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The SEC Spring Meetings got it right...until they didn’t

Rule changes are coming in several key areas

<p zoompage-fontsize="15">NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The focus in last week’s SEC Spring meetings were largely on the issue of player transfers.

Last Friday, Josh covered the two substantive changes that, in the interest of fairness, had to be made: the unconscionable practice of limiting transfers after student-athletes have earned their degrees, and the Ole Miss rule — permitting intra-conference transfers, without penalty, when a team is ineligible for post-season play owing to a violation of NCAA rules.

The rest of the legislative proposals were a mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Here’s what the SEC got right, and where it whiffed.

Prop 1: In football, to specify that specified forms of artificial noise shall not be used from the time the offensive center puts a hand on the football until the football has been snapped.

MISS: The SEC had the perfect opportunity (again) to silence the cretinous, deafening clang of cowbells. Instead, the league was more concerned about “specified forms of artificial noise” (a la P.A. systems and bands) and left in place the inequitable, four-hour long auditory nightmare of cowbells in Davis Wade Stadium. Ben covered this very issue in today’s QotD, if you want to weigh in on alternative suggestions. What’s good for the goose has to be good for the gander here, right?

Prop 6: To eliminate postseason complimentary admissions limitations to allow all student-athletes who are eligible for competition to receive up to six complimentary admissions in accordance with NCAA legislation.

HUGE MISS: The next time an administrator tells you that they are focused on the needs of student-athletes, just remember this little nugget of penny-pinching cruelty by the SEC’s purblind ticketing directors. The NCAA passed legislation permitting up to six free admissions per student-athlete. The SEC declined to extend that tiny bit of gratis to its players. There was an opportunity in place for the conference to actually provide a meaningful benefit to students and their families, but the relatively small amount of money at stake here was just too much to pass up. Feel free to blow up their inboxes and voicemails over this one. It was an act as petty as it was venal.

Prop 9 (2017), Prop 9, and Prop 10 B:

Prop 9 (2017): To provide an exception to the intra-conference transfer rule for graduate transfers who enroll in a graduate or professional school at a member institution other than the member institution from which he or she received a baccalaureate degree.

Prop 10 B: To specify that a student-athlete enrolled at a member institution that is prohibited by the NCAA or the SEC from participating in postseason competition shall not be subject to intra-conference transfer restrictions.

Prop 9 (2018): To specify that an individual who has requested and received a release from a signed SEC Financial Aid Agreement shall no longer be subject to the terms and conditions of SEC Bylaw 15.01.2 or the SEC Financial Aid Agreement.

WINS ALL THE WAY AROUND: The first two address grad transfer restrictions and the Ole Miss rule, respectively. They were both long overdue and the moral thing to do here. (But, hey, don’t ask for a ticket the NCAA otherwise-entitles you to at your new school, kid.)

The latter Prop 9 (2018) mitigates a particularly harsh rule for student-athletes who had signed an aid letter with an SEC program. The old rule stated that student who had signed an aid letter, and enrolled, but then attended and did not complete a semester, or who bailed before the semester began, would be ineligible for aid at another SEC member institution for two full years.

Damn. Gotta’ read that fineprint, kids.

NCAA Prop 4: In football, to specify that a coaching staff member or a non-coaching staff member with football specific responsibilities shall not be involved in any capacity with a football club that includes prospective student-athletes.

Mixed bag: Call this one the Butch Jones or Burton Burns rule. This is a no-contact rule between recruits and analysts or front office personnel on the staff. On the main, this isn’t a big deal -- only field coaches are permitted to recruit. But it’s small-minded and directed at one program in particular, a program that rhymes with Shmalabama -- now recruits can’t even meet the entire football staff on their OVs.

NCAA Prop 7: In baseball and softball, to increase, from three to four, the limit on the number of coaches who may be employed by an institution and who may contact or evaluate prospective student-athletes off-campus. Further, to specify that an institution may not utilize the services of a volunteer coach in baseball or softball.

Big, big win: If there is any sport that has been hamstrung by lack of development and coaching staffs stretched too thin, it is collegiate baseball. For decades, we’ve operated under the legal fiction (and attendant money-laundering) of “volunteer coaches.” This increases the coaching staff by 25% for softball and baseball. Happy Birthday, Roger.

Feel free to chime in below. What did they get right? Wrong? When will the NCAA just append an “Alabama Rules” section to the bylaws?