There's more to this week's SEC Spring Meetings in Florida than a coaching spat | David Whitley

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun
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DESTIN — The SEC is gathering in Destin this week to discuss the momentous issues facing college athletics, like whether Jimbo Fisher will slide a whoopee cushion onto Nick Saban’s chair. Getting away with it will take elaborate planning.

“Candidly, it’s really hard to understand all those areas because they’re just such a complex set of scenarios,” Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said.

Well, he didn’t exactly say that about the whoopee cushion.

Stricklin said it about NIL, overhauling the schedule and how to save nonrevenue sports from extinction. All of those will be addressed at the SEC Spring Meetings, but that’s not why TMZ reporters might be lurking behind potted plants at the Hilton Sandestin this week.

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The tabloid world wants to know whether Fisher and Saban will go mano a mano during Tuesday’s football coaches' meeting. Sadly, I fear what happens in that ballroom will stay in that ballroom.

Commissioner Greg Sankey will instruct everybody to play nice and act like grown-ups. The public relations staff might stage a photo with Saban and Fisher amiably chatting as they get poolside massages from Mizzou coach Eli Drinkwitz.

Everybody will stick to the weighty issues in what should be one of the more interesting Destin meetings. They haven’t been held in three years due to COVID. The last one dealt with such things as cost-of-attendance legislation and one-time transfer rules.

 “These seem like antiquated notions now,” Stricklin said.

The world has been turned upside down the past two years, and it’s driving some coaches crazy. There really are more consequential things on the agenda than Jimbo vs. Nick. But if that complex little scenario erupts, all the better. ...

People can learn something from the Michelob Ultra Guy

Stud of the Week: Mark Radetic. He’s a CPA from Missouri who was photographed holding a Michelob Ultra as he watched Tiger Woods hit a shot at the PGA Championship. The other 50 or so people behind Tiger were holding cellphones to take pictures or videos.

The photo went viral, and Anheuser-Busch has turned it into a marketing campaign. Radetic, aka “The Michelob Ultra Guy,” will never have to pay for another cold one. Moral of the story: Stop staring at your phone and live in the moment. ...

Florida kicking recruit Trey Smack has enrolled for the summer semester. The Gators thought they’d secured the most appropriately named kicker in last year’s class, but UCF has signed Colton Boomer. As good as Smack and Boomer are, I’m partial to FSU kicker Joe McWideRight. ...

Lakers legend James Worthy said of today’s NBA players: “All they do is practice 3s, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media.”

Kevin Durant responded, “I haven’t lifted a weight in my life." ...

The SEC honchos will be discussing potential football schedules and deciding on three permanent rivals that teams will play every year. Florida would undoubtedly get Georgia, then maybe Tennessee, Auburn or South Carolina. Vanderbilt will get Kentucky and two bye weeks. ...

Texas A&M’s baseball team taped a picture of Jimbo Fisher in the dugout before Friday’s game against Alabama. After the Aggies beat the Tide 12-8, Nick Saban accused them of corking their aluminum bats. ...

NIL Madness: The Michelob Ultra Guy has announced he’s entering the transfer portal and will start drinking Old Milwaukee. ...

Breaking SEC Meetings News: Vince McMahon was just spotted having a mai-tai with Greg Sankey. Maybe there’s hope yet for a Saban-Fisher pay-per-view…

NBA Update: The Pelicans have cleared Zion Williamson, who missed most of last season with a foot injury, to resume practicing 3s, lifting weights, getting tattoos and going on social media. ...

Due to a global shortage of helium, Nebraska is suspending its tradition of releasing red balloons after the first touchdown of home games. Instead, Cornhusker fans will start waving white flags after the opponent scores. ...

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Until next time, stop staring at your phone and enjoy the moment. You never know how that could pay off.

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley

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