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SEC Commissioner: We Have Lost The Benefit of The Doubt

While the internet and other forms of social media are all atwitter over the LHN and more speculation of conference expansion, real news is being made at the SEC Media Days.

The most powerful man in college football says it is time to institute major reforms in the game -- and he has ear of those who can make such changes a reality.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive used the bully pulpit of the conference's media days to propose several radical changes to the college game.

Slive made the proposals with the full backing of the NCAA and the other BCS Commissioners. He began by pointing out the various scandals that have dominated the summer press and said, “Intercollegiate athletics has lost the benefit of the doubt.”

Slive's proposal would bring dramatic change in a couple of areas:

Student-Athletes -- Slive wants to make it tougher to get into college, and once in, easier to stay on the team. He proposes that scholarships be multi-year and they be cost-of-education scholarships. They would include health insurance, clothing allowances and other student-related costs.

In return, academic requirements would tighten. The minimum grade point average would rise from the current 2.0 to 2.5. The student-athlete would also have to show that he completed the 16 core courses stretched out over all four years of high school, rather than rushing through a large number of them during their senior year, which can lead to academic fraud.

A new version of old Proposition 48 rule is also in the plan. A student-athlete who doesn't meet the entrance requirements could be allowed in school, but would have to sit out his freshman year.

Recruiting -- Slive would cut down the NCAA Rule book making it not only readable but manageable for coaches and administrators. Social media, such as texting, facebook and twitter, would be allowed to be used for contacts between coaches and prospective players.

At OU, Kelvin Sampson was simply ahead of his time.

A streamlined NCAA rulebook "that governs only enforceable issues, of core importance that goes to the heart of what we do," would be swiftly and strictly enforced with punishments that would get the attention of all schools.

And while Slive may have the backing of NCAA and BCS administrators, coaches in his own league aren't all that thrilled about the proposed changes.

The 'Ol Ball Coach thinks his Conference Commissioner is full of it.

Steve Spurrier made it clear that he doesn't like the idea of multi-year scholarships, ("Do you sports writers have a two-year contract, three or four years? If you go bad, don't show up to work, your butt will be out on the street. Everybody has to earn your way in life,) and he thinks the academic requirements are tough enough as it is.

But the people who count when it comes to changing the rules are interested in the proposals and they are holding a retreat next month. The NCAA will host several College Presidents (Including Bill Powers of UT) and Athletics Directors August 9-10. These proposed changes will be on the agenda, and with the SEC Commissioner spearheading the movement, at least some of these changes could be in place very shortly.