SEC Media Day Notebook, Day 1
The SEC culture is a unique one in which the commissioner is applauded for his state of the conference address and a player is given a standing ovation after an entertaining and genuine question and answer session. Such was the case in Hoover, Alabama as over 1,000 credentialed members of the media and other representatives soaked in the first of three days of SEC football conversation.
All is well in the SEC
It all started with the annual state of the union address for the conference, in which SEC commissioner Mike Slive provided his thoughts on a wide range of topics without really breaking any news. Slive opened by commenting on the success of the SEC over the past ten years, with a total of 62 national championships across 16 sports. This, of course, includes the past six BCS championships in football. Since accepting the position of commissioner, Slive says the SEC has tripled their revenue but what he seemed to be most proud of was the increasing emphasis on the hiring of minority coaches in the conference.
"I am very grateful that hiring minority coaches in the SEC is no longer a story," Slive said. "It’s who we are." The SEC has three minority head coaches in football. Slive also noted that a television program honoring former Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom is in production and will air this fall. Croom was the first minority head coach to be hired by an SEC football program in conference history.
Slive was focused on the future of the conference andcollege football in general as well. With the four-team playoff model lined up to replace the current BCS format, Slive looks forward to the impact it will have on his conference. The commissioner admitted there is still work to be done to make the four-team model a success, including revenue distribution but he expects things to work out nicely. Slive also noted that the four-team model began to be discussed in the SEC after Auburn was left out of the BCS Championship in the 2004 season. The Tigers were passed over by USC and Oklahoma that season.
Slive confirmed that the tentatively named Champions Bowl, the bowl agreement between the SEC and Big 12, will be played in prime time on January 1, 2015 but did not confirm the location of the game. Slive said those details are still to be determined.
The plans for an SEC network, similar to the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Networks, continue to develop as well. Slive noted that the SEC reaches 80 million homes in the early SEC window, and the code name for the television network have changed from Project X to Project SEC.
But the story of the day remained the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri. The Big 12 programs officially joined the SEC as full conference members on July 1 and were the stars of the first day in Hoover. Slive feels the former Big 12 schools are a solid fit in the SEC.
"We are all looking forward to September 8 when Missouri hosts Georgia and Texas A&M hosts Florida," Slive said commenting on the new members’ official SEC debut on the football field.
"They fit. We welcome them into the conference family."
Team Petrino plan rally to support Arkansas coach
It seems there is a Facebook page for everything these days, so the fact that over 8,000 Arkansas fans and counting have joined a group nicknamed Team Petrino should not be all too surprising.
The Facebook group, named TEAM SAVE COACH PETRINO, asks fans to email Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long to “express support for Coach Petrino to remain the head coach of our football team.”
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What message will Arkansas send with Bobby Petrino?
What do you do when somebody you hired lies to you about the specific details about an auto accident, and the possible hiring of a staff member on your watch? That is the predicament Arkansas Athletics Director Jeff Long is currently working through.
On Thursday night Long announced that Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino was being placed on paid administrative leave, so that Long may investigate the details about Petrino’s recent motorcycle accident and relationship with Jessica Dorrell, who was recently hired as the schools’ new student-athlete development coordinator for the football program by Petrino. Arkansas assistant coach Taver Johnson has been named interim head coach while Petrino is on leave.
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Danny O’Brien Watch: Vanderbilt responds to ACC complaint, Wisconsin and Penn State in running
Vanderbilt has filed a report with the SEC about the coaching staff’s actions in the recruitment of Maryland-transfer quarterback Danny O’Brien. Maryland had previously requested for the ACC to file a complaint with the SEC, suggesting that the Commodores had tampered with O’Brien while under scholarship at Maryland.
"We did a thorough review," Vice Chancellor David Williams said in a statement released by the university’s athletic department. “We looked closely at months of phone and e-mail records, and Twitter accounts. We interviewed all of our coaches with University of Maryland backgrounds and we also interviewed the student-athlete.”
The fate of the Vanderbilt program is now in the hands of the SEC offices, which may pass on the findings to the NCAA. After a thorough investigation conducted internally by Vanderbilt, the program is not likely to receive any significant fine or penalty if found guilty of any tampering.
"Our reputation is our primary concern," Williams said. "We have a long and proud history of playing by the letter and the spirit of the rules. Coach [James] Franklin feels the same way. He and his staff were most cooperative."
O’Brien was granted a full release from his scholarship at Maryland last month, and Randy Edsall eventually agreed to waive any restrictions on his transfer options. O’Brien was initially granted a scholarship release, as long as he did not choose to go to Vanderbilt, where former Maryland assistant coach James Franklin had become the head coach. O’Brien and Franklin are reported to have a good relationship, which is why many feel that Vanderbilt would be a likely landing spot for the former ACC Rookie of the Year.
However, O’Brien has not made a trip to Nashville to check out the Vanderbilt program since being granted his release from scholarship at Maryland. That may be because of the relationship O’Brien and Franklin have had in the past and the comfort level O’Brien has in one of his former coaches. There may not be an urgent need to check out the program, if O’Brien trusts Franklin. Instead reports have surfaced that O’Brien has been getting in touch with other options, including Wisconsin and Penn State in the Big Ten.
LSU female soccer star to try out for football again in August
Mo Isum's goal of becoming the first female college football player at LSU will have to wait until August. The 22-year old former soccer player and homecoming queen from LSU was informed she did not make the cut at a recent tryout held by the LSU football team. Les Miles offered some constructive criticism and analysis, encouraging Isom to try out again for the team in August.
"We reviewed her skill, the things she can do and do well," Miles said. "We kind of felt like there’s four guys on the team right now that would be ahead of anybody that tried out the other day, including Mo. I told her that today."
Miles noted that what Isom lacked was tackling skill. Compared to some other players on the roster, this is what held Isom back from winning a spot on the team.
"She’s a great person but there’s some things she can’t do and she knows it," he said. "We go to kicking off into the corner, we count on our kicker making some tackles and it’s just not something I’m comfortable she’s ready to do. It’s one of those spots you really can’t put a person that cannot tackle."
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