SEC football coaches voted 12-0 on Wednesday to support the existing conference rule which states schools can sign no more than 28 players.
The NCAA limit is 25, but the wiggle room is necessary, coaches say, to help with players who sign but do not show or with natural attrition.
“Right now I want to sit down and listen to my colleagues. I have my ideas that I share with my colleagues. I’m confident we will come to the position as a league that is positive to the league as we go forward,” Mississippi State president Mark Keenum said.
NCAA president Mark Emmert attended the SEC presidents’ meeting.
Other noteworthy issues before the group include providing “full cost of scholarship” for student-athletes, a measure that would allow schools to pay not only basic education costs but provide spending money, too.
The future of cowbells at Mississippi State is still undecided, though athletics directors on Wednesday recommended that the league continue for a second year the rule that allows for managed use of bells at football games.
The presidents will also consider whether to abandon the current East-West divisional format for men’s basketball.
Unscheduled small-group meetings were expected to take place later Thursday evening.
Athletics directors will meet from 8-11 a.m., today and will present their proposal to presidents who will cast their schools’ binding votes in a business meeting that begins at noon.
Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone says it’s not uncommon for presidents to disregard the directors’ proposal and vote differently.
While there are many items to consider today, the issue of oversigning has been the most prevalent topic at the meetings.
Boone and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt from the beginning of discussion have agreed that a small amount of oversigning could be managed and be used in a positive manner.
Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones said he is still forming his opinion.
“As soon as I knew we were going to be discussing this, I’ve been engaged in making sure I would be fully informed when it came time to make a decision,” he said.
Jones described the presidents’ conversations as “robust.”
No single issue is as school-specific as the cowbell issue is for MSU. Keenum will make a statement following today’s meeting.
“We’ve had very good discussion,” he said. “I’m very much aware of the issues.”
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