Not All Commissioners Under Stress

HOOVER, Ala. -- Newspapers and websites all over the country are asking the same question these days, "Which Major Sports Commissioner has it worst right now?" The question makes sense when you consider what those gentlemen are dealing with right now. As SEC Media Days kicks off, however, Mike Slive is in a very different situation.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has one of the most dynamic stars of his sport, Michael Vick under indictment for despicable and unfathomable acts involving dog fighting. MLB Boss Bud Selig has been waffling for months on how to handle Barry Bonds' pursuit of the greatest individual record in all of sports. And he still hasn't been able to explain the steroid era to a skeptical public. And NBA Commission David Stern has an official who was betting on games, providing inside information to gamblers and possibly shaving points.

Enter SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. Slive heads up America's best collegiate sports conference and is on an all-time high as he described in his opening statement at SEC Media Days.

"These are good times to be the Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. For the first time in history we had --- all in the same year --- national championships in Football, Women's Basketball and Men's Basketball. And in Men's Basketball we've done it two years in a row. As if this wasn't enough, conference teams have won five more national championships; Men's Swimming, Women's Swimming, Bowling, Gymnastics and Men's Tennis. These eight National Championships were won by five different SEC institutions. This means that we won National Championships in over one-third of the sports the SEC sponsors."

Slive went on to point out that the SEC sent nine football teams to bowl games and that 159 SEC teams went on to post-season play, which is roughly 75 percent of all SEC teams.

Slive has just completed five years heading up the SEC and he is particularly proud that league schools that were routinely under NCAA sanctions or investigations for much of the ‘80's and ‘90s are now winning while doing things the right way. It was, no doubt a message to new Alabama Coach Nick Saban who rankled SEC officials in an article in the Birmingham paper Wednesday that implored SEC coaches not to tell on each other.

Slive also addressed a report from last week that said there was growing support for a "plus-one" football playoff game in the future. However, Slive pointed out that the article was way ahead of the process that is laid out.

"We in the SEC are very open-minded about the plus-one format, and we plan to carefully evaluate it over the next year. At our spring meetings in Destin, our Presidents and Chancellors again stated they oppose a playoff. At the same time, they authorized Chancellor (Robert) Khayat of Ole Miss who is our representative on the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee to work with me to evaluate within the structure whether a change if needed. We will do that keeping in mind the parameters I have re-iterated to you over and over again, which are: the importance of the regular season, our continued support of the bowl system and our continuing commitment to keep college football a one semester sport."

It's good to be Mike Slive right now. While other commissioners are meeting with FBI agents, steroid experts and members of PETA, the SEC Commissioner is walking tall, smiling wide and welcoming more than 800 media members to the biggest pre-season media gathering in all of sports.

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