South Carolina’s turn at SEC media days Tuesday was highlighted by Jadeveon Clowney’s many candid comments, which you can read in Wednesday’s print edition. Clowney also had a couple remarks about Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd being “scared,” and you can read about those here.
But as usual, there were also plenty of highlights of Steve Spurrier’s powwow Tuesday. The most interesting, bigger-picture things were what Spurrier had to say about covering players’ expenses and the future of college football, as it pertains to Notre Dame’s involvement in a conference.
Spurrier covered both topics in his opening statement, after saying they were discussed in May at the SEC’s annual meetings in Destin, Fla.
“We would like for our college football and basketball players that bring in an enormous amount of money — $1 billion March Madness this year, football, we all know the numbers,” he said. “We believe those two sports, the income producers, those players, most of them come from lower‑income families, that we should provide some expense money so their parents can go to the games, lodging, travel, meals, what have you.
“We’re only talking about $300 a game. Basketball would be a little less. But where the players in the course of the year would have $3,600, $3,900, depending on how many games you play, just to have a little bit of pocket money and their parents to have money to come to the games. We all voted 14‑0. That’s all of us coaches. All the basketball coaches agreed that their players deserved a little bit also. They could pro rate that out where the basketball players got $3,600, $3,900. This is tiny compared to the money that’s coming in now. I think we all know that.
“I’m going to keep fighting for our guys. I don’t know what will come. If President Obama would say, ‘Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players, that they get enough, they get enough full scholarship,’ then I’ll shut up about it. But I just believe that these athletes, because of the enormous amount, just a little bit to help out with their parents watching games.
“This is not pay‑for‑play. Please don’t say, ‘Spurrier says pay‑for‑play.’ This is just expense money. Just some expense money for our guys to live a little bit better, and their parents, guardians, whatever.
“Us coaches, if it was a financial burden for our universities, our coaches all offered to pay for it, all 14. It came up to $270,000, $280,000 a year for the coaches. We’d pay it all. We want our players to get a little bit more than they get.”
It’ll be interesting to see where this proposal by the SEC coaches goes, in terms of NCAA legislation.
“Another thing that came up, we were sitting there talking about the new four‑team playoff,” Spurrier said. “Mr. (Bill) Hancock, who is on the committee, to try to tell us how it’s all going to work out. The committee is going to name the four teams. He said they were sitting with the commissioners of our BCS conferences and the athletic director of Notre Dame. Somebody said, ‘Why was he there? He’s equal with all the commissioners.’ We just started trying to figure out why the athletic director of Notre Dame is equal to all the conference commissioners. Nobody had a good answer except that’s the way it’s always been done.
“For whatever reason, all 14 of our head coaches thought that Notre Dame should join the ACC and play football like all the rest of us. They’re in a conference. I know the Notre Damers will get mad at me and us coaches maybe for saying that. If you were a Notre Damer, you would say, ‘We’re supposed to be independent in football, always.’ From all of the rest of us that are in a conference, we say, ‘Why aren’t they in a conference?’ It’s sort of hard to figure out why they have their own conference.
“They’re sort of in the ACC. I know it’s probably not going to happen, won’t happen because I said it, but maybe if you can give me a good reason why they’re not in a good conference with all the rest of the schools.”