. Happened to a coworker’s kid at a small college up here. He ended up giving up football and transferring to a public university he could afford. Sad.

                    • Derek

                      The issue is when either 1) the kid can still play or the 2) the kid still hopes to play.

                      Saban gave out twice as many medical redshirts in his first two years at Alabama than were issued by he rest of the nations football programs. I know that one of those kids was placed on MR in May and was playing at Jax State that same August.

                      Now if a kid has a spinal injury or a heart condition where training is even out of the question then an MR makes sense even if the kid doesn’t want to accept it. The two I know that we kept around had multiple knee injuries and it did not hurt us a bit to give each of those guys every chance to play again.

                    • ASEF

                      I can still play. I’m 48. My heart is willing. I got fired in the belly. My eligibility is gone, but otherwise I meet all your conditions.

                      Forget football; college sports are notorious for jettisoning players post injury. Off team, off scholarship, don’t let the door but you in the butt on the way out.

                      I think more medicals would be good thing. If these medicals were sidelining players who ended up at Power 5 programs, ok. But 1 guy at Jax State? Who may have been advised to quit the game but couldn’t?

                      Hank Gathers thought he could play, too. What do you think his parents wished his coaches had done?

                    • Derek

                      Forgive me if I trust math over Nick Saban. Is it possible that one school had twice as many kids who just shouldn’t play than the rest of the country? I suppose. Is it more likely that Saban is a motherfucker? Yep. So that’s where I am on it.

                    • ASEF

                      I trust data and context. None of those players went to another P5 program, a la Jarvis Jones. All the data on degenerative head conditions and orthopedic problems point to the need for more medicals, not less.

                      Saban is often a jerk. This issue doesnt get me there.

                • I don’t think Turman’s case is comparable. He chose to leave just because he wanted more playing time. I don’t fault him for that, but I don’t agree with him being able to transfer anywhere he wants because of it, either. Maybe a kid originally commits to a school because of his relationship with the HC or the assistant coach that recruited him. Sometimes, when that factor is removed due to a coach getting fired or otherwise leaving, some kids, like those who may already be unhappy due to their place on the depth chart, use that as an easy excuse to want to jump ship. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see that excuse as viable. Once you strap on the pads with your teammates, and begin that journey of brotherhood and commitment…sweating and bleeding, laughing and crying… together…you don’t just quit. You don’t quit on your brothers and you don’t quit on the school that has invested a substantial amount of time and money in you. You committed to that university to enroll as a student athlete and participate in a chosen sport. You ought to have stick to it unless there is an overwhelming and compelling reason to do otherwise.
                  As far as intra-conference transfers, all of the major conferences have similar rules against it. If you don’t want to stay at the school you committed to, fine. But you shouldn’t be allowed to go and play for a potential future opponent of that school, either.
                  Look, a RS-freshman or sophomore that wants to leave because he is unhappy for whatever reason, presents a completely different set of circumstances compared to a kid who stuck it out, went to class and successfully obtained his degree early enough that he has eligibility remaining, and then deciding he wants to go elsewhere.
                  It’s just not the same thing.

                  • Derek

                    Murder isn’t he same as theft but they are both wrong. As long as the coaches can walk out the door whenever it benefits them, the players should be treated no differently. Sitting out one year is plenty of disincentive for undergrads. Grads should be able to without sitting out.

  7. Cojones

    Does Maurice leaving hurt ‘Bama’s depth at LB? Perhaps that’s where most coaches are when it comes to releasing players – their depth is affected and they can’t assuage their fears of the injury bug.

    If something befalls one of our speedy three, I’m sure we will be thankful for the additional ready-made cog to go into our machine.

    • ASEF

      I actually think there’s a good chance that Maurice plays less at Georgia than he would have at Alabama. Georgia returns just about everyone in a good secondary. Bama’s replacing a starting safety and corner.

      • JCDAWG83

        You have a much higher opinion of Georgia’s secondary than Kirby does. It will be interesting to see how Smith compares to the current players. Kirby is on record as saying our secondary talent is so so and only Sanders would be a mention for maybe second team All SEC.

        • ASEF

          Bill Connelly (advanced metric guy) saw great things for Georgia’s secondary in his review earlier this week – a review written without the assumption Smith would be included in it. Go position by position and tell me who Maurice starts over.

          Maurice is going to have to prove himself to his fellow players before he can start jumping ahead of people on the depth chart. Kirby can’t be anointing an ex-Bama guy over a guy who has been bleeding and sweating in Athens since he got out of high school. Not until the players clearly see Maurice’s advantages.

          • Cojones

            Guess we should stop recruiting those JC athletes because they might get on the field as soon as they transfer and chase others away. Same with our QB last year.

            • ASEF

              My point was more about Maurice’s expectations. A player leaving Snelling Community College for Georgia is a rather obvious one. That player comes into the fold knowing he has to earn his spot but that any spot is better than Snelling Community College. A player leaving “starting nickel back on a team ranked #1 at the start of the season” is something altogether different.

              I hope it works out for everyone concerned, and the principal that tossed this story into the national spotlight – player freedom – isn’t arguable.

              But once you move beyond that issue, the whole thing gets very weird very fast.

  8. Mike Cooley

    Nick Saban ends up being the catalyst for college football players to have more control over their day in day out existence. That’s some delicious irony right there.

  9. Macallanlover

    Not sure the SEC office wasn’t behind Saban coming to his senses after weeks of not realizing he was doomed to fail anyway. The SEC could lose all control over this if the NCAA grabs the reins and rules that transfers cannot be locked unreasonably (and this one truly was indefensible given the hypocrisy already on full display.) It wasn’t just Bama and Saban that was being skewered nationally, it reinforced the SEC’s image as a heartless bully. I am sure Birmingham got plenty of calls from members of the national media, as well as other SEC presidents and ADs who realized the conference was on the wrong side of this one. I feel they were safe with blocking undergrads’ requests but when the SA has reached what academicians consider the goal of young people entering college they didn’t understand why the control period was over…..I didn’t either.

  10. Cojones

    New twist to an old joke: Saban walks into the vet’s office with a UGA-collared bulldog humping his leg and asks, “Can you do something about this?” The vet replied, “Yeah, I guess we can castrate him.”, to which Saban replied, “Oh no, just trim his nails and do something about his breath.”

    Let the fun begin.

  11. If scholarships were for 4 years then I would support a rule not allowing transfer inside the conference but since scholarships are year to year the SA should be able to transfer where they please upon graduating early

  12. South FL Dawg

    Who makes an “SEC rule” anyway? Isn’t it coaches and AD’s? The reality of this is that the rule exists because the coaches want it to; they’ve formally agreed they’re not going to recruit each other’s graduates who have eligibility left. Then in case they ever want the scholly for somebody else they put in a clause giving themselves the right to waive the rule. They put the SEC commissioner in the middle to make sure nobody gets out of line and tries to recruit a guy in conference.

    Meanwhile the commissioner would just as soon not have to babysit who is recruiting who.

    Back to Saban, I bet he thought Smart was out of line speaking to the media about how he would let a graduate go anywhere. He wanted Sankey to stop the transfer according to the agreement the coaches made. So Sankey then put some conditions on the transfer to appease Nicky.

    Clearly the commissioner doesn’t support the rule and doesn’t want to be made out to be the bad guy.

    • Cojones

      They didn’t call the coaches in to ask them before voting, did they? Phone calls or whatever, this decision wasn’t made in a coaches vacuum. And the administration at the SEC surely touched bases with others before their input to Sankey. This decision has been made with the blessing of most coaches, ADs and school Presidents.