Mr. Slive, it is time to act

Guest commentary

Let’s say you’re Mike Slive, Commissioner of the SEC, and the football officials that work for you are being demeaned, threatened, castigated and even labeled as conspirators in an elaborate plot to help the conference get two or three specific teams in the conference championship game. All for the money it will mean for the conference.

What should you do?

What should you say?

Easy. You send a letter of reprimand to all coaches that violate the policy against commenting on officiating. Great! That will do it. Right?

No! Wait. Lane Kiffin calls your letter meaningless. “I guess I will get another one of those meaningless letters from the conference,” he said.

Then, the Tennessee Assistant Head Coach, Ed Orgeron, says “Seems like some people get the calls and some people don’t,” soon after the letter is sent to his boss. Is this a surrogate speaking on his own, or perhaps his boss instructed him to say this? We may never really know, but you know this is definitely over the top.

Then on the SEC’s teleconference, Kiffin showed further contempt for Slive and the SEC. Kiffin said, “I’m not getting into conversations about it and whether I feel that we have been treated different than, per se, Florida or Alabama or Nick Saban or Urban Meyer.”

Kiffin can’t even shut his mouth without insulting others.

Now what? Suspend Kiffin? Fine the University for lack of institutional control over the coaching staff? Why not both?

What if you were the manager of a company and your company was being talked about in this way by the very people that benefit from its existence. You wouldn’t allow it, not for a second! My guess is that the SEC will come down hard on young Mr. Kiffin and his staff.

We know this is a difficult decision but lack of action is intolerable. Allow this conduct to go on and it will get worse.

The SEC and the nation are waiting, Mr. Slive.