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SEC hires Slive as commissioner

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Mike Slive was hired Tuesday as the new commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, a wealthy league dealing with an array of NCAA problems.

Slive, head of Conference USA since its inception in 1995, replaces Roy Kramer, who turned the SEC into the richest college athletic league during his 12-year tenure.

''This conference deserves and has earned the right to set the national agenda,'' Slive said during a news conference. ''The agenda now is how to keep the wonderful world of intercollegiate athletics in the perspective it deserves to be in.''

Under Kramer, the SEC expanded to 12 schools and became the nation's wealthiest college conference. League revenues reached $100 million in 2001, according to Internal Revenue Service records.

But the SEC repeatedly came under NCAA scrutiny, amassing a record 42 major rules violations since record keeping began in 1953, the most of any league.

Two SEC football teams -- Alabama and Kentucky -- are on NCAA probation, and two others -- Arkansas and Tennessee -- are under NCAA investigation. Another, LSU, is conducting an internal review for possible football violations.

Slive said a conference task force would look at rules issues and ''creating an atmosphere (where) violations are unacceptable.''

SEC President John White said Slive's pay is being negotiated. Slive received $321,727 in salary, benefits and expense allowances at Conference USA in 2000, according to tax records.

Kramer's total package last year was worth $409,780, records show.

Slive's experience may come in handy in dealing with the SEC's rules problems. He is a lawyer whose former firm defended schools against NCAA investigations in the 1980s and early 1990s. He also heads the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee.

A former New Hampshire judge, Slive is chairman of the NCAA Football USA Board of Directors and the National Letters of Intent Appeals Committee.

Tom Jurich, athletic director at C-USA member Louisville, called Slive ''a great leader.''

''He can help them through tumultuous times. He's got the background for it. We're going to miss him,'' Jurich said.

The 61-year-old Slive was the choice of the 13-member selection committee.

Brian Teter, C-USA's assistant commissioner, said the executive committee of the league's board of directors will speak next week to set a timetable for hiring Slive's replacement.

C-USA expanded under Slive. East Carolina joined for football in 1997, Army in '98 and UAB in '99. East Carolina and TCU began competition in all sports last season, and South Florida will compete in football in 2003.

''He did a phenomenal job leading us from infancy to where it is now,'' Jurich said. ''This conference was a diverse package and he's done a great job of bringing everyone together.'' The Associated Press