SEC Slaps Urban's Golden Wrist

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive decided to hit Florida Coach Urban Meyer with a $30,000 fine for his comments regarding the officiating in the Florida/Georgia game. Meyer's essentially innocuous remarks will cost the Gator head man roughly three days' pay if you calculate the approximate daily value of his $4 million a year contract.

This is just plan silly.

Not as silly as Slive asking for (and getting) the authority to fine and/or suspend coaches for making critical comments about officiating but silly nonetheless. It seem appropriate for a league that doles out about $150 million a year in revenue sharing to be handing out parking tickets, but that's essentially what the SEC is doing.

What's the Problem?

I fail to find anything wrong with criticizing any individual official's judgment and competence. Why are the guys in the striped shirts the only ones who are not accountable for their actions in a public forum? Every one else involved in the event is subject to criticism but not the guys who make a critical decision and that's not right. If they can't stand the heat, get off the sideline and let someone else do the job.

Meyer is absolutely right that the cheap shot on Tim Tebow by a Georgia player should have been flagged. What's wrong with that? Nothing.

Drawing the Correct Line

Slive should be focused on the criticism that attacks the integrity and impartiality of officials or calls for firings. That IS going too far and the reprimands handed down to Lane Kiffin and Dan Mullen were completely appropriate. But comments like Meyer's and what Bobby Petrino said after the Florida/Arkansas game should be acceptable. There's an awful lot at stake in these games and coaches should not be muzzled when it comes to crucial mistakes no matter who makes them.

The idea of fines also makes no sense. Most coaches are paid a fortune and the prospect of losing a few days' pay isn't going to have much of a deterrent effect, which is allegedly the purpose. There is a better way to get their attention and limit the controversies.

Recruiting penalties --- Let's start with eliminating 25 percent of the allowable official visits for the offending coach's program. In football that would be a dozen or so fewer players you could bring on to your campus and no coach would want to have to deal with that. The penalties could escalate to the point you take away scholarships for chronic offenders. NOW you have a deterrent with some teeth in it.


I have no doubt that Mike Slive meant well when he pushed for the power to sanction coaches, but the threat of suspension goes beyond absurdity for this type of offense. The punishment must fit the crime. No one with a brain could ever conclude that saying a flag should or should not have been thrown on a particular rises to the level of suspension.

Take away recruiting visits or make the coach recruit on campus only. Shoot, make ‘em coach from the press box if you want, but taking a coach out of a game because some SEC officials stink at their job is ridiculous.

And fining millionaires makes even less sense than that.

Fightin Gators Top Stories