SEC meetings notebook: League not recession-proof


Published: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 5:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 5:23 p.m.

Despite all the money that will be coming into the league starting next year with two lucrative, new 15-year television contracts, Mike Slive says the SEC is not recession-proof, as some might think.

"I don't think anyone is. There is no safe harbor," the SEC commissioner said at the league's spring meetings. "We're included in all that. There is not anybody in America who is not impacted by this recession."

Slive said the league's 12 athletic directors will be discussing possible ways to reduce costs this week.

"We're aware of what other conferences have done," he said. "We'll discuss whether it's necessary for the conference to adopt policy or whether each institution can deal with these matters on their own campus, which they have been doing. It's a question whether the conference wants to do anything uniform."

Slive addresses coaches

Slive delivered his "no more smack talk" speech to all the league's coaches Wednesday. By all accounts, it was an impassioned and very clear message that he sent.

"You know what Mike's goals are for this league with all the work he's put in to get this league doing the right thing and focusing on the right thing," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. "He showed true leadership. It was obvious what he expects out of this league. He made it right on clear what his expectations are."

Slive said he started feeling compelled to stem the recent trend that was started when Tennessee football Lane Kiffin called UF's Urban Meyer a cheater. Meyer, as it turned out, had not violated an NCAA or SEC rule and Kiffin apologized to the league, UF and Meyer.

Slive said Wednesday he has the power to reprimand and fine coaches who break the league's code of conduct that was drawn up in 2004.

Forget early singing date

As it usually does at the spring meetings, the early signing period in football has become a popular topic. There have been some discussions among the football coaches about the pros and cons, but Slive basically said the debate is a waste of time because there is no chance of one becoming reality any time soon.

"The last time we voted at the CCA (College Commission Association), it was 17-4 against," Slive said. "We were opposed to the early signing period and I don't think that's going to change."

Demps for Heisman?

UF football coach Urban Meyer was asked if it's too risky for tailback Jeff Demps to continue playing football because it could hinder his promising track career. Meyer responded by saying Demps' future is in football.

"No question, it's in his best interest to play football," he said. "My personal opinion is he has a better future in football. I don't know much about track. I do know a lot about football and functional speed, and what he did as a true freshman has not been done very often.

"I want to do what's best for him, but he certainly has a future in football. He's not a track guy playing football."

Someone pointed out that Demps came close to making the Olympic team in the 100-meter dash last summer.

"He could be a Heisman winner, too," Meyer said.

The international draw

Nick Calathes' decision to sign a lucrative contract with a professional team in Greece has made it obvious that the NBA is no longer the only threat to lure underclassmen away from school. The pull is from around the world now, Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

"Our sport is totally different than any other sport that's being played," he said. "There are more opportunities to make money in the game of basketball around the world. You could go to Japan. You could go to Greece. You could go to the Philippines. You could go to Russia. You can go anywhere in the world and play and make a living.

"A lot of these kids are getting a chance to do something they love. Kids are saying they've got a seven- or eight-year window to really make some quality money and do something they want. I think we're having a lot of kids making these type of business decisions a lot earlier."

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