2013 SEC Spring Meetings notes – Days 1-2

By Adam Silverstein
May 30, 2013

The Southeastern Conference is currently holding the 2013 SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, FL with head coaches, athletic directors and presidents representing each school in attendance to discuss a number of league and national issues over the course of the week from Tuesday-Friday. Below are some notes from the first two days:

Quotes and information below attributed to Yahoo! Sports, the Associated Press, The Birmingham News, the Orlando Sentinel and The Gainesville Sun.

» Alabama head coach Nick Saban told a media contingent that Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley both apologized to him following remarks made by offensive line coach Tim Davis recently at a Gator Gathering in Melbourne, FL. Despite saying he was hurt by Davis’s words and even responding to a handful of questions about the “devil himself” comment the week it was said, Saban now says “it’s nothing to get too upset about” and that what Davis said “is not a reflection of the University of Florida, Will Muschamp or the program.” Late Wednesday, Muschamp added that he “was very disappointed” with Davis’s comments and confirmed that both he (Muschamp) and Foley had spoken with Saban. Muschamp also said he spoke with Davis and did not think his words were “reflective of his true opinion” of Saban. Hopefully this is no longer a topic of conversation.

» SEC commissioner Mike Slive, on Tuesday, said the league’s athletic directors voted unanimously (14-0) to explore assigning a “primary” host site to the conference’s men’s basketball tournament. With the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA already the permanent host of the football championship and Regions Park in Hoover, AL serving as the permanent host of the baseball tournament, the league feels a “primary” (read: not permanent) host site is needed for basketball at the very least. The Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN is already scheduled to host three of the next six tournaments and seems to be an early favorite to potentially become a primary host site.


» Former NCAA Tournament seeding guru Greg Shaheen has been hired by the SEC to help the men’s basketball programs improve their non-conference scheduling. The SEC wants more teams in the tournament each year and believes Shaheen can help. Slive also got the athletic directors to agree to submit their respective non-conference schedules for league review.

» With the new College Football Playoff just one full season away, one of the most important steps in making the agreement a reality is coming up with a selection committee that will choose the four teams to compete in the playoff. Slive said that he has asked each school’s athletic director to submit two names to him for potential committee members. Foley explained Wednesday that he had already done just that. “[I submitted] people who know the game of college football. People who are willing to put the time in. This will be a very labor-intensive exercise,” he said.

» One major topic of conversation has been the SEC moving to nine conference football games each year, which would improve teams’ strength of schedule while simultaneously creating a more balanced schedule for each team. Unfortunately for the league, only one program seems to be in favor of the move at this time, Alabama. Saban has been outspoken about the issue and was the only vote for nine games as the league’s coaches voted the measure down 13-1 on Wednesday. Coaches as a whole know that the move to nine games will eventually happen though many – especially those with an annual top-tier non-conference opponent (like Florida facing FSU at the conclusion of the season) – do not want it to occur just yet. “It’s going to be driven by the dollar and having those games are going to be important,” Muschamp said.

» Head coach Les Miles and LSU continued to speak out about their distaste for permanent cross-division opponents, claiming that having to play Florida every season puts them at a disadvantage compared to a team like Alabama that is matched up with Tennessee (which has been in the lower half of the league in recent years). It does not appear that the games are disappearing any time soon, which is perfectly fine with Muschamp and the Gators. “We think it’s a great game for us and a great game for college football,” Foley said. “Yeah, it’s a tough game, but we’ve got a lot of tough games in the SEC.” The alternative to the permanent cross-division opponent (under an eight-game league schedule) would be two annually-rotating cross-division opponents. Muschamp said he believes the 6-2 format is more fair but does enjoy the rivalry game as part of the 6-1-1 format.

» No matter what scheduling changes are eventually put into effect years from now, Foley was adamant on Wednesday that Florida had no plans to get rid of its annual in-state rivalry game against Florida State. In other words, if a nine-game SEC schedule was adopted, the Gators would have 10 tough games automatically set in stone each year before filling in the other two spots. “Certainly, the Florida State game is important to us. I don’t see that changing,” Foley said. Restarting a series with Miami (or playing the team once in a while at least) is not a conversation topic for Florida at this time, however. “You never say never but that’s not high on the agenda right now,” Foley said. “You’ve got too many other issues. For me to sit here and say we’ll do that right now down the road, there’s too many unknowns with scheduling right now.”

» Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan held court on Wednesday and discussed a number of topics, including whether or not Rutgers transfer guard Eli Carter will be granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately. Donovan said he has not “heard one way or another” about Carter just yet, though OGGOA has been told that the coaching staff is optimistic he will receive the waiver due to the coaching situation at Carter’s former school.

» Donovan also addressed the academic qualifying status of five-star freshmen point guard Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) and power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL). He said he is “keeping my fingers crossed” about both freshmen, just like he always does, but admitted that Walker is really the one to worry about. “He’s got to take care of his responsibilities and do his work,” Donovan said. “I don’t know what his transcript looks like. His final grades haven’t been posted. That’s going to be something he’s going to have to apply for admission. Until we find out, we’re really not allowed to say.” OGGOA has learned that the team is internally worried about Walker’s ability to pass through the NCAA Clearinghouse.

» Donovan went into greater detail on the 180-degree turn pulled off by guard/forward DeVon Walker, who first decided to leave the program only to rescind his decision to transfer days later. The coach explained that the player was being pulled in different directions by people in his life and had to stop and make a decision for himself. “I think in my conversation, what DeVon wanted to know more than anything else, am I really going to have a chance to grow, am I going to have a chance to develop, am I going to have a chance to play. I think the answer to all those things is, yes,” Donovan said.

One Comment

  1. Michael Jones says:

    I can’t believe that Davis has had to be called out onto the carpet for those remarks. Huge overreaction.

    As much as I like the LSU game, Miles is right. 6-2 with alternating cross division opponents is a lot fairer than the current system. Besides, traditionally speaking, Auburn is much more of an age-old rival to UF than LSU is. I can remember classic battles with Auburn all the way back to my childhood.

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