Slive, SEC slap Urban Meyer with $30K fine

By Adam Silverstein
November 6, 2009

For his comments about Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nick Williams‘ blindside hit on Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow that were made during a Wednesday Southeastern Conference phone call with reporters, head coach Urban Meyer has been fined $30,000 by commissioner Mike Slive.

What did Meyer say that was so blasphemous?

“I’m not sure I’m allowed to give you that, what they said,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to step out of line. Once again, I’ve always had great confidence in [SEC officials]. That should have been a penalty in my opinion. You’ve got to protect quarterbacks. That’s the whole purpose. It’s right in front of the referee. But once again I have great [respect for the SEC officials]. I’m not sure how they’re going to handle that, but we do send it in and that was one of the plays we did send in.”

He barely seems to bend (let alone break) the SEC bylaw being enforced.

SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 requires that coaches, assistant coaches, players, support personnel and others associated with the institution’s athletics program refrain from public criticism of officials.

Head coaches are advised that suspensions and fines for violations of Bylaw 10.5.4 made by assistant coaches or other support personnel will be enforced against the head coach.

“Coach Meyer has violated the Southeastern Conference Code of Ethics,” Slive said Friday. “SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 clearly states that the coaches, players and support personnel shall refrain from public criticism of officials. The league’s Athletics Directors and Presidents and Chancellors have made it clear that negative public comments on officiating are not acceptable.”

In this particular instance, Meyer did not publicly criticize the officials, which is what the rule is about. Meyer did make a comment about the play, but he did not criticize. He went out of his way to ensure this by actually propping up SEC officiating twice. There is a HUGE difference between what Tennessee Volunteers head coach Lane Kiffin said (questioning the integrity of the conference and its officiating) and Meyer’s innocuous comment following-up on a reporter’s question.

“As I stated last week, I have great respect for Commissioner Mike Slive and the Southeastern Conference and I respect this decision,” Meyer responded. “There was no intent to criticize an official after being asked about a situation that occurred last Saturday, and I apologize for my remarks.”

Even so, Slive had no choice but to levy the fined. Not because Meyer violated the rule (he didn’t), but because Slive’s hands were tied. He couldn’t suspend Meyer because that would have been absurd. Yet he could not refrain from giving Meyer any punishment because he had to enforce a rule that was only five days old at the time. Meyer was strictly a victim of circumstance.

11 Comments

  1. Brittany says:

    I agree, this is a weak fine but a fine that had to be handed out.

  2. O-town Gator says:

    As ridiculous as it seems, Slive really had no choice; he had already stated publicly that fines and /or suspensions would be handed out and would appear insincere if he weither did nothing or recanted on his stance.

    NOW let’s see what Lane Kiffin has to say (LOL)………

  3. I wouldn’t say the fine is “weak.” They’re not going to fine the guy six figures. The fact that he was fined in the first place is weak…but as I said above and O-town just agreed with – Slive’s hands were tied.

  4. Brittany says:

    That’s what I’m saying, the fact that he was fined is weak. And I agree that Slive’s hands were tied.

  5. UPDATED story with statements from Slive and Meyer.

  6. Dave says:

    Big deal. Move on.

  7. O-town Gator says:

    “Dr. Saturday” wrote a very good article about all this absurdity concerning officiating at Yahoo Sports; it’s recommended reading.

    What really baffles me is why all this uproar over sub-par officiating in college football is surfacing this year; where was the scrutiny back in 2003 after “The Swindle in the Swamp”? Many of the questionable calls pale in comparison to what Jack Childress & Co. had done that day in November 2003; yet Childress and his crew weren’t penalized for a terrible job.

  8. You can go ahead and post the link…

  9. Daniel M. says:

    Hmmmm, I’m shocked! I don’t care how much bank you make, fining Meyer 30k for those comments is outrageous. I strongly disagree with him being fined after going out of his way to make complimentary comments prior to saying he thought it was a penalty. 10k would have been much more appropriate if a fine had to be levied.

    The generally tight lipped Meyer will be impossible now.

    I guess the upside of this will be that Kiffin will shut his pie hole. Maybe.

    Meyer got JOBBED!

  10. ReptilesRule says:

    Ok everybody, lets pass the collection plate! HAHA

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