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July 14, 2014

Slive wants changes

As normal, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive opened the league's Football Media Days on Monday by listing all of its recent accomplishments.

But, the key part of Slive's address came at the end when he once again indicated that the Power 5 conferences are ready to set up their own division of the NCAA if autonomy is not granted to them. A vote of the NCAA Board of Directors is scheduled for August 7.

"The NCAA Board of Directors has invested time and effort in restructuring," Slive said. "It's important that the NCAA governance committee continues its support for autonomous decision-making among the five conferences, including proper voting thresholds to allow for the enactment of meaningful change.

"As I have said before, if we do not achieve a positive outcome under the existing big tent of Division I, we will need to consider the establishment of a venue with similar conferences and institutions where we can enact the desired changes in the best interests of the student-athletes."

There are no longer BCS conferences as that format has been replaced by the group of Power 5 leagues - ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and the SEC. Those five conferences are guaranteed of having their champion in one of the top-tier bowls in the new College Football Playoff System.

The commissioners of these five leagues are working together to get the best possible system for the college student-athlete.

"For a year, we and our colleagues at the ACC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12, developed a new vision for intercollegiate athletics in the 21st century," Slive said. "It includes the NCAA's enactment of a governing system that provides greater autonomy for the benefit of the student-athletes in these five conferences.

"The ongoing review of the governance structure intends to provide for the introduction of new strategies. We support reform, but it's essential reform is implemented to preserve the positive role college athletics plays in the lives of our student-athletes, other students and society at large."

Slive listed a few areas in which the Power 5 conferences have a desire to make changes - scholarships linked to the cost of attendance rather than just tuition, room and board and fees; the support of the student-athlete beyond his playing years and transitioning into pro sports.

Slive also acknowledged that the SEC Network will launch in one month on August 14. He indicated that the conference is in conversations with other major cable providers.

In addition, Slive talked about the change in the SEC's bowl tie-in procedures. The Capital One Bowl will get the first pick after the College Football Playoff System, the Sugar Bowl and, in certain years, the Orange Bowl.

The next group of six bowls includes the Belk Bowl (Charlotte), the Liberty Bowl (Memphis), the Music City Bowl (Nashville), the Outback Bowl (Tampa), the TaxSlayer Bowl (Jacksonville) and the Texas Bowl (Houston). The SEC office will assign its teams to these six bowls.

Two other bowls have tie-ins with the SEC if there are remaining eligible teams - Birmingham Bowl and the Duck Commander Bowl (Shreveport). The Birmingham Bowl has the first choice of these two bowls.

"When I became the commissioner of the SEC 12 years ago, one of my goals was to build a bridge to prepare the conference for its future," Slive said. "What we do today and how we handle our success and meet our challenges will determine the SEC of tomorrow.

"Although we must be willing to make appropriate changes in intercollegiate athletics, education must remain at the core of what we do. We must keep athletics and academics properly integrated and ensure that our university's educational missions are fulfilled."




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