SEC Commissioner Slive describes future for SEC, calls for NCAA reform



SEC Commissioner Mike Slive voiced his support for NCAA reform during the 2014 SEC Media Days in Hoover, Al. (CW File)

Sean Landry

“As I have said before, if we do not achieve a positive outcome under the existing big tent of Division I, we will need to consider the establishment of a venue with similar conferences and institutions where we can enact the desired changes in the best interest of our student-athletes,” Slive said.

Slive drew on a number of voices from the past to describe his vision for the future of college football in his opening address to the 2014 SEC Media Days.

He quoted figures from Muhammad Ali to Winston Churchill while touching on the conference’s academic and athletic performance, scheduling developments and stance on NCAA reform – all after wishing his wife a happy 46th wedding anniversary.

Slive commenced the media festival with what he described as his “annual SEC brag bag,” excusing his boasting with the first of many historical citations.

“As Muhammad Ali said, ‘It’s not bragging if you can back it up,’” he said.

Part of Slive’s honor roll included commendations for Alabama’s national champion men’s golf team and runner-up softball team. The commissioner recognized Alabama gymnast Kim Jacob for winning the Honda Cup, which is given to the top female student-athlete in the nation.

Slive described his vision for the SEC in 2014 and beyond.

“What we do today, how we handle our successes and meet our challenges will determine the SEC of tomorrow,” he said.

Slive opened his enumeration of changes to the conference by addressing rules on scheduling for the regular season and post-season.

“In May, we announced we will continue with the current eight-game conference schedule,” Slive said. “To strengthen our non-conference scheduling each team is required to play at least one non-conference team from either the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 or the PAC-12 on an ?annual basis.”

Slive also described a new format for bowl game assignments. The Sugar Bowl retains its traditional claim on the top SEC team not contending for a national championship, in some years followed in priority by the Orange Bowl. The Capital One Bowl, played annually in Orlando, Florida, will be the next and final bowl permitted to select its SEC participant annually. The SEC will then assign each of its bowl-eligible teams to one of the Belk Bowl, the Autozone Liberty Bowl, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the TaxSlayer Bowl and the AdvoCare ?Texas Bowl.

Slive closed his speech by voicing his support for changes to the NCAA model of collegiate athletics, including scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance, support for athletes beyond their playing years and expanded medical support for student-athletes.

“We are not deaf to the din of discontent across collegiate athletics that has dominated the news,” he said.