Meyer walking a fine line?

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Florida coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday during the SEC coaches teleconference that officials missed a late hit on Tim Tebow in the Georgia game last week and that a penalty should have been called, particularly with the play occurring "right in front of the referee."

If you go back and watch the replay, Meyer is right. Tebow was clearly hit by linebacker Nick Williams well after handing the ball off to Jeffery Demps in the first quarter of the game. Tebow wasn't even looking when he was leveled by Williams.

Meyer said he has sent the play in to the SEC for review.

Now, here's the more pressing question and one they're already debating at other locales around the league: Does what Meyer said on the teleconference rise to the level of public criticism of the officials, especially given the new legislation that was adopted last week by the SEC?

SEC commissioner Mike Slive now has the power to suspend a coach for any public criticism of officials, and the league emphasized last week that the new policy was effective immediately.

Tennessee's Lane Kiffin, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen and Arkansas' Bobby Petrino were all reprimanded in recent weeks for calling out the officiating publicly and making critical comments.

But sensing that reprimands weren't working, the SEC announced last week that it would start suspending coaches for publicly criticizing officials, a move that was unanimously approved by the league athletic directors and presidents.

It should be noted, too, that it was emphasized to league athletic directors last week that coaches shouldn't be engaging in any public commentary on officials that casts a negative light.

Did Meyer cross that line?

That one's on Slive to decide, but you know what they're thinking in Knoxville, Fayetteville, Starkville and pretty much everywhere else in the SEC -- with the exception of Gainesville.

And something tells me they won't be satisfied with a half-game suspension, either.