DESTIN, Fla. — New Florida football coach Jim McElwain wanted to coach former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson instead of having to scheme against him.

“I don’t want to play against him, but we’re gonna,” McElwain said Tuesday.

Golson picked Florida State and highlighted an issue many Southeastern Conference coaches have about the league’s graduate transfer rule.

The rule requires transfers to have two years of eligibility remaining and a waiver for any player attempting to transfer after being disciplined at his previous school, as was the case for Golson.

Alabama coach Nick Saban argued the rule puts the SEC at a disadvantage.

“It’s a disadvantage to be able to recruit a player in one league and not be able to do it in another,” he said. “These things need to be global. Otherwise, we’re going to become a farm system for all the other leagues.”

Outgoing SEC Commissioner Mike Slive didn’t come down on whether the conference should keep or change the rule, only that it’s a longstanding one.

“We had the rule long before we got here,” he said. “We’ve lost sight of the fact it’s an old rule.”

Expect the debate to continue this week here at the SEC Spring Meeting, which runs through Friday.

The Florida job? Yes, please

Former Louisiana Tech men’s basketball coach and Jesuit High grad Michael White was asked whether he looked at the Florida roster before accepting the job to replace Billy Donovan, now with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

“No,” White said quickly. “It was not a factor. I knew I wanted it if offered. I knew I would jump at it.”

White said he’s still learning the Gators roster, something he has been helped by in conversations with Donovan.

“Coach Donovan was gracious enough to reach out on a few occasions,” White said. “Those conversations have been really beneficial in helping me understand our support system and current roster.”

To that end, White said he brought some homework with him to Destin.

“We’ve been busy with so many other things (that) I got our operations guy to print out the season box score last night that I plan to read tonight or tomorrow,” he said.

SEC Network bounty

Slive said the SEC Network planned to show 1,000 events between its television network and online in its first year, which began Aug. 14. To date, Slive said the network has aired about 1,400 events.

“We’re off to an auspicious start,” said Slive, who said the network has 65 million subscribers nationwide.

The network’s financial impact for the conference is likely to be revealed this week. South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner said he hopes the network will mean an additional $5 million per school in this first year.

Undercover football

Florida and Georgia are in the process of completing indoor football practice facilities. Surprisingly, they’re the last two SEC schools to build them.

“I’m from Montana,” McElwain said. “I’m just excited to have a roof over my head.”

The Gators move indoors in September, while Georgia is expected to break ground after this season.


Two-time NCAA champion gymnast and Baton Rouge native Rheagan Courville and LSU swimming record holder Frank Greef were LSU’s nominees for the Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Each will receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship. … Beginning this fall, Slive said the SEC will have an “independent medical observer” in the press box at football games, with the intent to help teams monitor concussion-type injuries that might otherwise be missed. That observer will have the authority to rule a player out for that game. … Rosalyn Durant has been promoted by ESPN to senior vice president for college networks, including the SEC Network. Durant, who was in attendance Tuesday, replaces Justin Connolly, who was promoted to another position at ESPN.

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.