HOOVER, Ala. – With several SEC teams ensnared in the sweeping NCAA investigation involving players and athletes, the topic quickly became the prevailing storyline at the SEC Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel.
Expect two more days of it.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive opened Media Days by calling for a re-examination of the NCAA rules regarding agent activity. Alabama coach Nick Saban took it a step further, saying agents who cost players their eligibility should lose their license in the NFL Players Association for a year.
“That’s the only way you’re going to stop it,” Saban said, “because it’s ridiculous and it’s entrapment.”
Saban said schools also could close their doors to agents. Saban said he currently allows agents to watch the Crimson Tide’s practices to get a behind-the-scenes look at players as they go drills.
But Saban said he might have to change that practice because of rogue agents, which he said give all the other agents a bad name.
How bad? Well, Saban used a “street corner” metaphor and the world’s oldest profession in describing dirty agents.
“How are they any better than a pimp?” Saban asked. “I have no respect for someone who does that to a young person. None.”
Slive did not use language quite that colorful, but the commissioner drew laughs throughout the crowded ballroom while discussing the SEC’s new coaches and one of their departing ones – He Who Shall Not Be Named.
Slive referred to “Derek Dooley’s predecessor” returning “to his Western roots” at Southern Cal, and then said this:
“I want to welcome coach Dooley back to the SEC, and when I say welcome, I mean welcome.”
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was not as successful in his attempt at humor from the podium.
“For the next 10 seconds it’s legal to ring your cowbells,” Mullen said. “After that we’re going into a cowbell-dead zone.”
There were no cowbells clanging. And no laughter, either.