SBD/July 17, 2013/Colleges

SEC's Mike Slive Calls On NCAA To Better Address Issues Facing College Athletics

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Slive questioned whether members need all of the services provided by the NCAA
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive yesterday "outlined specific questions that must be answered within the NCAA, including calling into question the role of the NCAA board of directors," according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. Slive, speaking at his address to kick off SEC Media Days, said that determining the "proper role, function, composition and size of the board of directors should be addressed." Slive also "questioned whether members need all of the services provided by the NCAA office and wants streamlined NCAA committee processes." Slive "maintained support for the NCAA to play a role in governing sports." But he said that "new visions are necessary because college sports has grown to become such an important part of the American culture, not only of education." Slive during an interview after the speech would "not specify what changes he would like to see with the board of directors structure." Rather, he said that the NCAA's "ongoing review of its governance structure should be realistic, include all constituents and the NCAA should decide what the nature of the board should be" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 7/17). Slive asked, "What changes need to be made to the NCAA structure to provide significant roles for the stakeholders, the presidents, chancellors, athletic directors, institutional administrators, conference administrators, and coaches? What is the proper role, function and composition and size of the NCAA Board of Directors? Do we need all of the services provided by the NCAA's national office, its many committees and task forces, or are some of these services better provided elsewhere?" (ESPN.com, 7/16).

SUPER TUESDAY
: USA TODAY's George Schroeder notes although Slive did "not explicitly refer to a 'super division' involving the largest conferences in the Bowl Subdivision (FBS), he questioned the scope and makeup of the organization's board of directors and pointed to issues like recruiting rules and full cost of attendance scholarships." Slive said, "We have supported and continue to support the NCAA as the appropriate governing organization for intercollegiate athletics. But at the same time, however, we will continue to push for changes we believe are in the best interest of our student-athletes." He also cited "lack of progress in refining and streamlining recruiting rules, which he called 'at home in the era of Johann Gutenberg's printing press'" (USA TODAY, 7/17). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman noted Slive "disputed that major conferences are seriously considering breaking off from the NCAA." He said, "I hear that a lot, but I have never been in a meeting with my colleagues where that issue has really been on the table. I think I do speak for my colleagues when they say they all want the NCAA to be an effective organization" (WSJ.com, 7/16). In Baton Rouge, Scott Rabalais notes Slive "endorsed paying stipends to student-athletes," but he did "not go into specifics on the issue that threatens to divide the NCAA along class lines between wealthy BCS-level schools and hundreds of small-budget institutions." Slive said, "The NCAA has not been successful in meeting the full cost of attendance for our student-athletes. Conferences and their member institutions must be allowed to meet the needs of their student-athletes" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 7/17).

NOBODY'S PERFECT: CBSSPORTS.com's Tony Barnhart wrote Slive yesterday "threw down a subtle, but effective, gauntlet" to the NCAA. His message was that it is "time for you to lead and bring about the change that is needed in college athletics." If not, it is "probably time for the conferences to step in and make the changes on their own" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/16). In St. Louis, Dave Matter notes Slive also challenged the NCAA to "take on a stronger role in addressing concussions -- a topic the SEC tackled last year with the formation of a working group of school trainers, doctors and professors" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/17). In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz notes Slive "didn't merely gloat about the conference's string of national championships." He addressed the "mounting problems in the NCAA" and "pointed a finger at himself" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 7/17).

END OF AN ERA? Slive said of possible retirement, "It comes to mind only because my contract comes to term next summer so I’ve been asked a lot about it and I said, you know after a busy year and a busy several years with expansion and the network, I want to take the summer and relax and be with my family including my new granddaughter. And then sometime during the next six to eight months, we’ll figure it out. And I do remind people that it takes two to make this decision. It’s not an unilateral decision by me" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 7/16). In Memphis, Kyle Veazey cites a source as saying that there is "at least some internal urging for Slive to stay around through the first year of the new SEC television network, which is set to debut in 2014-15." However, it "wouldn’t be surprising for this year, with expansion turbulence seemingly past and TV riches secured, to be the one in which Slive decides to call it a career -- and the one in which the league is faced with a future without a man who has meant so much to it" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 7/17).

PLANNING AHEAD: SEC Exec Associate Commissioner Mark Womack yesterday said that the conference is "eyeing affiliation with about 10 or 11 bowls beginning in 2014, counting games within the new College Football Playoff structure." The BIRMINGHAM NEWS' Solomon noted one "X-factor is trying to predict how many SEC teams will play annually in the six bowls that are part of the rotating playoff format." Currently, the BCS "caps representatives in its lucrative games at two per conference, but that cap disappears when the playoff arrives in 2014" (AL.com, 7/16). Meanwhile, the POST-DISPATCH's Matter notes SEC Network will "feature a two-hour on-site pregame football show every Saturday from a different SEC campus" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/17).
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