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Jumbo Package: Wrapping Up the SEC Spring Meeting

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Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and other notes.

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NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Kentucky vs Alabama Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The SEC spring meeting will finish up in Destin today. As usual, new rules with a myriad of unintended consequences were the topic du jour. We will open, however, with some Tide basketball news:

The Alabama men’s basketball team will play home-and-home conference games against Auburn, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, as the SEC announced each school’s league opponents for the 2017-18 hoops season Thursday morning.

That schedule is about as close to a best-case scenario as possible. Of the five teams that made the NCAA tournament last season, the Tide will play only Florida more than once. They will also get to host Missouri, who like Alabama is getting some preseason love in the rankings after bringing in a stellar recruiting class, headlined by consensus #1 overall recruit Michael Porter, Jr.

There was some additional scheduling news as well:

Arizona looks to be the preseason #1 according to most publications. An early trip to Tucson will provide some great experience to prep the young Tide for a run in the SEC.

John Petty’s coach, Jack Doss, compared John Petty to Dominique Wilkins, and he’s been coaching for a while. What kind of talent do you see in John Petty?

“Well I don’t know about Dominique. I would say more of Clyde Drexler. A slasher, still can shoot, can pass the ball. He’s an underrated passer and decision-maker and as I alluded to earlier, that’s what we need. Dominique was more of a power dunker, small forward. I look at John as being more of a Clyde Drexler.”

I mean, either will be fine, John. We aren’t picky.

On to football:

Hurts was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, but his inadequacies as a passer were obvious, particularly on the national championship stage. In a lot of ways, Hurts' athleticism stifled his development as a passer. Lane Kiffin leaned on the RPO and Hurts as a runner to move the football and never really took the reins off of the young quarterback as a passer.

Daboll came to Alabama from a pass-happy New England Patriots system and the Alabama spring game showcased a new-look, wide-open pass game. Hurts has all the tools to grow rapidly as a thrower and Daboll is the guy to breathe oxygen into his game, allowing that pass-game element to take off.

Jalen’s potential improvement aside, this will not be a wide open passing offense. If the 2017 team is to make another playoff run, it will need to establish its identity in the run game.

The problem for all those who believe they can legislate parity into existence—and that’s most of the people in college athletics—is that no matter how many rules they make, it won’t make them smarter than Saban or Harbaugh or Meyer or Swinney. Whatever they decide, the best coaches in the business will adapt and keep the existing power dynamic in place. That’s why they need to ditch the staff size discussion before they waste an entire winter and spring on it in a few months.

I can’t stress this enough.

"I think it's reckless, really," Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze said.

Added Alabama's Nick Saban: "Sometimes we take a sledgehammer to kill a fly and it has some unintended consequences, which we may see here sometime in the future."

The Collegiate Commissioners Association early last month approved a new signing period for high school seniors, allowing football players to sign national letters of intent six weeks earlier than previous years. The NCAA passed the legislation in April and needed the CCA, which administers national letters of intent, to sign off on the reforms.

The coaches don’t like the December signing period at all, and unanimously object to the new rule that restricts the hiring of high school coaches of recruited players. Earlier in the week, someone asked Saban about the rule that supposedly prevents transfers within the conference from gaining immediate eligibility:

Interpret that comment how you will.

Alabama four-star freshman wide receiver Henry Ruggs will also be part of the Crimson Tide track and field team, it was announced Thursday.

The Montgomery native won the Alabama Class 7A championship in the 100-meter dash in May with a meet-record time of 10.58.

Surprised that no one has proposed a rule limiting the amount of speed Saban can recruit.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Shawn Jennings is no longer a member of the Alabama football program, according to a report from

The younger brother of outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings, Jennings was a three-star athlete at Dadeville (Ala.) High School during the 2016 cycle, per the 247Sports Composite.

Young Shawn was playing linebacker and had a very difficult path to playing time. Good luck to him.

Under the current rules, recruits can take up to five official visits but have to be at different schools. There's never been a particularly compelling reason why that's the case; it's just the way it is.

In Bielema's scenario, a recruit would able to do more due diligence on a school without having to pay out of pocket. Recruits can take as many unofficial visits as they want to a school but that's cost prohibitive, and not everyone can afford to make those trips. Allowing a recruit to take two official visits to the same school gives him more knowledge and perspective as to whether that school is the right fit.

This is an interesting idea. If a player knows he is down to a couple of schools, why not let him take more than one official visit to each? For that matter, why cap it at five? Make it ten and allow them to visit a single school three times.

The violations are for:

Providing lodging and transportation to Ole Miss Football recruits worth $2,200, and meals worth $235

Providing false information knowingly about recruiting violations when asked by the NCAA and Ole Miss Football

Boosters contacting one athlete committed to another NCAA football program, and allowed a cash payment(s) to that athlete worth $13-15,000

Distributing athletic gear, courtesy of a company owned by an Ole Miss booster, to recruits

Yeah, that will get you in some trouble.

"I reflect on my 30 years at ESPN and continue to count my blessings each time I walk on the College GameDay set," Corso said in a release issued by the network. "The fans keep me energized, and being surrounded by such a talented and dynamic GameDay crew is the best medicine for this old coach."

ESPN is making some surprising cuts, but the College GameDay crew will remain intact. May we all have sufficient health to sign a multi-year contract at that age - to do literally anything.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.