HOOVER, Ala. — LSU’s contingent at the annual Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting this week in Destin, Florida, will be notable for its newcomers.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed Saturday that football coach Ed Orgeron will be traveling to Florida in the wake of his wife Kelly’s back surgery last week in California.
Orgeron missed the Tiger Tour stop Thursday night in Thibodaux to remain with his wife while she recovered.
The spring meeting begins Tuesday and runs through Friday at the Sandestin Hilton, where attendance is typically mandatory for football and men’s and women’s basketball coaches. Orgeron attended the spring meeting as Ole Miss’ football coach from 2005-07.
LSU senior quarterback Danny Etling, coming off his own recent back surgery following LSU’s spring game in April, is scheduled to be one of eight SEC football and basketball players there to represent their fellow student-athletes on what the conference is referring to as a “leadership council.”
According to SEC spokesman Herb Vincent, the members of the leadership council won’t be part of the voting process but will give SEC presidents and athletic directors their perspective on a variety of issues pertaining to the student-athlete experience.
Also attending his first spring meeting will be new LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade, who was hired in March. Women’s basketball coach Nikki Fargas will also be there.
Among the issues that men's basketball coaches will be hearing about is the implementation of collaborative instant replay for their sport. Similar to the process in football, the conference plans to augment courtside reviews by game officials with a command center at SEC headquarters in Birmingham.
"It just doesn't seem the healthiest way," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said of the current instant replay process for basketball. "There's a replay, they stop, walk over. Can they move that along more quickly? Can they identify the correct outcome in a more efficient way?"
Wade has been looking to infuse his LSU roster with transfers from other schools heading into his first season. In that vein, the SEC is set to engage in deep discussions in Destin over graduate transfer policies as they relate to those from inside and outside the conference.
"This will be the first meaningful conversation that we've had since the proliferation of graduate transfers has happened nationally," Sankey said. "I expect our membership to have a pretty meaningful (dialog) about the right perspective on graduate transfers entering the SEC from outside and then the topic of inter-conference transfers."
SEC leaders are also expected to continue discussion on expanding the sale of beer and alcohol in their stadiums.
LSU has been on the forefront of attempts to loosen SEC rules which currently limit alcoholic beverages to suite and club seat areas. Athletic director Joe Alleva recently talked about the possibility of creating a sports bar area beneath the south stands of Tiger Stadium where old unused dormitories have been demolished.
Alleva said he is hopeful that the SEC’s alcohol policy will change, but that it will be up to the conference’s presidents. A vote on that issue is not expected in Destin, Vincent said.
Regarding football, other topics include the possible expansion of the regular season from a 13- to a 14-week schedule (allowing for a second open date), setting networks and kickoff times for some early season games (LSU’s Sept. 2 game with BYU in Houston was set last week for 8:30 p.m. on ESPN) and presentations from SEC television partners CBS and ESPN regarding the changing way in which fans consume content of its games.
ESPN produces and distributes the SEC Network, which has been a financial windfall for the conference and its members.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.