SEC expands its serious misconduct policy to include high school players
The SEC's executive committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal
In addition to some, the SEC passed another important piece of legislation on Friday during its spring meetings. In short, member programs can no longer recruit players who have committed what the conference defines as serious misconduct.
The conference's executive committee voted in favor of expanding its misconduct policy to include high school signees. Beginning on Oct. 15, high school recruits who have been convicted or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual assault/violence or domestic violence will not be allowed to compete in the SEC. This new extension also includes transfers who have faced the same convictions/pleas and discipline at their previous college. The new policy cannot be used retroactively.
"We always have to continue to monitor everything we can do to make our campuses safe," Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said via AL.com. "You're going to have issues. You have 550 18-22-year olds, you have 350 employees, they're not all going to make great decisions every single day. But you need to make sure you have a framework in place that allows you to do everything you can to have a safe environment. That's part of the discussion and I understand why we're talking about it."
The latest expansion of the policy comes three years after it was first enacted in 2015. The "Jonathan Taylor" rule was proposed by Georgia officials after Taylor, who was dismissed from the program the year before for being arrested on domestic violence allegations, transferred to Alabama. Taylor was then dismissed from Alabama after another arrest on domestic violence allegations. However, his girlfriend, Gina Nawab, later recanted her story.
In 2016, the rule was expanded to include "dating violence, stalking or conduct of a nature that creates serious concern about the safety of others." It also called for schools to meet "minimum due diligence expectations" on its incoming athletes. Mississippi State in particular was heavily criticized for bringing in signee Jeffery Simmons after a video showed him punching a women. However, since Simmons was facing a misdemeanor assault charge, the expansion to the rule would not have applied to him.
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