published Saturday, June 4th, 2011

SEC lowers cap for football signees to 25

IN THE MONEY


SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Friday that a record $220 million will be distributed to the 12 institutions for the 2010-11 fiscal year, or $18.3 million per school. Some league revenue totals through the years:

1980 — $4.1 million

1985 — $9.34 million

1990 — $16.3 million

1995 — $40.3 million

2000 — $73.2 million

2005 — $110.7 million

2010 — $209 million

Source: SEC office

The Southeastern Conference’s football coaches were allowed to share their views on how large signing classes should be at the league’s spring meetings this week in Destin, Fla., but they didn’t have a vote.

SEC presidents did, and they decided Friday to implement commissioner Mike Slive’s proposal for a 25-player enrolling maximum from Dec. 1 to May 31. The SEC instituted a 28-player cap in 2009; that initiative occurred several weeks after Ole Miss signed 37 players.

“No one wants to win more than I do,” Slive said as the meetings concluded, “but we don’t want to win at the expense of young people. We want to win for them.”

Slive expects the NCAA to adopt the same legislation, which went against the wishes of coaches such as Alabama’s Nick Saban, Auburn’s Gene Chizik and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier.

“All the coaches are in favor of 28,” Spurrier said earlier in the week.

Recognizing he now is a little less popular among the league’s coaches, Slive said, “They don’t agree with everything. Obviously they have their own interests to pursue.”

The 25-player cap was the biggest of the five roster-management moves taken at the meetings, but two others are notable. The SEC now will oversee medical scholarship exemptions, and the league will do away with the single-season, postgraduate exception it instituted just last year.

Under this exception, a graduate of an Football Bowl Subdivision school who has a year of eligibility is allowed to play for another FBS school that offers a graduate program his previous school could not provide. The most publicized case last year was Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who enrolled in Oxford after graduating from Oregon, where he had been dismissed from the football program.

The rescinding of the rule goes into effect in October, so former North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s offensive player of the year last season, still could find a home in the SEC. Wilson reportedly visited Auburn late last month.

League presidents were on the same page with men’s basketball coaches in wanting to eliminate the two divisions, which have been in place since the 1991-92 season, and seeding that tournament 1 to 12. The league already has a 16-game league schedule in place for the upcoming season that mirrors recent years, so Tennessee will play Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt two times each and everybody else once.

The size of future conference schedules will be up for debate in upcoming months, as the league could look into 16, 18 or even 22 games.

“A 22-game schedule wouldn’t bother me,” LSU coach Trent Johnson told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “Any way you can have a true champion. Anything to get away from divisional play. If you have the best overall record, where’s the gray area?”

Slive announced Friday that about $220 million will be distributed to the 12 league institutions in the revenue-sharing plan for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31. Leading the stream was $113 million from football television, $31.3 million from bowl games, $31.1 million from basketball television, $24.3 million from NCAA championships, $15.3 million from the football championship and $5 million from the SEC men’s basketball tournament.

Also, the league extended its current rule regarding when Mississippi State fans can ring cowbells at football games. Bulldogs fans violated the rule during the first two games last season, resulting in a fine of $30,000, before showing improvement.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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