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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Destin update: Presidents ready to 'hunker down' with ADs before vote

The SEC presidents appear to be concerned about going further than the rest of the country on roster management issues, but may do it anyway.

At least that’s what could be gleaned from South Carolina’s Harris Pastides, who was the only school president who was talking when the meeting broke up.

UGA president Michael Adams declined comment on his way out. He said none of the presidents would say anything.

That memo apparently didn’t reach Pastides, who said there was a “vigorous” and “lengthy discussion” over the roster management issues.

“And I think you’ll see the presidents tonight hunker down with their athletic directors and come together for a vote on that as well,” Pastides said. “But we think, we’d love the SEC to take a lead role on doing the right thing, and we would hope the NCAA would adopt whatever we do. I think that’s where our Ads and coaches are on. They don’t want us to be so far out front that we’re the only league that clamps down on that. We’re interested in seeing clarity on that in terms of what happens in the nation.”

The main point of contention is whether to keep the limit at 28 recruits per class, or cut it down to 25. The football coaches voted 12-0 against that, according to Pastides’ own coach, Steve Spurrier, who then added that the presidents “may” feel differently.

Pastides declined to give his own opinion, other than to sum up the league’s conundrum.

“I think most of the discussion was around if we go first and we do something that is viewed as restrictive and conservative, would that be a challenge for the rest of the country and to the other leagues,” Pastides said. “Or might we just be left out there as the only league. And we decided to do what was best for the college athlete. And I think that’s what we’ll vote tomorrow.”

NCAA president Mark Emmert was in Destin and spoke to the presidents, but Pastides said the issue didn't come up.

On Thursday, I asked Emmert about it, and he didn't indicate a uniform standard was in the making yet.

“The way it works with a whole array of issues is the NCAA sets a national standard and then if conferences want to be more restrictive then they can be," Emmert said. "So if the SEC or any other conference wants to have a more restrictive approach to that, then they’re welcome to do so. That’s a local decision that they can make.”

My take on this: SEC presidents, as a whole, want to be restrictive on roster management. But they’re deciding whether to do so over the objection of their coaches.

Either way, we should find out on Friday.

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