HOOVER, Ala. — SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Monday that he is optimistic an NCAA committee will endorse measures in August to allow greater autonomy for decision-making by administrators in the nation’s five highest-profile conferences, including the SEC and Big 12.In particular, Slive is pushing to have athletes’ scholarships linked to the actual cost of attendance rather than the current model of tuition, room and board, fees, and books.“If we do not achieve a positive outcome under the existing big tent of Division I, we will need to consider the establishment of a venue with similar conferences and institutions where we can enact the desired changes in the best interests of our student-athletes,” Slive said. “It’s important that the NCAA … allow for the enactment of meaningful change.”Auburn issuesAuburn coach Gus Malzahn said he plans to levy unspecified discipline against quarterback Nick Marshall, a Heisman Trophy candidate who was arrested Friday for marijuana possession (less than one ounce).Marshall did not attend Monday’s media day. Malzahn confirmed he is considering a suspension, possibly for the team’s Aug. 30 opener against Arkansas, but remains undecided.“I’m not to that point yet. We’ll see,” Malzahn said when asked to identify what discipline Marshall might face. “Nick made a mistake, and he’ll have to deal with the consequences.”In addition, Malzahn said defensive end Carl Lawson underwent surgery in May for a torn ACL in his knee suffered during spring drills and hopes to return “toward the end of this year.” Lawson, a sophomore, had 20 tackles (7.5 for losses) as a freshman last season and was pushing for a starting role at the time of his injury.Getting comfortableFlorida quarterback Jeff Driskel said players have embraced the new system installed in spring drills by first-year offense coordinator Kurt Roper, a Duke assistant last season. It will mark the Gators’ third different offense the past three seasons.“It’s kind of the polar opposite of what we’re used to over the past few years,” Driskel said. “Before, we were kind of putting our focus on time of possession and controlling the ball. Trying to get as many plays as possible is coach Roper’s mindset.”Turnaround momentAuburn coach Gus Malzahn said last year’s 45-41 victory over then-No. 7 Texas A&M in College Station provided the mental validation the Tigers needed to complete a worst-to-first turnaround and win last year’s SEC title after finishing winless in league play during the 2012 season.“That was really the first time all year that I really let my mind go there, that ‘We’ve got a chance to play with anyone,’ ” Malzahn said. “When we beat them on the road, that was kind of a new day and [an impetus] to finish the second half of the season off right.”Auburn, the SEC champ, finished 12-2, capped by a 31-27 loss to Florida State in last year’s national championship game.SEC Network updateSlive said the first-year SEC Network, which will feature the Texas A&M at South Carolina game in its first live football telecast on Aug. 28, will feature replays of most football coaches’ weekly news conferences during its inaugural season.A two-hour pregame show will originate from a different SEC campus each Saturday morning during college football season to preview that day’s action. The network also is slated to show more than 100 men’s basketball games and 60 women’s basketball games this season.
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch