Heard in SEC Halls: Day 3


Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive talks with reporters during SEC Media Days.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 3:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 3:24 p.m.

HOOVER, Ala. — It was time for an unscheduled break, but Mike Slive had to go. Kathryn Switzer, the executive assistant to the commissioner, waited outside the restroom at the Hyatt Regency with her iPad in her folded arms. “We’ve done over 50 interviews,” she said. “We probably have 25 more over the next two days.” Slive by far is the most requested interviewee during SEC Media Days. He makes the same tour the coaches do to different ballrooms on the first day and tours Radio Row. Almost all of the requests for his time are done on site rather than ahead of time. For Switzer, this is her 13th year ushering the commissioner from one microphone to the next. Not that anyone is getting anything in the way of breaking news as Slive is giving them the same stuff about autonomy, the SEC Network and the success of the league. “I don’t need any notes,” he said.

*Imagine a really crowded cocktail party. That’s what the main hallway looks like at SEC Media Days. While coaches and players are being interviewed in various ballrooms, it’s amazing how many people appear to be doing nothing but making small talk. In reality, that’s one of the beauties of this event. It’s a reunion of sorts for media members who all gather once a year. Some of it is catching up on families, but a lot of it is getting a feel for what’s really going on with each program.

*The two biggest stories for the hacks in Hoover involve things that are not here. First, the league has decided to go completely digital with media guides. So instead of seeing members of the media lugging a box with 15 media guides (14 schools plus the league guide) out of the credential room, they were all given a flash drive. Second, no Golden Flake. Usually, there has been a display with stacks of chips in the main hallway. (A lot of writers had to lick off the orange from the barbecue chips before they started typing in the past). But Golden Flakes is no longer an SEC sponsor so — no chips for you.

*Justin Connolly, an ESPN executive vice president, gave a formal and dry presentation in the main media room about the SEC Network, then stepped out into the main hallway and was swarmed by reporters. He didn’t say anything we didn’t already know there either, but there were SEC officials watching him because they knew this was his first experience like this. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel asked Connolly why the network didn’t bring their golden boy employee, Tim Tebow. “If we brought Tim to everything he was requested for, he’d never get any sleep,” Connolly said.

*From the Learn Something New Every Day Dept., Knoxville radio personality Jimmy Hyams related the story at lunch of how Media Days came to be. Some of you know there used to be a Skywriters’ Tour (it included The Sun’s Jack Hairston) with writers who used to go from SEC city to SEC city to do their summer previews. “In 1984, because of the Olympics, they couldn’t get enough guys to go,” Hyams said. “So they had a one-year hiatus and in 1985 they started Media Days.” So there you have it.

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