SEC Three & Out: A&M Making Changes
Posted Feb 15, 2012

CFN SEC columnist Barrett Sallee examines the offseason in the SEC.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

Three & Out returns every Thursday in 2012 to keep fans up-to-date on the latest news and notes from the SEC. This week, we navigate the doldrums of February with a public service announcement to Texas A&M, a look at South Carolina's NCAA issues and Georgia's secondary concern.

With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the conference, 2012 already is going to be a monumental season in the SEC. Those two teams will suffer some growing pains on and off of the football field, and the Texas A&M student section is finding that out the hard way.

SEC rules prohibit home team student sections from being within 25 rows of the field between the 30-yard lines of the visitors bench. This has drawn the ire of the students at Texas A&M, who have traditionally occupied the area behind the visitors bench at Kyle Field. As a result of the SEC bylaw, approximately 1,400 student seats - including the Aggie Band - will have to be moved when Texas A&M officially joins the SEC this summer.

Texas A&M students don't like this though. In an effort to keep one of its 189,917 traditions alive, students have urged president R. Bowen Loftin to appeal to the SEC to keep the seats at their present location.

A word of advice to Texas A&M...get over it.

What the Aggie faithful don't realize is that the SEC is actually protecting Texas A&M. If the conference allows students to be down by the sidelines behind opposing teams benches during home games, they will have to make it a conference-wide rule - not just make an exception for Texas A&M.

Do you really want LSU students - with 12 hours or more of "prep time," standing directly behind Texas A&M players in Baton Rouge? How about Florida students virtually on top of the Aggie players in The Swamp? Of course not. That's not a knock against those fan bases; it's a testament to the passion in the SEC.

A&M, you don't want this. You really don't.

It seems like generations ago when we were talking about the South Carolina's scandal at the Whitney Hotel. In terms of the amount of NCAA violations throughout the NCAA world, it was.

The next phase of this scandal will be turned this weekend, when 11 South Carolina officials will meet with the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Los Angeles.

The NCAA charged South Carolina with three major infractions that took place during the 2009 and 2010 seasons: discounted rates for lodging, impermissible benefits and failure to monitor. Star tight end Weslye Saunders was the most notable player involved in the scandal. Saunders was suspended, and subsequently dismissed from the team in mid-September 2010. The investigation was one of many in the Summer of 2010, when several agent-related scandals rocked the college football world.

South Carolina put itself on three years of probation, eliminated three scholarships from the 2013 and 2014 classes and reduced the total number of scholarships on the roster to 84 in 2012, 82 in 2013 and 83 in 2014.

Is that enough?


South Carolina's transgressions resulted in a grand total of $55,000 in improper benefits. Considering all that's gone on in college football world over the last few years, South Carolina came down strong on itself for a reason, and the NCAA should recognize that.

Don't expect anything more to come out of the meeting this weekend, but whenever you go before the NCAA, you never know what's going to happen.

Georgia's depth in the secondary just took a least for a couple of games.

Senior cornerback Sanders Commings - a returning starter for the Bulldogs - was suspended for the first two games of 2012 by head coach Mark Richt following an arrest in January for domestic violence/simple battery. Commings has played in all but one game during his first three years at Georgia, and led the Bulldogs in pass breakups last season with 12.

All of the sudden, Georgia's secondary is getting thin. Defensive backs Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders were kicked off the team earlier this month by Richt, which means that Georgia only has eight scholarship defensive backs on the roster that are eligible to play in Georgia's first two games.

The inexperience in the secondary shouldn't be an issue in the Bulldogs' season opener against Buffalo. But when they go on the road to Columbia to face Missouri on Sept. 8, things could get dicey.

Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for He can be reached at, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee

2012 Offseason Three & Out Archive
Three & Out - February 16, 2012
Three & Out - February 9, 2012
Three & Out - February 2, 2012
Three & Out - January 23, 2012
Three & Out - January 16, 2012

Click here for the 2011 Three & Out Archive
Click Here for the 2012 column archive

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