SEC has lots to Meet About

SEC athletic directors, football and basketball coaches convene in Destin Tuesday for the conference's annual spring meetings. While there's no individual storyline likely to dominate the way that Lane Kiffin having to be in the same place as his new colleagues for the first time did last year, there are plenty of noteworthy items on the agenda.

If Kiffin was the guy everyone wanted to see last year, this year it will be Urban Meyer who commands center stage among the coaches. Meyer's been largely absent from the public stage since his aborted retirement as Florida coach, and there's still plenty of curiosity about everything surrounding it. No one questions at this point that Meyer will lead the Gators this season, but how he's going to avoid the stresses which drove him to nearly step aside remains unclear. While the other SEC coaches were working the booster circuit Meyer was at the Masters with Mark Wahlberg, in Hawaii when a tsunami warning was sounded, and last week he was meeting the Pope. If nothing else, he's the leader for the title of Most Interesting Coach in the World right now.

The other football coach sure to be an object of curiosity is Tennessee's Derek Dooley. Other than being Vince's son and having established he's not going to operate the same way Kiffin did, the Nick Saban protege remains a blank slate for most people. New Kentucky coach Joker Phillips also will make his conference event debut.

John Calipari was chatty at last year's meetings, holding court with anyone who cared to listen for over an hour. In the wake of the New York Times story detailing a potential NCAA issue with Eric Bledsoe's eligibility and a stream of Calipari to the NBA rumors, we'll see if that changes.

Expansion talk has dominated the college football offseason, and while the SEC is not believed to be interested in initiating any movement they'll certainly be discussing what to do should it occur. It's not expected that there will be any formal thoughts expressed on the subject beyond whatever grey corporate language commissioner Mike Slive chooses to use, but it will be interesting to see what meeting participants are willing to say off the record.

Another issue that will be dealt with at the meeting is the conference's noise policy. Mississippi State continues to make a mockery of the ban on artificial noisemakers by doing nothing to stop their fans from bringing in cowbells by the thousands. Their defense is that it's their tradition, but other schools are asking why they can't pass out thundersticks when MSU is at their stadium yet their team has to deal with the bells. A stiffening of the rule's enforcement is anticipated.

Last year Slive challenged his basketball coaches to upgrade their nonconference schedules and they responded. It's not known if he has any similar edicts in mind for 2010. The highlight for all assembled will be when this year's revenue figures are given out at the end of the meeting. We'll have extensive coverage of the event here on from Destin throughout the week.

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