BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The SEC is seeking out new bowl partners to replace the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, commissioner Mike Slive said Monday during a conversation with sports reporters and editors at the APSE Southeast Regional meeting.
The two bowls will be part of the new national college football playoff system announced earlier this month.
Slive said he anticipated “serious conversations with current and prospective bowl partners over the next several weeks.”
Slive, recently returned from the BCS spring meetings in Pasadena, Calif., said the new name of the playoff system -- the College Football Playoffs -- was chosen for its simplicity.
“The fans have asked for a college football playoff,” Slive said. “And now they have a College Football Playoff.”
In other news:
* Slive said it was easy to reduce the size of the NCAA manual “at 30,000 feet,” but when the “rubber meets the road” it gets more complex. He was referring to the backlash to new rules changes that would ease recruiting restrictions. Some of those changes are likely to be tossed out this summer.
* Slive said he was happy that the new national semifinals in football would not be restricted to only one team per conference. “We didn’t want to create artificial limits,” he said.
* The committee that will select participants in the new playoff system is still under review, but Slive said it would likely include 14 to 20 members and might include former media members in addition to administrators and coaches. “We’re looking for people with football expertise,” he said.
* Only three of 14 SEC teams made the NCAA basketball tournament in 2013, something that Slive said was “a concern” for the league, although he noted that the SEC has won three of the last seven national titles in men’s basketball. He said he’d like the conference to play a larger role in basketball scheduling, because the way one school schedules can affect the rest of the league’s teams.
* No decision has been made on whether the SEC should follow the Big 10’s lead in moving to a nine-game conference schedule. Slive said he was “open-minded” about the issue, but pointed out that strength of schedule will be a significant component of the new playoff system.
* The league was “closing in” on finishing the 2014 football schedule, Slive said, but the days of releasing a schedule 10 years in advance are long gone.
* Asked about reports that the league had released Gerald Boudreaux as head of basketball officials, Slive said he would not comment on personnel matters. He also declined to comment on recent reports about the Auburn football program, but said he had read Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs’ response to the allegations.
* Slive said Thursday’s announcement of a new television deal involving ESPN would be one of the “major moments” of his 11-year tenure.
* Asked whether ESPN’s influence was growing too powerful, Slive replied: “I can’t control what other people think. They have been a very important partner of ours, and we’re excited about the future.”
* Slive said new rules requiring ejections for players who target a defenseless player with a helmet-leading hit would go a long way toward changing behavior and increasing player safety.
“If a player knows that he’s going to be ejected and he’s gone, that is the most effective way of modifying behavior,” Slive said. “Waiting until Sunday or Monday or Tuesday is not the most effective way.”
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.