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Hot topics for SEC spring meetings to include satellite camps, graduate transfer rule

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The Southeastern Conference agenda for spring meetings leans heavily toward ensuring other leagues don't have any competitive advantage, either from satellite camps or graduate transfers.

Coaches have grumbled about outside competitors like Penn State's James Franklin and Michigan's Jim Harbaugh holding football camps as guest coaches in the SEC's fertile recruiting territory.

It's something the league doesn't allow its own coaches to do elsewhere, though that's subject to change if the SEC fails to get the practice banned. Satellite camps will be a hot topic when the retiring Slive presides over his final spring meetings next week in Destin, Florida.

"We prefer our current legislation," Commissioner Mike Slive said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. "It gets complex when that legislation is not national legislation, so we would like to see our rule become national legislation. The real question is if it doesn't, what are we going to do? That'll be basically one of the primary subjects. I don't have an answer, but we hope an answer will emerge out of Destin."

NCAA rules allow football programs to hold camps on their campus, inside their state or within a 50-mile radius of campus, but coaches can guest coach at another school's camp all the way down to the high school level.

The SEC doesn't want to concede a recruiting edge with a practice also employed by Notre Dame and Ohio State.

"We've tried to have a rule that we think is sane and doesn't make it more intense than it already is," Slive said. "If the rest of the country sees it differently, we're going to pay attention to that."

Also on the agenda will be the SEC's rule requiring schools to seek waivers before accepting graduate transfers for athletes who have had significant off-the-field troubles.

It's a subject that surfaced when ex-Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who is from South Carolina, was searching for a new school. He considered several SEC schools before choosing Florida State. The ACC has no such restrictions.

"We had some general discussions with some of our institutions but we never had any formal action taken by the league," Slive said of Golson's recruitment.

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs believes the policy on graduate transfers needs to change. He notes that no such rule exists for undergraduates with at least two years of eligibility remaining, even when they've had discipline problems.

PHOTO: Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive sits in his office during an interview Friday, May 22, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. The Southeastern Conference agenda for its spring meetings leans heavily toward ensuring other leagues don't have any competitive advantages, whether it’s satellite camps or rules restricting graduate transfers. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive sits in his office during an interview Friday, May 22, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. The Southeastern Conference agenda for its spring meetings leans heavily toward ensuring other leagues don't have any competitive advantages, whether it’s satellite camps or rules restricting graduate transfers. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

"That doesn't make any sense," Jacobs said. "It's a double standard. We're holding a group that has proven that they can compete academically at a high level (to a higher standard) than a group that we're not sure about."

Jacobs and Auburn will also propose a rule counting state-funded scholarships against athletic totals for sports like baseball and softball which typically have to divvy up dollars to offer partial scholarships.

"This is an unfair competitive advantage," Jacobs said.

Other topics Slive addressed include:

—Paying full cost of attendance.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban recently said that the method could be "a nightmare" where some schools manipulate the numbers. Slive notes the numbers are based on a federal formula stemming from the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit.

"We're in an evolutionary period and the end result is that everything isn't necessarily going to be the same for everybody," Slive said. "That's a difficult concept for them and it flies in the face of the experience of our coaches and our institutions for decades.

"The days of everything and every rule being grounded in a level playing field are gone."

—His health after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer as well as back surgery.

"I'm feeling better than I've felt in a very long time," said Slive. He is in "a quiet period" for treatment before his next doctor's visit.

—New rules in college basketball reducing the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds and expanding the arc for block and charge calls from 3 to 4 feet. The changes still must be approved by the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Committee.

Slive was "very much in favor" of both rules. "I think we need some more offense in college basketball," he said. "I think these rules are good for the game. I'm glad that the rules makers are paying attention to the game. These two steps are in the right direction."


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