Day one of SEC media days here in Birmingham will largely be remembered for the fact Nick Saban used the word pimp to refer to agents, but it was an unusually lively day at the Wynfrey Hotel. The typically blander than oatmeal commissioner Mike Slive took a jab at Lane Kiffin, referring to him only as Derek Dooley's "predecessor who returned to his western roots" and noting how glad he was to welcome Dooley to the SEC. Dan Mullen cracked back on Saban for questioning the effectiveness of the spread offense. For an event that normally features a lot of safe comments about being sound in the kicking game and so forth, it was a very unusual opening session. Today we get South Carolina, and all eyes will be on Steve Spurrier to keep the quips coming. (Hopefully the Wynfrey has finally got the internet going reliably as well, because day one on that front was a nightmare for everyone here.)
Also making their appearance today is Georgia. With a new defensive scheme and a redshirt freshman at quarterback, there was already going to be plenty to ask about before they became the latest school linked to a potential NCAA issue. A.J. Green is the guy the speculation is focused on, but he's maintaining he had nothing to do with the big agent bash down in South Beach. No idea whether other players are involved or not, but there are still plenty of rumors about multiple players and schools that haven't found their way into the public spotlight yet. There are lots of ideas on how to try and deal with the problem, but there's no getting around the obvious here. Coaches are receiving at least a million dollars, and frequently three or four times that much, to coach players. The players are receiving a dorm room, meals and the chance to get a degree (as long as it's not in a major that will force them to miss practice time or one that's challenging enough that they might become academically ineligible). They can't get any money as a reward for their efforts, no matter how well they do or how many people might want to give it to them. As long as that imbalance remains in place, some kids are going to decide to get theirs before the rules say they're allowed to do so.
Cheerleading may require athletic ability, but it's not a sport. That hasn't stopped some schools from trying to count it as one for Title IX purposes, but yesterday a judge shot that scheme down. It would be great if there was a womens sport equivalent to football so that it would be easier to maintain the balance required under the law without constantly cutting back on mens programs. There's not a a womens sport that does that, but schools can't be allowed to just make something that women do enjoy in large numbers into a sport.
One out of nowhere development yesterday came on the recruiting front. Florida picked up the nation's top rated outside linebacker - in the 2010 class. Chris Martin had signed with Cal, but is transferring to Gainesville without even taking part in a single practice as a Bear. I have no idea how good the kid will turn out to be, and his reasons for making the late switch sound like they were well thought out, but it's hard to understand a decision process getting screwed up enough that you wind up doing this.