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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Live from Destin: Day three

DESTIN, Fla. - The spotlight now shifts to the school presidents and chancellors, who meet this afternoon. They're not supposed to do any voting until Friday, but they're at least here and discussing the week's major topics.

Wednesday proved to be an eventful day. For a rundown, here are our three stories in today's papers:

- Steve Spurrier made a surprise proposal to pay players $300 per game. It was quickly shot down by the higher-ups, including NCAA president Mark Emmert. The NCAA prez told myself and fellow McClatchy reporter Josh Kendall of The State that paying players in such a manner "would be the death of intercollegiate athletics."

- Divisions in men's basketball are no more, or at least will be once athletics directors ratify the recommendation of the coaches' vote on Wednesday. Georgia's Mark Fox and SEC commissioner Mike Slive were among those in favor of the move.

The schedule remains the same for the 2011-12 season, but the league will immediately begin studying a new schedule format. That's where it'll get tricky; who are which team's natural rivalries, will everybody try to get Kentucky on their annual schedule, will the schedule be expanded to 18 or even more games?

- Finally, the roster management issues are now before the presidents. The coaches supposedly voted 12-0 against limiting each class to 28. (I say supposedly because Spurrier claimed that, but no one else confirmed it.) Mark Richt softened his rhetoric after meeting with fellow coaches.

But it certainly seems that they're on the opposite side of the issue from the presidents and many of the athletics directors. The question now is how much sway the coaches have with their bosses.

Slive appears to be pushing for some tangible action, and Emmert told us that he was "very pleased" with Slive for putting it on the agenda. But when I followed up by asking Emmert if there should be a uniform rule for each conference, he called it a "local issue."

I'll have more from Emmert in a later story.

- My favorite moment from Wednesday was Nick Saban. The Alabama head coach was the first to leave the joint meeting with coaches and A.D.'s, and made right away for a back elevator. The media horde still managed to get in some questions, following Saban to the elevator, where he appeared to blame us for the whole controversy.

“You all are creating a bad problem for everybody, because you’re going to mess up the kids getting opportunities by doing what you’re doing," Saban said icily. "You think you’re helping them, but you’re really gonna hurt them."

Hey, what'd I do? Wha' happen?

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