New rules for SEC football and basketball programs emerged from the May meeting of presidents and coaches in Destin, Fla. Most notable among the changes are the dissolution of the east and west divisions in basketball and the reduction of annual signing classes in football from 28 to 25 players.
The presidents and chancellors of the 12-member Southeastern Conference voted unanimously to trim annual football scholarships to 25, while the coaches voted unanimously to keep the number at 28. The league also voted to eliminate the divisions in men’s basketball. The teams will now be seeded one through 12 in the postseason tournament with the top four teams receiving first-round byes. The 2011–12 season will maintain the 16-game conference schedule and expand to 18 conference games the following year.
Other SEC football changes:
- Junior-college players who sign in December will count toward the number in the February signing class.
- The graduate-student exemption has been eliminated. A student-athlete must have two years of eligibility remaining in order to transfer to an SEC school.
- An SEC school cannot sign a prospect to an SEC financial aid agreement until that prospect is enrolled in school and is a full-time student attending classes.
- Prospects attending summer school will count against the 25-scholarship total for that year.
- The conference will oversee medical hardship exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
The NCAA rules oversight panel also chimed in with revisions of its own to men’s and women’s basketball for the 2011–12 season. A restricted arc located 3 feet from the center of the basket will be put in place to limit the number of collisions near the basket. The term “intentional foul” has been replaced with the term “flagrant one.” The previously named “flagrant foul” now becomes “flagrant two.”
In women’s basketball the 3-point line will move back to 20 feet, 9 inches—an increase of 1 foot and the same distance used by men’s teams.