Mike Slive says agent rules need work

DESTIN, Fla. -- SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday that the NCAA's rules regarding relationships between athletes and agents don't allow for players to make the best judgments about when to leave school early.

Slive hopes rules regarding agents will be one of the many areas the five major college football conferences will be able to reform when and if the NCAA agrees to change its governance structure to allow those leagues to pass legislation without the approval of other conferences.

Speaking to reporters after the first day of the Southeastern Conference spring meetings, Slive said the "NCAA's current rules [regarding agents] are really part of the problem, not part of the solution."

Currently, an athlete cannot reach a verbal or written agreement with an agent and remain eligible.

Football players have been leaving school early in growing numbers in recent years. A record 102 underclassmen declared early for the NFL draft this year, and 39 did not get selected in the seven-round draft, although most of those players did sign with teams as free agents.

Slive said the SEC is not near having a proposal to change the rules regarding agents, but it would need to have two elements.

"One is it has to be quality advice and it has to be timely advice," he said.

"We see an increased number of kids leaving early. We've got to find a way to make sure our student-athletes get the best advice they can get that's not advice based on somebody's self-interest, and in a timely way. Early on so they're not pressured to make a decision at the last minute."

Slive said he would like coaches in the league to have a special meeting on the topic with an eye toward eventually drafting a proposal.

For now, the conference is not getting into any details of the areas and issues that could be up for major reforms when and if the NCAA changes its governance structure.

A proposal to give autonomy to the "big five" conferences -- the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference -- will be voted on by the NCAA's board in August.

Slive said he is confident it will pass, although there are still issues to be worked out.

The SEC coaches said they support an early signing period for football on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Slive said the conference's official stance is still against an early signing period for football, but that could change.

"We have not had a discussion at the AD level as to whether or not we want to change our position," Slive said. "I don't know where we're going to come out."