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SEC commissioner Mike Slive works for weeks on his annual message to the media. He writes draft after draft, revises then revises some more. Which is why it’s significant that Slive became the first conference commissioner to address the situation at Penn State, albeit indirectly. Midway through his morning address Slive pivoted from recommendations on NCAA rule changes to address the situation at Penn State. “Last week’s headlines remind us that we must be ever vigilant on all issues of integrity and that our primary mission is to educate and protect young people.”
Slive continued, “No one program, no one person, no matter how popular, no matter how successful, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution.”
The intent of this commentary was clear — an indictment of Penn State and Joe Paterno for the cover-up of child sexual assault. But Slive’s decision not to name a coach, any administrators or even a team makes for a more subtle condemnation, an elegant evisceration. That’s vintage Slive, allowing others to broadcast his position without actually broadcasting the position himself. He didn’t name Joe Paterno, but there was no mistaking at all who he was condemning.
In a day where there is likely to be limited actual news, Slive’s commentary on Paterno and Penn State is likely to emerge as the primary story of lasting import. So far everyone else in college leadership has been remarkably quiet about the situation at Penn State, ducking all opportunities to weigh in on the controversy. With today’s address, Slive stepped fully into the fray and became the first commissioner to criticize Paterno and Penn State.
In the tenth year of his SEC reign, the commentary serves yet again to establish Slive as the de facto head of college football.
No other commissioner has yet mentioned Paterno, now just about all of them will.
Few will do so as artfully as Mike Slive.
We’ll have more from SEC Media Days today and all week and you can listen to our live show from 3-6 ct by clicking this link www.1045thezone.com