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July 14, 2014

Slive features former Gator in introductory speech



Ever the walking historian, Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive quoted Dwight D. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill when discussing how college football's Big Five conferences should be treated differently than the sport's smaller schools. But he introduced the popular topic of autonomy by discussing a figure Florida fans know well.

Slive called recently graduated Florida center Patric Young an example of a student-athlete who made the most of his college experience. He rattled through his numerous accomplishments on and off the basketball court.

"Student-athletes like Patric inspire us to protect intercollegiate athletics," Slive said. "We do this for young people who want the opportunity to get an education, compete in sports and ultimately make a difference in people's lives."

But in order for opportunities to be fair to "the generations of Patrics to come" - as Slive called them - he said the NCAA has to change. Most notably, a separate set of criteria has to be established for the Big Five conferences - the SEC, Big 12, Pac 12, ACC and Big 10 - that would allow them to vote separately from "mid-major" conferences and establish their own rules.

This is primarily brought about by the desire to offer student-athletes greater financial assistance during their time at college; something unrealistic for smaller programs but necessary at larger schools that profit off college athletics and find it necessary.

"This is not a new idea for us," Slive said of the SEC's intentions. "We seek to support the educational needs of our student-athletes through the provisions linked to cost of attendance rather than the historic model of tuition fees, board and books."

Slive again threatened that the Big Five conferences could break free of FBS and form a new establishment if autonomy is not agreed upon.

"We are not deaf to the din of discontent across intercollegiate athletics that has dominated the news," Slive said.

OTHER SLIVE NOTES

- On the SEC Network: "Rest assured, there are ongoing, significant conversations with other major (cable) providers. This is a commercial. I strongly encourage anyone interested in the SEC Network to visit GetSECNetwork.com."

- Slive announced a string of topics that will be profiled in the continuation of the "SEC Storied" documentary series. Among those topics: Steve Spurrier.

- On bowl games, Slive discussed the College Football Playoff and the Sugar Bowl as the two most prestigious postseason options for SEC teams. After those games are sorted out, the Capital One Bowl will get to pick which SEC team it would like in its game. The Belk Bowl, the Liberty Bowl, the Music City Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the TaxSlayer Bowl and the Texas Bowl, will then be put into a pool in which the SEC itself decides who goes to what bowl games. "The conference will consult with our institutions and with the bowls, but the decision will be ours."


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