The Southeastern Conference annual spring meetings are happening now in Florida, and some big issues have been discussed by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and the representatives from each institution. A lot of stories tend to come out of these meetings, so I thought aggregating them into one place would be helpful.
Muschamp doesn’t want to play FCS teams
When Florida coach Will Muschamp took the stand at the meetings, he used some of his time to talk about the Gator schedule. His preference is to play an 8-game SEC schedule, a game against in-state rival Florida State, and three other FBS teams. Muschamp cited both making it into the brand-new College Football Playoff as well as giving the fans a better experience for his reasons, though you have to wonder if the embarrassment of losing to FCS school Georgia Southern played a part as well. The subject was brought up because of a new rule for SEC teams that requires the teams to play a non-conference game against a team from one of the other “Big 5″ conferences — which only three SEC teams managed to do in 2013. Not playing FCS schools will give us a lot more close non-conference games instead of the 60-point blowouts we see a lot in September, but it will also take away those shocking upsets that we all love to see, like Appalachian State over Michigan.
Agents advising student-athletes to leave early
Slive also touched on the subject of the relationship between players and agents, which he says doesn’t allow players the best information on whether to stay in school for their fourth year. As it is now, a player cannot have an agreement with an agent and remain eligible to play his last season. Because of this, they are forced into making a decision earlier than they might normally, and at that point they can’t come back. A record number of players went into the draft as underclassmen this season, and Slive thinks that a new rule could help them get the information they need on their NFL prospects without signing their eligibility away.
Autonomy in the legislative process
Conferences want to be able to decide the legislative process that will help them make the best decisions for schools and their student athletes, including health care and scholarships. The current proposal would require a 2/3 vote of the 65 schools in the power conferences, and Slive thinks that threshold won’t be good for the SEC and is urging the conference to draft its own proposal. Something could come after the spring meetings, but don’t expect anything in the very near future.