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Jumbo Package: SEC Spring Meetings get underway as transfers takes center stage

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All the Alabama news, notes and noise fit to print.

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Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

California: Bad at math. This was a good use of legislative time, I’m sure.

An amendment pitched this week in the California state legislature would cap the salary at state schools for non-faculty positions at $200,000. Coaches are non-faculty positions, so that means college football and basketball coaches (among others) would be subject to the limit. Public hearings would be needed for salaries above that number.

So, let’s ignore the fact that, among Power 5 programs, coaching salaries are paid for by boosters and donors. And, in those cases where the salaries and perks are not fully met, the programs themselves are self-sustaining and more than cover the balance. You think UCLA, with a $6 million dollar football coach and departmental revenue of $100 million dollars is too chuffed about this? I doubt it. What about administrators? Most Provosts and Presidents aren’t faculty positions either. But, you think someone’s going to run a school with a $14-billion dollar endowment, in California of all places, for what would essentially be pauper’s wages in LA? Hell, $200,000 won’t even buy you half of a strength coach in Alabama.

Greg Schroeder at USA Today interviewed Saban on a wide range of topics. As usual, CNS was terse in dryly humorous way. I liked the initial response he had to the CFP Committee:

Q: Would you like to be on the College Football Playoff selection committee if you were retired?

A: Would I like to be? Not really. I haven’t ever really thought a lot about what I’d like to do if I wasn’t doing this, aight? But that’s not something that I’m aspiring to be a part. But if I wasn’t — I’d love to be involved in the game, you know, even if I’m not coaching. So maybe that would be one of the ways that I could stay involved in the game. So I shouldn’t make an emotional response.

The SEC meetings get underway this week — in the midst of a subtropical storm. And that’s a fitting analogy, because the league will be discussing inter alia how gambling will affect its sports, and the bugbear in the room: Player transfers.

What is likely to be passed next month is a rule giving players the ability to “notify” their coaches of a transfer rather than receive “permission” to do so. That would end what is at least a half-century tradition in major-college sports. The SEC is expected to vote this week on a proposal that would allow athletes to transfer from one SEC school to another if the originating school imposes or is penalized with a postseason ban. Call it the Ole Miss Rule considering wide receiver Van Jefferson is still waiting to learn whether he can play immediately at Florida. Less likely to pass is an academic benchmark for that immediate transfer. Commissioner Greg Sankey says the transfer issue is “front and center” this week.

I do agree that the Ole Miss rule is likely to be passed. And it should. It’s always been terribly punitive. But, I depart with Dodds on a critical point. I don’t think the league is going to permit free agency via the mere notification of a prospective transfer by a player. There is too much money at stake, too much recruiting to be done, too much roster uncertainty, and too many very loud, powerful voices — including one in Tuscaloosa — to let that happen. You have to think LSU, intent on walling off Louisiana, would be natural allies in the fight to keep players on campus. Expect Auburn to vote for it, of course. Where else in the SEC are thieving transfers apt to find time at quarterback?

Tua is back and appears to be healthy, throwing at a private quarterback retreat.

How is this for freaky: Alabama Football and LeBron James’ fates are interwoven like the leaves of a clover.

Every year in the Saban era that Alabama has hoisted the trophy, LeBron has done the same at Miaimi and Cleveland.

Also on the injury front, RT Matt Womack, who missed Spring to injury, is finally healthy again and should be available when camp opens in just two months:

The right side of Alabama’s offensive line will look different and should be better once the Crimson Tide begins fall camp in August.

Though Alabama coaches are excited about the potential of sophomores Jedrick Wills and Alex Leatherwood, that right side of the line wasn’t great during the spring as those two worked through some growing pains. So Tide coaches are surely happy that they’ll soon have Matt Womack back in the mix along the offensive line.

The issue for Womack was always going to be fending off Wills and Leatherwood — missing a month of football did not help his cause. I suspect he will need a monster summer to nail down the start, despite holding down the fort quite well last season.

BOL / 247’s Hank South takes a look at recruiting needs for Alabama entering 2019, and what questions remain unanswered for the nation’s presently-top class. Recruitniks will enjoy this one.