The SEC spring meetings commence Tuesday in Destin, Florida, giving the university presidents, athletics directors, basketball and football coaches from the 14 schools an opportunity to discuss policies for the 2017-18 season.
This year more than any other, however, Gators fans should pay close attention to the four-day conference. These three potential topics for discussion could affect Florida’s roster and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium next season.
1. The graduate transfer policy
The Gators are reportedly at the top of the list to land graduate transfer QB Malik Zaire, but the SEC’s current legislation prohibits him from coming to Florida. Per SEC rules, the Gators are barred from taking a graduate transfer for three years after OL Mason Halter and LB Anthony Harrell didn’t meet the league’s academic standards. The proposed change would immediately reduce the penalty from three seasons to one, making way for Zaire’s arrival. If he’s even decided on Florida, that is.
Contrary to reports Malik Zaire has not made a decision.
— Andrew Spivey (@AndrewSpiveyGC) May 28, 2017
2. Support staff sizes
The NCAA approved legislation to allow for the addition of a 10th on-the-field assistant coach. Teams can begin adding another assistant in Jan. 2018, and UF coach Jim McElwain has implied the program has candidates lined up. But don’t start searching for names just yet. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has indicated more discussions will take place in Destin regarding the appropriate staff sizes.
3. Alcohol sales at games
Last spring, the SEC presidents discussed expanding the sale of alcohol at sporting events. Ultimately, no conclusion was reached, but the issue isn’t going away anytime soon. The University of Florida currently sells beer and wine to “around 5,000 fans” at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but UF spokesman Steve McClain said the program only brings in approximately $145,000 annually from alcohol sales. However, it’s unlikely a decision on alcohol sales will come to a vote this year.
The NCAA implemented rules in 2016 allowing for the sale of beer and wine at College World Series games. Considering the NCAA said the basis for the decision was a positive response from the 34 programs that currently sell beer at football games, the expansion of alcohol sales seems like an inevitability.