The week of Memorial Day did not bring a lot of news. With Week 1 lines having dropped and the NCAA having changed conference championship rules, this has been the peak of the dead period. There was one saving grace: the SEC meetings.
With all the coaches meeting in one place, there was a multitude of opportunities for drama, especially with the NIL issues with Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban. Fisher tried to squash it but Saban added fuel to the fire. Instead of trying to squash things, Saban told reporters “I didn’t really say that anybody did anything wrong. I’ve said everything I’m going to say about this. I should have never mentioned any individual institutions as I’ve said before.” This will be a story throughout the season leading to arguably the most anticipated game on October 8th.
On the other side of the NIL, some are viewing Lane Kiffin as “the voice of reason” regarding NIL. This is a nice face turn for Kiffin, who has been viewed as a bad guy or loose cannon for the majority of his career in college football. His opinions on the realities of NIL have been honest and refreshing compared to the rest of the coaches.
The SEC meetings have brought a few talking points over the course of the week with discussions about a few big topics.
Playoff Expansion Talks
After talks broke down earlier this year, there was a lot of concern with the playoff not being expanded until the contract ran out in 2025. CFP committee chair Matt Keenum, who is Mississippi State’s Athletic Director, is a little bit more optimistic. He believed that there will be a plan in place before the contract runs out.
“I hope we can get something done within a year,” Keenum told Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger. “It was frustrating,” Keenum said speaking of the first round of negotiations. “The same people who wanted expansion originally voted against (the proposal).”
The biggest takeaway from Keenum was that the committee presidents would have more of an influence in the discussions. The committee currently consists of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. This will be a story to watch throughout the summer and into the fall, as details will be coming throughout but likely won’t be finalized until next winter.
Inter-Conference Transfer Rule Changing?
While NIL has been the dominant talking point, the transfer portal hasn’t been too far behind. It is becoming a major part of the college football landscape. One of the unique rules regarding the transfer portal is regarding inter-conference transferring.
The NCAA rule is that you must enter the transfer portal by May 1st in order to transfer within your conference. The SEC’s rule mandates that you need to enter the portal by February 1st. The SEC is looking to change its standard to the NCAA’s of May 1st. That has come with some resistance, mainly from Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin.
"I didn't think what we did this year was a bad model," Harsin said. "And we had that discussion before. We've met on this stuff before. We've had conversations about some of the rules that are in place right now. There are reasons why we did it." Both Lane Kiffin and Kirby Smart join Harsin in being against the change, one that will likely happen.
There was a lot of discussion over the week about adopting a new schedule. Earlier in May, the NCAA removed the need to have divisions when determining the participants for conference championship games. They discussed that, along with potentially going to a nine-game schedule.
The intriguing aspect of these discussions, which ultimately went nowhere, is the future additions of both Texas and Oklahoma. While they weren’t at the meetings this week, their influence was felt in the discussions. They were both consulted about possible changes, despite not having a vote. Including them in these talks show the influence that both Texas and Oklahoma already have. Those changes won’t take place this year, but they will be in discussion in the future.