Collegiate sports are under even more of a microscope from presidents & media. We need to continue to focus on the integrity of the recruiting process. We realize mistakes will be made by individuals, and we have to address those situations in a bold manner without blaming the NCAA or someone else so that we do not tarnish the reputations of our universities.
We need to continue to strengthen academic standards. The six-hour rule for bowl game participation is an example. There were those that claimed it would destroy game, but it hasn't hurt the game. We need to pursue responsible academic goals in way we scholarships. Less than one percent of our athletes will play in the NFL.
In 2000, the SEC had an NCAA record nine teams in bowl games---an all-time record. In college football history, 301 teams have participated in bowls. Big 12: 254, Pac10-179, ACC-152.
The SEC led the nation in total attendance of 5.2 million. Seven of the top 10 schools are from the SEC. Six of seven averaged 80,000+. Conference set an all-time attendance record of 72,445 per game. Big 10 averaged 69,000, Big 12: 55,000 and ACC: 45,000. One of every five people attending a college game was at an SEC contest.
That average was up almost 4,0000 per game. The SEC led the nation with95% capacity, and has led since the NCAA started keeping that stat 18 years ago.
The BCS (Bowl Championship Series) continues to meet its goals: increased interest as judged by ratings and attendance, to produce a consensus national champion and to a maintain healthy bowl system.
24 bowl games had over 52,000 in attendance. And that average includes the new bowl games. Eliminate the two Hawaii bowls and the three new bowls and bowl games averaged 90 percent plus of capacity.
BCS television ratings were up 5.5 percent. And that happened while all the other major televised sporting events dropped in network ratings.
They're addressing the problems with the BCS formula. They've eliminated much of the credit given for margin of victory (though Kramer said that the Coaches' Poll was the poll most affected by margin of victory). They're awarding bonus points for ‘quality wins' (victories over Top 15 teams).
The SEC season should be very competitive. Seven of last season's top-10 rushers return and six of the top-10 tacklers also return. 159 of 264 possible returners return.
The SEC has finalized a television package which guarantees national coverage at the 3:30 time slot. The SEC Championship game has moved to CBS and will be televised at 7:30 EST in GA Dome. This year it sold out by mid-May, the earliest sellout yet.
There is also an improved deal with ESPN/ESPN2. Kramer expects more SEC games to be shown by those networks than any other conference. 19 of 21 SEC games will be televised over the first three weeks of the season---more than many conferences get shown on television the entire year.