SEC spring meetings talking points: Rules, playoffs, beer

Posted by JOSH KENDALL on May 23, 2014 

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier

JEFF BLAKE — jblake@thestate.com

What presidents, athletics directors and coaches will be talking about at the SEC meetings that start on Tuesday in Destin, Fla. (Follow Josh Kendall's coverage of the meetings here at GoGamecocks.com)

NCAA RESTRUCTURING

“Autonomy” will be SEC commissioner Mike Slive’s buzz word this week. The Big (Budget) Five conferences are on the verge of being able to make up their own rules. The final NCAA vote on the matter will be taken in late August, but almost everyone expects it to pass. so SEC presidents, athletics directors and coaches will spend a lot of time this week talking about what this newfound freedom will look like. The major conferences want to add more money to the value of scholarships and address other athlete welfare issues such as insurance. The looming question, though, is: What else might they decide they want with more power?

CFB PLAYOFF

It’s finally here. The BCS officially is a part of college football’s past. The national champion this season will be determined by a four-team playoff, and it’s time for the football coaches to start worrying about how they qualify. The final four teams will be picked by a selection committee working under vague guidelines. Expect the football coaches to ask what committee members are looking for: Margin of victory? Strength of schedule?

OVERSIGHT

Two congressmen sent a letter last week asking NCAA commissioner Mark Emmert to answer questions about the organization’s commitment to its athletes’ academics, according to USA Today. Emmert was asked to respond by June 9, which also is when the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA is set to begin. As the big boys get ready to go on their own and spend more, nobody in the SEC or any conference wants more oversight, and it would be a good idea to spend some time getting out in front of the issue.

SELLING SUDS

USC AD Ray Tanner is not eager to start selling beer at Williams-Brice Stadium, but there are some athletic directors, most notably LSU’s Joe Alleva, who think it’s the way of the future. Tanner and USC president Harris Pastides have had preliminary conversations, and the league’s presidents and ADs are expected to discuss it more this week.

TITLE DROUGHT

For the first time since 2006, an SEC team is not preparing to defend the national title in football. Florida State snapped the league’s run of seven straight championships by beating Auburn 34-31 in the Rose Bowl in January. Now Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia or South Carolina will be expected to win back the SEC’s honor.

Josh Kendall

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