Spring meetings notebook: SEC eliminates non-scholastic 7-on-7 events

DESTIN, Fla. – Taking a step it hopes will help deal with a growing issue, the Southeastern Conference Friday barred non-scholastic 7-on-7 football events from being held on SEC campuses.

The concern is that coaches and organizers can have a similar influence as AAU coaches in basketball.

“There’s a sense in football by the coaches and some of us that there’s a bit of creep and that we think it’s in our best interest to do what we can to stop it,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said.

The rule does not impact SEC coaches’ summer camps.

The non-scholastic event rule takes effect on Aug. 1.

“I think we’ve always tried very hard to keep the recruiting process between the student-athlete, their families and their high school coaches,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported on Sunday on a Maryland traveling team that attended a camp held at South Carolina and was photographed on a 60-foot yacht. The trip was paid for by a South Carolina graduate.

Alabama also is among other SEC schools that have hosted.

The NCAA has seven full-time investigators looking at 7-on-7 touch football, according to ESPN.

“I know the NCAA is looking into that situation, so why would we want to bring that into our respective campuses?” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

Money talk

The SEC is distributing a record $220 million in revenue to its 12 schools, up from $209 million last year.

Only two years ago, the number was $127.6 million before a 15-year television deal with CBS and ESPN kicked in.

The Pac-12 has a new 12-year, $3 billion deal with Fox and ESPN, but Slive said he’s “very comfortable” with the SEC deal.

“We had 415 televised events between CBS and the ESPN family of networks,” he said. “That was a critical piece. Then the finances on top of it. Having said that, we had in our agreement a concept called look-ins where on a periodic basis we could sit with our television partners and look in at our agreement, look in to see where things are, take stock on everything. … If we need to make adjustments, we can.”

SEC schools this year are getting $113 million from football television money and $31.1 million from basketball television money. Bowls contribute $31.1 million, the SEC football championship brings $15.3 million, the men’s basketball tournament $5 million and NCAA championships $24.3 million.

Not included in the SEC total this year is $14.2 million retained by the schools for bowls and $780,000 for academic enhancement.

Hoops changes official

As expected, athletic directors approved one 12-team division in men’s basketball and reseeding of its conference tournament starting this season.

The top four teams receive byes in the tournament.

The scheduling remains by division because it was already set, but a committee of athletic directors and coaches will analyze the issue for future scheduling. A decision is anticipated by December.

“The focus will be how to schedule and whether to schedule 16 or 18 (conference) games,” Slive said.

His preference is 18.

“I think it helps your schedule and I think it’s good for our fans,” Slive said. “That’s a bully pulpit, it’s not something I can mandate.”

This and that

Mississippi State’s cowbell compromise was extended another year. Slive said fans violated the rule of when they could ring their bells during its first two conference games, drawing a $30,000 fine for the school – $5,000 for the first and $25,000 for the second. Each further violation will cost the school $50,000. … The SEC supports lifting the text message ban nationally for coaches in recruiting, but it has concerns over automated messages that can “blast” recruits. “We still have a discussion about minimizing compliance concerns, but not inundating forever and always prospects with text messages,” SEC associate commissioner Greg Sankey said.