DESTIN, Fla. | There will be discussions about money, always money, and talk about drinking and gambling.
This, however, is not some whirlwind trip to Las Vegas. The venue is the Sandestin Beach Hilton, the site of the annual spring meetings of the Southeastern Conference. Wealth will be distributed among the league schools, largely coming from the league’s television deals. There may not be quite as much money as the Big Ten will apportion to its members this year, but that may only be temporary depending on the SEC’s next television negotiations. In the meantime, the SEC and the Big 10 continue to separate themselves from the other Power Five conferences in terms of financial power.
The SEC won’t be wagering any of that money, although gambling — specifically the standardization of injury reports in football and basketball, generally seen as a concession to the increasingly-legal gaming industry — will be one of the items on a wide-ranging agenda.
Another topic, not a favorite among the league’s football coaches, will be transfers. The creation of an NCAA transfer portal, designed to give players more autonomy if they decide to change schools, has heightened interest in the transfer process, both among advocates and detractors who say the easily-accessible portal has created a “meat market” atmosphere in some sports. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told the Associated Press on Saturday that the league “wants more clarity on the (transfer) waiver process” due to the high number of approvals being granted.
“Do I expect conversation? Yes,” Sankey said to the AP. “If I’ve looked at the data correctly, we’ve accelerated the number of people looking to transfer. I’ve seen some media articles that there’s more people in the transfer (portals) than there are available scholarships. I’ve said for years (that) we can’t assume that people just have opportunities, or better opportunities, when they transfer.”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who is scheduled to address the media on Tuesday morning, is likely to comment on the situation.
Also on the agenda, NCAA vice president of enforcement Jon Duncan is scheduled to discuss the walrus in the room with the men’s basketball coaches, reviewing issues that surfaced from a federal investigation and other allegations of unethical recruiting.
Sankey expects the SEC to finalize bowl agreements for the next six-year cycle “soon.” The current one expires after the 2019 season. He also anticipates another talk about the possibility of expanding the College Football Playoffs at some point, though he thinks the current four-team system “works well and can continue to work well.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.