The Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting opens Tuesday in Destin, Florida, the familiar and idyllic setting that has hosted conference administrators, football and basketball coaches for decades.
But there is change wafting in on the sea breezes coming off the Gulf of Mexico, change that starts at the top.
Commissioner Mike Slive is presiding over his final meeting after serving as commissioner since July 2002. The 74-year-old Slive, often referred to as the most powerful man in college athletics, will step down July 31 with executive associate commissioner Greg Sankey set to replace him.
Though Sankey’s selection is already set, a number of issues and topics of conference-wide and local interest will be on the agenda this week:
- SEC NETWORK REVENUE: Last year, SEC schools split a record $309.6 million in revenue with the SEC office, each school getting $16.8 million plus about another $1.5 million each in bowl revenue. It was the 25th straight year the SEC has seen a revenue increase.
This year, revenue is expected to increase significantly as schools realize profits for the first time from the now nine-month old SEC Network. In February, South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner reportedly said SEC schools could realize about $5 million each in the network’s first year.
- COST OF ATTENDANCE: Starting this fall, the NCAA will allow schools to pay a stipend to student-athletes to make up the difference between the value of a full scholarship and the so-called full cost of attendance.
But because of different financial factors at each school, the amount of the stipend each school is allowed to offer is not the same.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the amount of stipend allowed among the 14 SEC schools varies from $5,666 at Tennessee to $2,284 at Kentucky. LSU comes in ninth at $3,096. LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva is concerned the difference may put his school at a recruiting disadvantage.
- SATELLITE CAMPS: The SEC may consider changing its rule to allow coaches to participate in camps more than 50 miles from their campus, or put forward NCAA legislation to eliminate satellite camps completely. Coaches from other regions of the country have been serving as guest coaches at camps in the talent-rich SEC footprint more frequently, putting the SEC at a perceived recruiting disadvantage.
The SEC is also expected to consider a rule change that would allow its schools to accept graduate transfers from student-athletes who ran into off-the-field issues at their previous school.
It’s a rule that’s believed to have cost SEC schools a shot at Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who recently transferred to Florida State.
- LSU-TEXAS A&M GAME: Alleva said he hopes to find out the date of LSU’s Thanksgiving weekend home game with Texas A&M during this week’s meeting when SEC schools meet with representatives from CBS and ESPN.
The game could be played Friday, Nov. 27 or Saturday, Nov. 28, but Alleva said LSU has rebuffed TV network requests to play Thanksgiving day.
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