Six things we learned from the annual SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., this week, where Mike Slive passed the baton to Greg Sankey as league commissioner:
1. Cashing in
NCAA student-athletes will finally be getting more compensation than a standard scholarship this fall, with the advent of "full cost of attendance" payments. In short, athletes will receive money to cover some of the general expenses related to college attendance that haven't been covered before. But now that it appears the payouts will vary widely from school to school, it's a hot-button issue with significant recruiting implications. Tennessee is expected to lead the league with an estimated payout of about $5,600 per athlete per year, while the estimate on rival Alabama is about half that.
Naturally, Nick Saban has concerns, and believes some schools have inflated their numbers. Bottom line, if a recruit can be swayed by a few extra hundred dollars a month, Tennessee and Auburn can now do it better than others.
2. Pack your camping gear
It looks like the SEC is coming to a camp near you.
League coaches have been lamenting the use of satellite camps by programs from other conferences (camps held off campus). Why? Because the SEC doesn't allow them to its own members, yet the Michigans and Penn States can organize camps in the southern states and use them as an effective recruiting tool. The league is going to try to push through national legislation banning satellite camps, but don't expect that to pass.
And when it doesn't, Slive said that next summer, SEC schools will join the fray, "fan out and have at it."
Here's the real rub: SEC coaches would just as soon have satellite camps banned because recruiting grounds in the south are so fertile, there is less of a need to recruit outside the region. A Big Ten or ACC school would get far more mileage out of a satellite camp in Atlanta or Miami, because most SEC schools can stock their rosters with talent without setting up a camp outpost in Ohio or Texas.
But believe this: If nothing has changed a year from now, SEC schools will start doing the satellite camp thing anyway. And they'll figure out a way to do it bigger and better, because that's the only way mousetraps are built in the SEC.
3. Costly celebrations
Remember when Ole Miss fans stormed the field after a home upset of Alabama last year and carried the goalpost all over campus? Now, the cover charge to get into a party like that is going way up. A first offense, until this year, was a $5,000 fine to the school. The revised fine will run schools $50,000, which is what the price had previously been for a third offense.
4. Deflategate, trickled down
SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw, in the wake of the ball deflation controversy surrounding the New England Patriots, said officials will "be more cognizant" of maintaining properly inflated footballs. "If there's a concern either way -- whether through the officials or coaches -- we're going to take them all back in at halftime and test them and they'd better still be where they were," Shaw told reporters.
So there you have it -- the SEC penalty for a deflated ball will be ... well, just don't do it.
5. Cash is king
We knew this year's disbursement of the league's revenue shares would be another record-breaking, ridiculous sum -- we just didn't know how ridiculous. After all, the launch of the SEC Network, which debuted in nearly 100 million homes last August, was a game-changer. The SEC meetings end each year with the league's athletic directors picking up their checks -- this year the revenue haul reportedly amounted to about $30.1 million per school. The league's total? A cool $455 million.
6. Transfer restrictions
It appears the SEC is making a move to rid itself of troubled transfers. In a rule passed Friday, the league will no longer approve incoming transfers for student-athletes with discipline records that include "serious misconduct," which includes domestic violence, sexual assault and other sex-related offenses. Such offenses are a black eye for any league, but look even worse in transfer cases like Jonathan Taylor's.