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SEC coaches torn over new rule that will keep coaches' poll voting confidential

DESTIN - Georgia coach Mark Richt doesn't mind one bit having fans know how he votes in the final USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Steve Spurrier feels the same. Florida coach Urban Meyer can see both sides.

On Wednesday, the American Football Coaches Association announced that beginning in 2010 season, coaches' Top 25 ballots will once again be confidential. For the past four years, the AFCA has released the first and final ballots of the season.

"It's surprising,'' said Spurrier, now head coach at South Carolina. "I thought we would stay public on that last vote. I sort of think we ought to stay public, you know. It keeps everybody pretty honest, so I don't know, that was surprising.''

Richt, who said he cast his own vote each week, also said he's not sure it's a good idea.

"I don't mind opening up my vote,'' he said. "I vote myself, I don't give it to a GA. I literally will sit up, I don't usually sleep after a game anyway, and I might call my vote in at 1 or 2 in the morning. And I try to make it make sense. I want to be able to defend my vote every week, whether it's public or not.''

Meyer, who declined to vote when he first arrived at Florida partly because the votes were published, said he can understand why some coaches might want their votes confidential.

"I think that's good,'' he said. "I don't really have a strong feeling one way or the other, but I think it's fine. I think there's arguments both ways. We all know how competitive things are, whether it be a fan base, whether it be recruiting, whether it be friendshiprs. I think at some point you have to trust people who vote. Obviously Grant Teaff and the people who oversee it will look at it and if someone's voting and it doesn't make much sense, I think they'll pull their ballot.''

The decision to make the change came after a Gallop Poll evaluation ov the voter selection process and voting procedures.

Most coaches said they were not in favor of having weekly votes become public, saying it would cause too much extra stress during the season having to answer questions about their votes every week.

"I don't want to do it every week, but I think there needs to be some accountability,'' Richt said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:00pm]


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