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June 1, 2011

Basketball may be in line for changes

DESTIN, Fla. | While much of the attention at the annual Southeastern Conference Meetings in Destin has been on football, there may be some significant changes coming in men's basketball with the possibility that divisional play will be a thing of the past.

The more likely near-term change, however, would involve changing the way the annual SEC Tournament is seeded.

"The schedule is already set for next year," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday.

"Any change to the (divisional) format would have to come later on.

"I do think we need to start some discussion about the format of divisions and about going from a 16-game to an 18-game schedule.

"As far as changing the tournament, that is something we could implement this year."

Various formats could be implemented if a tournament change is approved.

Most would use league records as a basis for seeding, although Florida coach Billy Donavan had the idea of seeding the tournament based on a team's RPI.

Asked about that proposal, a bemused Slive answered that "as I have said many times, the First Amendment is alive and well."

Football oversigning

Roster management was the hot topic going into the SEC meetings, but it was obvious that proposals for change were hardly appealing to most coaches in the league. Even the head coaches at the two institutions most closely associated with reducing the allowable number of signees were no more than lukewarm about the proposals.

"I am going to listen before I make up my mind," said Georgia coach Mark Richt.

"I have gone in before thinking one way about an issue and after hearing another person's viewpoint, I have changed my mind. So I am going to listen."

Richt also contradicted the viewpoint that he was "against" Alabama head coach Nick Saban and others who are opposed to changes in the current signing rules.

"First of all, I think everyone should have a right to manage their own numbers," Richt said. "I think every university should be able to do that. If you only have room for 20 and you sign 25 and then you come up in June and tell two or three of them that you don't have room for them, then I think that is wrong. But if everyone involved, the prospect, the parents and the high school coach all know the situation up front, and the prospect wants to enroll in the next semester, I don't have a problem with that.

"That's all I have ever said."

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said he was "very comfortable" with the current SEC policy, which allows schools to sign 28 players to National Letters of Intent each February.

"We amended (the 28 limit) a year ago, and a lot of thought went into it at time. So for us to want to turn around and change it again one year later, I am not sure we have given it enough time to see if it's broke or not."


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