It was a rather uneventful week at this year's SEC spring meetings.
That is probably what the SEC would prefer.
The major topic at hand had to do with graduate transfers, with two major changes taking place in the SEC.
For a graduate transfer to be admitted to the conference, he or she no longer has to meet all of the required APR points at the previous institution. And programs will now only be penalized with a one-year ban of accepting graduate transfers instead of three years if an already-accepted graduate transfer doesn't meet his or her academic requirements after admission.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
While that served as the major item on the legislative agenda, there were a few other items discussed. In the end, here are three things learned following a week of discussion at this year's SEC spring meetings.
Coaches want more say in recruiting rules
The only SEC coach to say anything remotely positive about the new recruiting rules was Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. And his take was about prospects having more leverage with an early signing period since they won’t have to worry about having a scholarship pulled at the last second.
Otherwise, the new NCAA recruiting rules — which feature an early signing period from Dec. 20-22 and the allowance of official visits to begin on April 1 — have not gone over well with this conference.
The arguments mainly focus on the timing of the early signing period and spring official visits. Multiple SEC coaches pointed out that the early signing period conflicts with recruits who are in the midst of chasing a state championship while studying for final exams.
Bielema said it wasn't smart to host official visits during the spring of a prospect's junior year, which is arguably the most important one academically.
A major problem, as the coaches saw it, is that they didn't have much of a say when the NCAA approved these new rules. This brought a lot of questions to the table during the SEC spring meetings.
“It’s obviously going to take some getting used to,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “I know in our group, the coaches would like a little more of a voice in the rules.”
Georgia's proposal tabled rather than voted on
It was interesting to see Georgia's proposed rule on graduate transfers tabled instead of voted down.
Of course, university presidents vote on the rule changes and not the coaches. But coaches hold strong influences on these topics, and many of these coaches were not in favor of allowing graduate transfers to move from one SEC school to another without a waiver of penalty.
The fear among coaches is that this would create free agency in the league. Georgia basketball head coach Mark Fox said that while he wasn't against the proposal, his meeting room was not in favor of it.
Fox cited, with the help of a joke, that coaches and other members of one program could wind up recruiting upcoming graduates with a year of eligibility in the handshake line at the end of games.
While Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart has voiced his support for such a rule, every other coach in his sport asked about it had reservations. And that's what made tabling the rule somewhat surprising considering it seemed like it would be voted down.
But having the potential rule change put off a year to allow an NCAA task force to study this particular issue is something Georgia's brass is fine with.
“Giving the NCAA the opportunity to study this issue more thoroughly is a reasonable outcome,” UGA president Jere Morehead said.
Coaches on board with redshirt changes
While there was plenty of dissension on certain items, one item football coaches were in favor of was being able to redshirt athletes who competed in up to four games in the regular season.
Asked about this in his final news conference Friday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference was “positively inclined” toward this potential change.
As it stands now, a player who does not experience a major injury during a season loses a redshirt if he plays in only one game, although a waiver does exist to allow for exceptions. For example, Georgia offensive lineman Solomon Kindley played one snap against Missouri in 2016 but was still granted a redshirt.
This is a rule coaches would like to see changed since it would offer a little more flexibility to various roster decisions.
“I think we all have to learn more,” Sankey said. “The feedback this week was positive, with still any number of question marks around the idea.”