SEC Spring Meetings News, Notes, & Various Internet Chatter - Early Signing Period, FCS Scheduling, Mike Slive's Belt, Much More

USA TODAY Sports

DESTINSANITY!! There were lots of big topics getting discussed in Destin yesterday. Here's a compilation of the more interesting pieces we could find.

Early Signing Period For Football?

It's not happening immediately, but it feels like that's the direction things are headed toward. All the SEC coaches seem to be coming around to the idea in theory. The big question may not be whether or not it happens but when the early signing day would take place on the calendar. The proposal that will be forwarded to conference ADs and presidents from the coaches will be for a signing day of December 1st, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  The ACC proposed an early signing day in August at their spring meetings.

As we mentioned in the Bielema review article, Bielema came out in support of an August signing day, which is a significant departure from Bobby Petrino's stance of opposing the early signing period - a stance he reiterated to the ACC this year. It will be interesting to see how this topic develops in coming years.

Should the SEC Ban Scheduling FCS Teams?

Mike Slive said he won't forbid the league from scheduling FCS teams, but Will Muschamp said he intends not to schedule any more. Nick Saban said he doesn't want to play them but has difficulty filling out his schedule. Hugh Freeze said he came up through those smaller schools and understands "the value" these games give them. Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier believe in playing them to help the lower level in-state football programs financially.

Bret Bielema said he'd like to avoid those games if possible, but they've been a fixture on Arkansas' schedule for years now and Nicholls State will be filling that role in 2014. The 2015 schedule has not yet been finalized.

Personally, I've always felt like teams can get away with crappy non conference opponents in the season opener just because everyone's so desperate for an actual game. But after the first week, schedule respectably.

Should the SEC End The Ban On Graduate Transfers?

The league is considering ending one of the last remnants of Houston Nutt's legacy by possibly ending the ban on graduate student transfers. The SEC instituted the ban when former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was kicked off the Ducks, transferred to Ole Miss under the guise of their parks and rec graduate program (which Oregon didn't offer) so he could play immediately, and promptly led them to a losing season anyway. The SEC is considering bringing it back but with more regulations to prevent that type of scenario from happening again.

Nick Saban Wants Selection Committee To Place All Bowl Teams By Ranking System

We're not just talking about the playoffs or the New Year's bowls. Saban wants the committee to name teams to all 30 some-odd bowl games, and to remove the 6-6 criteria from bowl eligibility. He wants the committee to act like the basketball selection committee and take schedule strength into consideration when determining a 7-5 team from a weak, minor conference compared to a 5-7 team from, say, the SEC. As a Razorback fan whose AD is the chair of the committee, I think I could get behind this.

Andy Kennedy Wants To Remove Fouling Out From Basketball

The Ole Miss coach wants the change the penalty for a player's 5th foul from fouling out to, on the 5th and any subsequent fouls, the opposing team gets two free throws and maintains possession. Okey-dokey. Now, I'm sure this has no chance of passing, but you have to give him credit for thinking outside the box, I guess.

Billy Donovan Open To Leaving Florida?

We went through this back in 2007 when Donovan Dana Altman'd the Orlando Magic, but he's now saying the NBA "is intriguing in a lot of ways." He also won't guarantee he's going to stick around in Gainesville, although he does plan on staying there as of right now. But it does sound like he'd be willing to at least listen to a good offer.

SEC Basketball Tournaments To St. Louis & Tampa:

The SEC officially announced it would take it's basketball tournament on the road to St. Louis in 2018 and to Tampa in 2022. These two sites had long been rumored but it's now official. I think St. Louis could be cool. It's obviously fine for the Missouri, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky crowds who won't have to travel crazy far to get there, and they also happen to be most of the programs with the most passionate basketball fans in the SEC. But Tampa is awful. It's good for Florida and that's it. At least it's only going to be once in this rotation. Nashville will host the tournament every year other than these two.

What About Autonomy?

Figuring out how to move forward with the new Power Five Conference structure, which would include these specific topics: funding the full cost of scholarships, handling health care issues for student-athletes, redoing transfer rules for student-athletes, providing money to student-athletes' families for travel to sporting events, and decreasing the demands on student-athletes during the season. Most of that hasn't seemed to come up too much yet, but there's still time this week.

But really, all anyone wanted to talk about was Mike Slive's belt:

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