Five things we learned from last week's SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., where the principals did more than surf and hang-glide. They actually made some news.
1. The SEC is really the Big Bucks League: Before turning in its room key, the league announced the annual monetary distribution for 2014-15 would be a cool $455.8 million. That averages out to $31.2 million per school. That's also an increase from last year's $20.9 million average. That's Mitch Barnhart and every other SEC AD saying, "Cha-ching."
Thank the SEC Network. Launched 10 months ago, the network is already turning a profit. It took the Big Ten Network five years to do that. South Carolina AD Ray Tanner told his board of trustees that school expects to receive $5 million alone from SEC Network proceeds. Most experts believe that figure to be low.
2. With more power, comes more responsibility: Along with the cash, the league announced new crackdowns. One was to improve the league's image. One was to strengthen the league's liability issues.
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On Friday the SEC announced members will no longer be allowed to accept transfers of student-athletes who had been disciplined by their previous school for sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence.
It's a reaction to the recent black eye received when Alabama's Nick Saban accepted transfer Jonathan Taylor, a defensive lineman who had been booted by Georgia after a domestic violence arrest. Lo and behold, Taylor was arrested on a similar charge during his short stay in Tuscaloosa. The accuser later recanted, but the damage was done.
The league also announced a tougher position on fans storming the court after basketball wins or flooding the field after football wins. Schools must now pay a fine of $50,000 for the first offense, $100,000 for the second and $250,000 for the third. Expect to see more security blocking the sidelines in football and the baselines in basketball.
3. Basketball attendance numbers up: In a smart move, the league announced the number of permanent opponents on each team's men's basketball schedule would triple from one to three.
Where Florida was the only permanent home-and-home opponent on Kentucky's schedule the past three seasons, the Cats will now also play Vanderbilt and Tennessee home-and-home each and every season. UK will still play the remaining 10 teams every season, but just two of those will play home-and-home against the Cats, depending on the year.
Kentucky played Tennessee and Vanderbilt just one time each in both 2014 and 2015. Now Knoxville's Thompson-Boling and Nashville's Memorial Gym will welcome the Cats each season. And the other schools' permanent opponents also line up geographically. Makes sense.
4. If you make us do it, we'll do it: The SEC does not approve of college football coaches holding satellite camps at far-off locations. In fact, the conference office bans such camps. And the league has sponsored NCAA legislation that would eliminate the camps' existence altogether.
If the NCAA doesn't pass that legislation, however, the SEC will lift the satellite ban. So just as Ohio State's Urban Meyer is holding a camp at Florida Atlantic University, Steve Spurrier or Gus Malzahn or Kevin Sumlin could hold a camp in Minneapolis.
Truth is they don't want to do that. The South is fertile ground for football recruits. SEC coaches don't want to expand their reach as much as they want to protect their turf. Yankee coach, go home.
5. Bye-bye Mike Slive: Friday was the final official work day for the retiring commissioner. The 74-year-old Slive said it was time to turn over the reins to successor Greg Sankey, a smart guy with some big shoes to fill.
Since succeeding Roy Kramer in 2002, Slive not only built on the expansion Kramer started, his innovative ideas and gravitas brokered the most successful and lucrative period in league history. Not a bad legacy.