May 29, 2009
Danny P Smith -
Mississippi State and Ole Miss don''t play Southern Miss in football each fall.
The battles between those schools are waged in the offseason when it comes to recruiting the state''s best talent.
That''s why any perceived advantage for one of the other football programs can be an issue.
At the Southeastern Conference spring meetings in Destin, Fla., this week, discussion has included a proposal to change an SEC regulation that restricts assistant football coaches from attending coaching clinics in their home states unless the coach is a speaker.
Georgia coach Mark Richt and Florida''s Urban Meyer are pushing the SEC to examine the regulation because ACC rivals Georgia Tech and Florida State don''t have such restrictions, which could give them an unfair advantage in helping them make their programs more visible.
Conference USA Associate Commissioner Alfred White said he wasn''t aware of any such restriction in his league, which would give Southern Miss a jump on MSU and Ole Miss.
MSU and Ole Miss coaches could be viewed as disinterested or uncaring at clinics when they don''t show up and all they are doing is following the rules.
MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne believes it is an issue worth addressing.
"It has some merit to allow our coaches to be out there doing that," Byrne said. "We think it is important for our coaches to be out there within the state and establish the relationships that are important."
Byrne said it will be up to the SEC presidents to decide if the matter comes up for serious debate.
There is also an NCAA legislative proposal being considered that would allow college football players to receive complimentary tickets from former teammates who are now in the NFL.
Byrne said that is not as much of a concern for MSU since there is not an NFL franchise in the state, or close to campus.
"We''ll have to see how the presidents weigh in," Byrne said. "We think it could be a recruiting advantage for people in states that have pro teams right by their campus."