Josh Kendall

Plenty of important topics on the table this week at SEC meetings

Will Muschamp will appear as South Carolina’s coach for the first time at the SEC spring meetings.
Will Muschamp will appear as South Carolina’s coach for the first time at the SEC spring meetings. gmelendez@thestate.com

The Southeastern Conference will hold its annual spring meetings this week in Miramar Beach, Fla., at the Sandestin Beach Hilton. The meetings bring together all 14 of the league’s presidents, athletics directors, football coaches and men’s and women’s basketball coaches for four days of discussions that can lead to changes in the league’s rulebook and structure.

Here are five topics likely to be discussed this week:

The 20-Hour Rule

The SEC’s presidents want student-athletes to have more time for the “student”part of the equation and support changes to the 20-hour rule, the NCAA bylaw that states athletes can’t spend more than 20 hours per week on their sports.

USC president Harris Pastides doesn’t expect the SEC to present a specific proposal by the end of this week because of the difficulties in applying the rule across different sports, but it’ll be a hot topic of conversation. Gamecocks football coach Will Muschamp also is in favor of a change to the rule with more time being allowed for academics, Pastides said.

SECcommissioner Greg Sankey told the Associated Press this week will be “our first deep dive with our coaches, with our athletics directors and our presidents with that.”

Satellite Camps

The SEC is not giving up without (another) fight on the satellite camp issue. After initially outlawing the practice (in which coaches hold camps off their own campus), the NCAA backtracked and allowed them. Almost every major college coach is now going to be at some far-flung locale for at least one summer camp, and the SEC wants to put a stop to it.

“The concerns are still there,” Sankey told the Associated Press. “When it was a relatively small practice, it was fine. Some will argue that there’s a lot of instruction and development that occurs. Well, that may be true in some cases. But when I talk to our coaches, who now have 10-15 calls a day (about attending camps), it starts to become an unhealthy activity.”

SEC Hoops

Nowhere will this topic garner more interest than in Columbia, where the Gamecocks finished 25-9 and third in the SEC, but weren’t selected for the NCAA Tournament.

Only three SEC schools were picked, which is a problem. The league has hired former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese as a consultant to suggest solutions, and Tranghese will meet with the basketball coaches as a group for the first time this week. South Carolina coach Frank Martin also has some ideas he’ll share.

“Topic No. 1, is how did we only get three teams in the NCAA Tournament,” Martin said.“That has to be a major concern for everyone involved. Outside of the common sense answer of we have to win more games, we have to figure out what we need to do better. I have opinions. I will share those with you after I share them with the SEC office first.”

Revised Replay

Coaches will get their first details of the SEC’s new replay system. The conference will use a “collaborative process” beginning this year in which instant replay reviews will be seen by officials at the conference’s headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., while they are also being looked at by an in-stadium replay official.

The SEC tested the system during a conference spring game this year.

“This is an important and positive step for our officiating program, and I look forward to implementing our plan to combine advanced technology with officiating expertise,” SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said.

Muschamp’s Return

Normally, the reunion of the athletics director (in this case Jeremy Foley) who fired a football coach (in this case Muschamp) might be an awkward event, but Foley and Muschamp seemingly have maintained a good relationship despite how things ended with the Gators.

Even at the time of the firing, Foley expressed his fondness for Muschamp, who has ties throughout the conference that he will be able to revisit this week.

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