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July 17, 2012

Mike Slive kicks off SEC Media Days by touting SEC’s progress, illustrating new issues.

Mike Slive kicked off SEC Media Days with his traditional opening address, an outline that served mostly to update the issues that have already dominated the summer; the possibility of an SEC Network, the Champions Bowl and ongoing recruiting issues among other things.

But Slive also took the time to address the Penn State scandal, which hit the news hard again with the release of the Freeh Report last week.

In a conference built on big-time, power football programs, Slive cautioned that every institution needs to be careful not to allow the same to happen elsewhere, although he offered no hard and fast ways to prevent the situation.

“Last week’s headlines reminded us that we must be ever-vigilant on issues of integrity,” Slive said. “No one program, no one person, no matter how powerful, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution.”

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  • Slive opened by relating an anecdote from his first SEC Media Days a decade ago, then quickly turned his attention to how far the league has come. When he took over, there were no minority head coaches in the SEC. Now, there are three football coaches, eight men’s basketball coaches and five women’s basketball coaches. Slive also said “it’s no longer a story, simply part of who we are.”
  • In a plea that echoes some that coaches have made, Slive addressed the issue of scholarship amounts, saying that the SEC would like to see scholarship money available to be raised.
  • As expected, Slive’s remarks quickly turned to the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M, both scheduled to make their appearances later today.
  • Slive also referenced “Project X”, which is widely believed to be a network, joking that the secret’s already out and changing it to “Project SEC,” before saying that he will not have much to say, although he will have information soon.
  • The first Champions Bowl will be played on Jan. 1, 2015, at a site still to be determined. The SEC is reportedly looking at its options as we speak.
  • Slive reiterated the SEC’s support for a 4-team playoff, saying that the league began its support after an undefeated Auburn team missed out on a chance to play for the national championship in 2004. As expected, Slive mentioned that there are still a lot of issues to be worked out.

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