SEC MEETINGS: Coaches’ list of worries includes bad headlines

DESTIN, Fla. – Cleaning out the Destin notebook in advance of today’s session, when debate is over and what matters most – the presidents’ votes – takes place.

Tressel reaction
– In light of this week’s news of the resignation of Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, football coaches were reminded of the accountability that goes along with seven-figure salaries.
“The exposure we get at Tennessee keeps you on your toes. There’s a real positive to it. If (media) aren’t at least raising the issues you can get complacent and start slipping down that path,” Vols coach Derek Dooley said.
The NCAA accused Tressel – who was 106-22 and won the 2002 national championship at Ohio State – of lying to cover up violations.
Dooley saw a coach from his campus – basketball coach Bruce Pearl – fired for the same reason.
“All this that’s happening at Ohio State, every coach out there, if they’re presented that situation. They’ll think about how they handle it. You can’t get angry with people reporting the truth.
“I go to bed every night worrying about a headline on our program, because I know how damaging it can be.”
Accountability aside, Dooley says the Vols have room to improve.
“We’re far form where we need to be. Those are things we’re trying to educate our players on. It’s easy for a player to get lost in his world and not understand the impact his actions can have on a fan base and a university. That happens everyday in society, to marriages and businesses.”
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen took notice of the Ohio State situation and said that while he was sympathetic to Tressel, he’s concerned for the Buckeyes’ players.
“He made a mistake with it. That can cost a guy who is an unbelievable football coach his future and some of his reputation,” Mullen said. “I think you do have to be very very cautious. It’s scary for that program, it’s scary for us, and a lot of young kids on that team, a lot of kids who went there to play for him for what he believed in the program and what he stands for.

Holloway: No going back
– News came from South Carolina way this week that Murphy Holloway may have second thoughts about transferring to Ole Miss.
There have been rumblings that Holloway would consider staying in Columbia if he’s not cleared by the NCAA to compete this season with the Rebels.
The problem with that thought process will be the timetable.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy says he is moving ahead with the idea that Holloway will be part of the program.
“He’s already signed an SEC agreement to Ole Miss. So there is no going back to South Carolina,” Kennedy said.
Basically, Holloway has signed the binding documentation, Kennedy said.
He’s expected to be in Oxford for the second summer school term. Only then will the school begin to prepare a request to the NCAA that he be granted a waiver of the one-year residency rule for transfers.
A native of Irmo, S.C., Holloway originally signed and played two years at Ole Miss. He announced in May of 2010 he was transferring closer to home to help raise his daughter. He attended South Carolina last year as a walk-on, sitting out the transfer season.
With family circumstances different now, Holloway contacted Kennedy about returning to Ole Miss.
Holloway was the fifth-leading rebounder in the SEC as a sophomore.

Standing tall for the West
– Mississippi State’s Rick Stansbury cast the lone dissenting vote among coaches to keep East-West divisional format for basketball.
At 11-1, his position was overwhelmed, but Stansbury made a couple of interesting points.
“Well, let me say this, people forget that three years ago South Carolina was co-champs of the East and didn’t get in. Everybody wants to talk about the last two years. It’s been a cycle,” he said.
Stansbury says he thinks SEC West fortunes are about to improve.
“If this would ensure us getting more teams in the NCAA tournament, I think everybody would be for it, but that hasn’t been the case. Everybody stands on their own.”
If the presidents vote as expected today, improvement by Western Division teams will be a moot point.

Nutt’s last push
– Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt has campaigned for oversigning, but the election days are running short.
Nutt issued a few comments following the joint meeting of coaches and athletics directors on Wednesday.
“It’s the position of the coaches that we don’t want to limit the opportunities of these athletes,” he said. “You don’t know who will qualify, and you don’t know the attrition. We want to keep the door open.”
The dark mark against oversigning is unregulated “grayshirting,” in which a player promised a scholarship could, potentially, be told in August he needs to delay his enrollment until January.
Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone has supported Nutt in his quest to allow some oversigning – as long as there’s transparency in the process for recruits and their parents, Boone says.
Nutt singles out three of his players – linebacker Mike Marry, defensive end Cameron Whigham and offensive lineman Evan Swindall – as grayshirting success stories. The benefits are increased maturity and familiarity with the college campus – if the recruit can pay his way for the first semester.
“Those three, those are three great examples,” Nutt said. “You talk to their parents, shoot, they love it.”

Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or parrish.alford@journalinc.com.

Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal