DESTIN, Fla. — Whether it was by accident or design, a much more serious subject than satellite camps ended up the main story this week at SEC meetings.
It didn’t make the SEC look great. It made one of its schools look worse.
When Mississippi State opted to enroll controversial five-star recruit Jeffrey Simmons, it announced it on Thursday, almost in the middle of SEC meetings. The same meetings in which the conference was strengthening its rule against admitting transfers with a history of “serious misconduct” – but not extending it to include incoming freshman. That would have prevented Simmons from coming in to MSU or any SEC school.
These are the kinds of things that become issues and distractions at a conference that otherwise has its major stuff together. Compare it to the Big 12, whose meetings were concurrent this week, and which made one momentous decisions (instituting a championship game), debated others (expansion and revenue distribution) and passed one rule (preventing an extra year of eligibility for walk-on transfers) only to reverse it a day later after an outcry.
Comparably, that was pretty heavy stuff. But the Simmons story made the SEC’s week rather serious too, on a different level, highlighted (if that’s the right word) by the intense media session with MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin, one of the more awkward ones there’s ever been here.
And it was made more awkward a day later when SEC commissioner Greg Sankey distanced himself from Mississippi State’s decision and made clear he didn’t appreciate Stricklin’s wording on one part of it.
Dan Mullen, meanwhile? This all conveniently came after he had left.
And here we thought Hugh Freeze’s media session would carry that title. It finished second.
So again, all in all, satellite camps really that big a deal?
Here’s a look back at the week’s biggest stories, as chronicled by SEC Country’s Brandon Marcello and yours truly:
- Butch Jones was asked about comparisons being made between Baylor and his Tennessee program.
- Hugh Freeze did meet the media, and said he would “own everything” associated with the ongoing NCAA violation.
- Meanwhile, Sankey reminded everybody that the SEC was probation-free for the first time since 1984. How long that’ll last, well …
- The SEC’s expansion of the “serious misconduct” transfer rule included some vague wording, which Sankey admitted was intentional.
- While John Calipari’s wacky idea for the SEC tournament won’t happen, the league is moving towards a still noteworthy change.
- There was a lot of talk behind the scenes about how to improve the SEC basketball product.
- The SEC baseball tournament, meanwhile, isn’t going anywhere.
- The SEC presidents did discuss alcohol sales at games, and aren’t ruling them in or out yet.
- In lighter news, the SEC outlined how its collaborative replay system would work, with Steve Shaw as always being very helpful.
- Fans will also now be able to see on the stadium video screen what the replay booth is seeing.
- In related news, a longtime SEC referee is hanging up his whistle and moving up to the booth.
- The introduction of in-helmet communication was also discussed.
- Oh, don’t worry, there was satellite camp discussion. Including perhaps the SEC’s own camp.
- That led to a long Nick Saban rant. Which led to Jim Harbaugh. But anyway …
- Bret Bielema suggested a novel idea.
- Sankey shot it down later that night.
- Finally, Sankey wrapped things up by reflecting on his first year in the job.