SEC commissioner Mike Slive opened SEC Media Days on Tuesday with a flurry of quick, pointed jabs at the NCAA.
As Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel points out:
Props to Slive for openly taking on not just the NCAA, but more importantly, the schools working against the full-cost stipend, a move that has been stuck in the system since NCAA president Mark Emmert openly supported it in 2011.
Yet Slive is not the only one pushing for financial relief for SEC athletes. Steve Spurrier, the Old Ball Coach, is still thumping his drum about the $300 per game that he and his colleagues would like to give to their players.
As Chip Patterson of BS Sports points out, Spurrier has not deviated from his original message of wanting to see the athletes' take go up as the school, conference and college football pocketed increases.
Spurrier's opinion is great, but Slive is the man with the ultimate leg to stand on as the battle drags on between those who want to give the players the stipend and those who do not. The SEC, in quite refreshing fashion, is pushing to get the legislation passed for all athletes. However, Slive maintains that if the NCAA won't or can't do it, then the schools should be able to, as Seth Emerson from The Macon Telegraph points out.
And that is where Slive is starting to draw his line in the sand.
Splitting the divisions is something that we have discussed time and again here at Your Best 11. The SEC is clearly pushing for a choice to be made: take care of all of the athletes, let us take care of our own athletes or separate those who can from those who cannot.
Schools have already aligned themselves in this battle. The small schools are pushing against the legislation, while the bigger schools are open to helping out as much as they can. The Big 12 is the only major conference aligned against the move to full-cost stipends.
Slive and other advocates for the full-cost scholarship are going to keep applying pressure, and the fissure between the ranks will continue to grow. The Big 12 can afford to pay, so—should push come to shove—expect it to align with the haves instead of the have-nots.
With the SEC leading off the media day circus, expect other commissioners and coaches to be asked about their stance on the matter in the next few weeks. The stipend is a topic that is silently splitting apart the college football world.
Slive and the SEC have their stance nailed down quite firmly. They support their athletes. That goes a long way to put pressure on other major conferences and, more importantly, on the system that continues to bring in the money.
And it is refreshing to see the league that everyone loves to hate stand up for the athletes who help make it great.