On Friday, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive fined Urban Meyer $30,000 for criticizing the officials in the wake of the Georgia-Florida game. When questioned by the media about a non-call on a late hit against Tim Tebow, Meyer responded, "That should have been a penalty, in my opinion. Obviously, it should have been. You've got to protect quarterbacks. That's the whole purpose. It's right in front of the referee." In announcing the penalty, Commissioner Slive stated as follows: "Coach Meyer has violated the Southeastern Conference code of ethics. SEC bylaw 10.5.4 clearly states that the coaches, players and support personnel shall refrain from public criticism of officials. The league's athletics directors and presidents and chancellors have made it clear that negative public comments on officiating are not acceptable."Urban Meyer issued his own response: "As I stated last week, I have great respect for Commissioner Mike Slive and the Southeastern Conference and I respect this decision. There was no intent to criticize an official after being asked about a situation that occurred last Saturday and I apologize for my remarks."Meyer's fine will be used to fund SEC postgraduate scholarships. The fine comes in the wake of a recent change to SEC bylaws that ended all reprimand letters--Arkansas's Bobby Petrino, Tennessee's Lane Kiffin, and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen all received them for criticizing officials in the past few weeks -- and instituted a new policy of fines and suspensions. While the fines are designed to represent a new, more stringent policy when it comes to commenting on officiating, they also raise their own questions. First among them, are fines, a penalty used by the NFL for decades, likely to curb coaching criticism of officiating? Particularly when SEC coaches make so much money as it is?While $30,000 is a substantial sum to your average American, does it really put a dint in Meyer's wallet? Particularly when the donation is also tax deductible? In fact, this fine, even without the tax deduction, represents less than 1 percent of Meyer's overall salary this season. For an average American making, say $40,000, a year, that would be a hit of $300. Isn't that a small price to pay for a coach being able to speak his mind?Regardless, Slive had to act in the wake of announcing the new penalties. Slive's fine represents a new front in the SEC's attempt to reign in coaching commentary in the wake of several highly publicized officiating scandals. Whether it will be any more effective than the previous policy remains to be seen.So long as the SEC office continues to suspend and berate officials while limiting the coaches' ability to do the same, consider this one vote for -- not likely.
In all the years that I've been watching football and it's been a lot of years, since I could say "first and ten." This has to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of! One of the coaches jobs is to take care of their players beside coaching them. Somehow the SEC missed that along the way. Comparing Urban Meyer to Lane Kiffin is like comparing U of F to FSU their both football teams but only U of F is Number 1. I challenge anyone of the league's athletic directors to step out of their offices, take off their suit and tie, and think for one second who they'd want in their son's corner had that late hit, or the hit that happened in the KY game happened. I tell you what! I'm a mother, and while I've never had a son playing football, I've had daughters playing sports, and I'm thankful for the coaches who've gone to bat for bad calls, and coaches pulling fast ones. That hit at the end of the GA should have been called, and the ref's were at fault for not calling it. Plain and Simple! Urban Meyer did nothing wrong in answering the question put forth. It wasn't as if he held a press conference and went after the officials. He was asked a question by a reporter and he answered it. I think that the code of ethics need to be reviewed or fine print added that a coach needs to be holding a press conference to be fined, not just answering a question. It just goes to show that when you have a team like the GATORS and you're undefeated your opened up to all kinds of scrutiny. What I see happening is this . . . a late hit like what happened in the GA game is going to happen that isn't called and someone is going to get hurt, it's going to open up a huge law suit for the SEC and they'll think twice about fining coaches for their comments.