SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Due For an Investigation, Ego Check

Kevin ScottCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2009

It's a common joke amongst fans of many Southeastern Conference schools that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is favorable to certain schools, namely Florida and Alabama. Some word it different ways, my personal favorite is in this story from

This joke is now taking on a notoriously solid form, and it's really not all that funny anymore.  

Every season, all eyes are on the SEC as it's constantly referred to as the nation's premier football conference for both on-field performance and the passion of its fans.  

The track record of the SEC in BCS Championship games serves as a solid foundation for this argument, as the conference champion is an overwhelming 5-0 when it plays in that game since the BCS came to be in 1998.

Since striking a multi-billion dollar deal with ESPN, the SEC is getting more attention than ever, as fans across the nation who used to not watch it, are now having the SEC shoved down their throats.

Don't get me wrong, the SEC is the dominant force in college football and anyone who says otherwise is peeing in the wind. This is all the more reason why the SEC and its commissioner must be held to a high standard at all times, especially when it comes to the integrity of the game.

In recent weeks, multiple coaches in the conference have publicly lashed out at the officiating in conference games, knowing it's against SEC bylaws. All of these coaches were victims of horrendous missed calls, mythical penalties, and disturbing patterns in the officiating of their game.

Most fans in the south will immediately throw this on Lane Kiffin of Tennessee, but other coaches like Bobby Petrino of Arkansas, Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, and Dan Mullen of Mississippi State have made similar remarks in the media, and just as strong.

Today, in response the multiple reprimands of league coaches, the SEC released this statement.

"In a unanimous vote of the Southeastern Conference’s Athletic Directors and with the full support of the Conference’s twelve Presidents and Chancellors, all violations of SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 will be enforced by suspensions and fines, effective immediately.

The length of the suspension and the amount of the fine will be at the discretion of the Commissioner.

SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 requires that coaches, assistant coaches, players, support personnel and others associated with the institution’s athletics program refrain from public criticism of officials. 

Head coaches are advised that suspensions and fines for violations of Bylaw 10.5.4 made by assistant coaches or other support personnel will be enforced against the head coach.

“There are proper channels available for head coaches to use when communicating officiating concerns to the Conference office,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.

In other words, Mike Slive is heading an effort to tell coaches they either can't talk about the blatant cheating that is going on with conference officials, or they face suspension and fines if they stand up for their players.

This move is particularly troubling since all of the calls being complained about have come in games against Alabama and, you guessed it, Florida.

Perhaps Slive should take pause, and not Lane Kiffin.  Maybe, just maybe, Slive should address the corrupt officiating before he scapegoats the coaches of his member institutions.

As I stated earlier, the whole country is watching and the whole country is laughing.  

Slive has had to suspend a crew to try and save face for the Arkansas vs Florida game. Arkansas was called for unnecessary roughness is what was the most blatantly terrible call of the season as far as live flags go. It was almost as if the officials were going to find something, anything to get Florida that critical yardage and first down.

In the Florida game at Mississippi State, Gator LB Dustin Doe intercepted a tipped ball to seal the game. On his way to a sure touchdown, Doe started doing what all classy athletes do, high stepping and dancing.

Doe wasn't flagged for his celebration, shocking I know, but that isn't the issue. The issue is that a Bulldog caught Doe and stripped him of the ball before crossing the goal line. I mean, this wasn't even really close, and if you don't believe me here are some snapshots that can't be argued, thanks again to

By now, everyone has seen the field goal block by Alabama on Tennessee in the closing seconds to seal that game a thousand times. But, when you watched it, did you notice that after the block the left back judge points out the ball to an Alabama player who can't find it?

Bad judgement calls happen, but pointing the ball out to a player during a live play in order to help one team gain an advantage is as crooked and wrong as it gets. That official should be fired on the spot, and without question.

When games mean so much and winning and losing one game can mean the difference in millions of dollars, it's unacceptable that calls like this take place and aren't corrected when they easily could be.

Every major sports show has now run stories and segments on the officiating in the SEC with the same evidence I've brought up here. It's nothing new, it's out there and Mike Slive can't run from it. Simply telling your coaches to shut up doesn't make it go away.

Earlier this Spring, the SEC revised a rule to say no media would be allowed at camps. On the following weekend, publishers of were allowed at the Florida camp and Florida faced no consequence whatsoever. This was just another in a long line of inappropriate behavior by Mike Slive in regards to Florida and Alabama.

In college football, the stakes are high. Not only are the advertising dollars tremendous, college football funnels a lot of money into the academic side of the institutions, not to mention every coaches' livelihood basically comes and goes with wins and losses.

For Mike Slive, who could also be known as Mrs. Jeremy Foley, to point his fingers at coaches like they should just take it is worth of some questions being asked.  

The SEC is already a hated conference due to its success and the accolades poured upon it, but now fans around the country have fuel to scream about the SEC offices forcing its officials to fix the season in order to get a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the SEC Championship game.

The 2008 SEC Championship game, which was also No. 1 vs. No. 2, drew a 9.3/20 TV rating, which was the highest the SECCG has gotten since 1994. At one point in the game, the rating climbed as high as 11.1/21.

What does that mean? In short, money. That game was the highest rated non-bowl game on CBS since 1990, and that's a lot of great football games.  By comparison, the BCS National Championship game drew a 15.8, not drastically higher.

There are some disturbing trends in the officiating of the SEC that signal an attempt at fixing a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of Florida vs Alabama, and there are clearly benefits to getting that matchup as the TV ratings from last season suggest.  

Mike Slive's move today only makes me wonder more what's going on behind the curtain, and I want to find out. If there's nothing to hide, then address the mistakes publicly.

Florida and Alabama are both great football teams, but if they are going to play in the SECCG as undefeated teams, let them earn it.

As a fan of the greatest conference in the country, the last thing I want to see is Mike Slive bring corruption into the fold. To a lot of people, not just opposing SEC fans, it's time someone investigates exactly what Mike Slive has going on in his offices.








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