Jeffery Simmons caught what many considered an undeserved — and wholly unacceptable — break from Mississippi State Thursday. A day later, the five-star 2016 signee caught a break from his conference for good measure.
In April of last year, the SEC voted to ban member institutions from accepting transfers who had been disciplined for serious misconduct at his previous school, with that defined as sexual assault, sexual violence and domestic violence. As the SEC wrapped up its annual spring meetings Friday, and as had previously been expected, the conference announced that it will be expanding that policy to include “dating violence, stalking or conduct of a nature that creates serious concern about the safety of others.”
Additionally, the expanded policy will require schools to perform background checks on any transfer before they are permitted to practice or play with the team. Those checks are expected to satisfy what’s described as the SEC’s “minimum due diligence expectations.”
However, the new policy still only applies to transfers; incoming freshmen are not subject to the policy. That, though, could change, especially in light of the Simmons situation in Starkville.
“I can envision a continuing dialogue that looks at what we’ve done on serious misconduct relative to transfers, and the question will be asked is that sufficient?” commissioner Greg Sankey said. “Should we remain there? That doesn’t predict outcomes, but I envision that will be a conversation topic going forward. But I never anticipated that we were done.
“This conference has been wrestling with the issue, and it’s not easy. I hope people can appreciate that. It’s not as if this is done in a sterile environment, and I think that’s an important conversation. I said that last year, and I’ve said that this year. There’s a point at which the legislation concluded for this week, and we’ll see what the future might hold without prediction.”