July 17, 2013 12:27:33 AM
Matthew Stevens - [email protected]
HOOVER, Ala. -- Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive wasn't thrilled Monday and wasn't afraid to let over 1,200 credentialed media members know it at media days.
The leader of the league has noticed the recent history of his student-athletes in the news for the wrong reasons.
Player behavior and what the league has to do to halt a potential image problem on a national level was one of the first topics brought up by Slive in his annual state of the league address to start media days.
"We are not naive enough to think we can put an end to all unacceptable behavior," Slive said. "But that doesn't mean we won't continue to try, try and try."
The tone and discussion surrounding the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., has been hijacked by the offseason hijinks of Texas A&M University quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Whether it's been misunderstandings over his Twitter account or that latest report of him being asked to leave the Manning Passing Academy in Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner's behavior has been more than in question.
"Notwithstanding the fact that our institutions have mechanisms in place to recognize problems, support systems to address personal issues, policies to provide implementation of discipline, and the willingness to enforce these policies, it is a crushing disappointment when, despite all of these efforts, a young person throws away the opportunity for a promising future," Slive said.
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace was asked about his impression of Manziel leaving the Manning Passing Academy early and said he believed the media was blowing the situation out of proportion.
"We really enjoyed our time with Johnny at the camp and hanging out," Wallace said. "As a college player, part of the whole deal is hanging out off the field and getting to know everybody. I hate that he got sick but it wasn't that big a deal in my opinion."
Some of the other discipline issues An ongoing sex-crimes investigation after the dismissal of four Vanderbilt University players, LSU tailback Jeremy Hill remains suspended indefinitely following a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge after a fight outside a bar. Even University of Mississippi star basketball player Marshall Henderson is now suspended indefinitely for reportedly being stopped by police and the officers finding cocaine and marijuana in his car.
"We cannot ignore the recent off-the-field incidents involving both current and former student-athletes," Slive said. "Not all student-athletes fulfill the high expectations we have for them. While the negative actions of a few garner headlines, the fact is that the vast majority of these young people conduct themselves appropriately."
Mississippi State University senior linebacker Chris Hughes was arrested last month on his third domestic violence charge in a two-year span.
Hughes was arrested in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., on May 24 for third degree assault and third degree domestic violence. The arresting report provided by the Mobile County Sheriffs Office shows Hughes is still currently in Mobile County jail awaiting his court date on July 10. This charge represented the fifth time Hughes has been arrested for a misdemeanor violent crime since his first arrest on March 31, 2010.
MSU coach Dan Mullen had no comment to The Dispatch on any issue involving Hughes Thursday except to confirm via the MSU football spokesperson that Hughes was no longer a member of the program.
University of Florida coach Will Muschamp didn't duck a question based upon player behavior and said that a head coach assumes "100 percent" responsibility for the way all his players behave at all time.
"I can't possibly know everything that happens every single night with our football team," Muschamp said. "You also can't stick your head in the sand and pretend everything is OK, either."
Slive then transitioned his frustration toward the NCAA's inability to reform recruiting rules to the to updates in modern technology and the liking of SEC officials in Birmingham, Ala. It is of Slive's belief that the inability for these reforms allow for programs to continue to have minor and secondary violations charged against them, especially in the highly competitive Southeastern Conference.
"While progress has been made, the efforts at sweeping reform fell short of our desired goal for resetting the approach," Slive said. "In some areas we remain bound by what has been the way we've always done it rather than being motivated to seek a better way to achieve a new result. Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, early recruiting, club sports, cell phones, Internet access, distance learning, 3 D printers will continue to become more and more commonplace. The current regulatory approach would be more at home in the era of Johann Gutenberg's printing press than in our current fast paced technology driven society and will no longer serve to functionally govern recruiting behaviors moving forward."