That’s not because the Tennessee coach is afraid to speak up because of his “new guy” status. That’s just his personality.
“I kind of like to observe everything before I start to speak because you’ve got guys that have been in this league 10-plus years and understand what’s going on. Understand the lay of the land,” Martin said Tuesday. “You want to hear their point of view before you speak on things.”
Multiple coaches indicated that there is a groundswell of support building to change the current system. That would be a change from last year, when SEC West coaches revoked a proposal to change how the conference seeded its postseason tournament.
Despite receiving byes in the SEC tournament because they finished first and second, respectively, in the SEC West, Alabama and Mississippi State were not invited to the NCAA tournament. Mississippi State didn’t even make the NIT field.
“I think we have to look very hard at going away from being in divisions,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “For the health of our league, I think we have to look at it.”
SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday’s discussions merely “began some dialogue” about the topic, which also includes the possibility of expanding the conference schedule from 16 to 18 games. Because the 2011-12 schedule is already set, the expansion would have to wait, but changing how the tournament is seeded, at the least, could be enacted immediately, Slive said.
“We can decide sometime this fall if we want to make changes moving forward,” Slive said.
Because of his Big 10 and Missouri Valley Conference roots, Martin said he’s always been a “one big league guy.”
But he could always change his mind.
“You have to hear the pros and cons,” he said, “because there’s so much tradition with two big leagues.”
Pearl Supporter: Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan said he called former UT coach Bruce Pearl, who was fired at the end of the season for his involvement in NCAA violations.
“A lot of times when things like that happen, people want to push back and stay away,” Donovan said. “I don’t know all that went on, but I just felt like from my perspective it was right to reach out and call him and see how he’s doing.
“I think his mind-set is to move forward.”
John Adams contributed to this report.