SEC Meetings Notebook - Day 2

DESTIN, Fla. - SEC football and basketball coaches said goodbye to Destin without seeing any of their major concerns lead to action. Proposals to create an early signing period for football and alter the setup for the conference's basketball tournament both lacked enough consensus to get off the drawing board.

Football coaches have been pushing for an early signing period for several years without success. The issue which seems to be the current sticking point is where on the calendar would be the best place to put it.

"The mid-December one we're not necessarily in agreement on," said LSU head coach Les Miles. "The opportunity to find an early signing date that doesn't totally change the calendar and how we coach our team through the year is something we're very much searching for."

Miles thinks mid-November would be an effective date. Other schools, including South Carolina, are opposed to the early signing concept altogether. Without a consensus on how to execute the idea, those who disagree with the whole concept won the battle.

There's a clear difference of opinion among the SEC's basketball coaches on how to handle the possibility of reseeding the conference basketball tournament. In the wake of the SEC East's top four teams dominating the West last season, the possibility of doing away with divisions altogether was floated and dismissed. That was where the consensus ended. Some coaches, including Mississippi State's Rick Stansbury, want to leave the current setup alone. Tennessee's Bruce Pearl disagreed.

"Regardless of divisions, your best teams should be given the best seeds."

According to Pearl only two other conferences - the MAC and Southland - use the same conference tournament format as the SEC rather than seeding by conference record or only protecting division winners.

Eliminating the current format with first day byes for the second place teams in both divisions in favor of the two teams with the best records other than a division champ was discussed, as was just rewarding the four best conference records overall. In the end, with no consensus reached the idea was tabled for another year.

"After a lot of discussion we didn't feel like it was something we felt good enough about that one way is the right one," said South Carolina coach Darrin Horn.


Joker Phillips attended his first SEC event as the head football coach of Kentucky. After serving as head coach in waiting and offensive coordinator under Rich Brooks, being the man in charge took a little getting used to for him.

"The reality hit me when I came off the road and went back to my office. There's four players waiting, there's a video guy waiting, there's two assistants waiting, there's some support people all waiting in line to get at you," said Phillips. "It ranged from 'can I buy this video equipment?' to 'can I change my number'. That's when the reality hit me that I was in charge."

Phillips says he's been frequently confused in public with former Gator defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, now the head coach at Louisville. "I guess we all look alike" joked Phillips.


One item that hasn't been voted on yet is potential changes to the SEC's policy on artificial noisemakers, but there has been discussion of whether further action is needed to deal with Mississippi State's cowbells. Steve Spurrier referred to the current policy as "a good rule", pointing out that it would be easy these days to have push button noisemakers louder than cowbells if the rule was relaxed. What, if anything, can be done about Bulldog fans bring cowbells is unclear. The issue will be voted on by presidents at their final meeting on Friday.

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