SEC Rolls Out Academic Review

DESTIN – In response to a growing number of "diploma mills" around the country, the SEC passed another level of academic review Friday that gives Commissioner Mike Slive the ability to deem an athlete ineligible.

"I think the main thing is just making sure we have academic integrity in our conference," Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said. "We don't want to have any perceived academic fraud by any institution."

If a signed player triggers one of eight academic flags, including attendance at any nontraditional school, an SEC school will have to compile a complete review of that athlete's academic history. That review will then be forwarded to the school's president to determine enrollment and eligibility issues.

After the president makes a ruling, the case will be forwarded to the SEC office, where Slive will make the final ruling on eligibility. Each school will retain the say on enrollment issues.

If Slive declares an athlete ineligible, every SEC school will be notified of the ruling.

Later this month, the NCAA is expected to release a list of schools that are not viable academic institutions and will not be accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

"It would not surprise me to ultimately see NCAA legislation look a lot like this legislation," said UGA president Michael Adams, who is the outgoing president of the SEC.

The SEC won't address athletes already attending or signed to play at conference schools.

"We did not feel we had enough information in every case or that legislation had not been passed to go back retroactively," Adams said.

The new legislation won't have much effect at Georgia, Evans said.

"There's always the possibility of things falling through the cracks, but, over the last three to five years, we've really scrutinized kids that come in," he said. "This new proposal will kind of reiterate some of the things we've been doing at Georgia."

Adams does not expect Slive to wield his veto power often overall, either.

"There have been three or four instances in this conference that several people thought determined a second look at transcript reliability or test score reliability. We're not dealing with something that is pervasive."

MONEY BAGS: Once again, the SEC has recorded record profits and announced Friday it will distribute $116.1 million among its 12 schools. It's the highest total in league history and a 4.4 percent increase from last year.

The total comes from $47.4 million of football television contracts, $20.7 million from bowl games, $18.3 millions from NCAA championships, $13.2 million from the league's football championship game, $12.1 million from basketball television contracts and $4.4 million from the conference men's basketball tournament.

Each school will receive $9.68 million.

"There were some smiles the last three days," Slive said.

POLICY CHANGE: The SEC amended its transfer eligibility rule to take advantage of a new NCAA rule that will allow graduated students to transfer with no penalty. Previously, a student-athlete needed two years of eligibility to transfer into a member school but that was reduced to one.

SCHOOL DAYS: Two class attendance policies were tabled for the second straight year. The first would have mandated that each SEC school have a written attendance policy. That rule wouldn't affect Georgia, which already has a policy stating a student-athlete will be suspended for 10 percent of his or her season following a fifth absence.

The second rule would have made official a longstanding unwritten rule that athletic teams can miss no more than 20 percent of their classes for sports participation.

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