Vote on roster management expected

semerson@macon.comJune 3, 2011 

DESTIN, Fla. -- SEC presidents were set to “hunker down” with their athletics directors Thursday night, then vote Friday on the most visible issue on their plate.

The roster management issues in football -- specifically over-signing and gray-shirting -- have dominated discussion this week. That was apparently also the case when the presidents met for the first time on Thursday.

“There was vigorous discussion and lengthy discussion,” South Carolina’s Harris Pastides said. “And I think you’ll see the presidents (Thursday) hunker down with their athletic directors and come together for a vote on that, as well.”

The main point of contention is a proposal to limit each signing class to 25, three fewer than it is now.

The big concern, according to Pastides, is whether the SEC would be going too far away from other conferences, leaving it at a competitive disadvantage.

“I think what’s good for the SEC oughta be good for the NCAA and vice versa. I think it’d be awkward to have one rule over here and another rule in another conference,” Pastides said. “I think most of the discussion was around if we go first and we do something that is viewed as restrictive and conservative, would that be a challenge for the rest of the country and to the other leagues. Or might we just be left out there as the only league. And we decided to do what was best for the college athlete. And I think that’s what we’ll vote (Friday).”

NCAA president Mark Emmert was in Destin and met with the presidents, but Pastides said they didn’t specifically discuss over-signing. On Wednesday, Emmert told The Telegraph that it was “fine” for conferences to have different standards.

“The way it works with a whole array of issues is the NCAA sets a national standard and then if conferences want to be more restrictive then they can be,” Emmert said. “So if the SEC or any other conference wants to have a more restrictive approach to that, then they’re welcome to do so. That’s a local decision that they can make.”

Georgia game times announced

In a bit of a surprise, the Georgia-South Carolina game Sept. 10 will start at 4:30 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN, the SEC announced.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt had told Bulldogs fans on his speaking tour that it would be a night game. And 4:30 p.m. isn’t a common starting time.

Meanwhile, the Georgia-Florida game on Oct. 29 was picked up by CBS and will be a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. That has been the case for a number of years.

Georgia’s opener against Boise State has already been announced as an 8 p.m. start time on ESPN.

Richt on Mettenberger

Richt is still supportive on former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger, despite the circumstances under which he had to leave.

A reporter from Louisiana asked Richt about Mettenberger, who has transferred to LSU and could start there this year.

“He’s very intelligent. He’s very talented. And I think he’s a great kid,” Richt said. “I think he had an episode where he had some bad judgment, like a lot of us have had over our lifetimes. And I think he’s learned from it. I’d let him baby-sit my kids, I’ll tell you that, if that helps.”

Mettenberger was dismissed from the Georgia football team last year after spring practice following an undisclosed violation. That followed an incident when Mettenberger was arrested outside a Valdosta bar on five misdemeanors.

Ealey to FBS school

Former Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey is headed to Jacksonville State, that school confirmed. UGA announced last month that Ealey, the team’s leading rusher the past two seasons, would be transferring after a series of off-field incidents.

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