Spurrier proposes pay-for-play plan at SEC meetings


South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier presented a plan that would pay SEC players $300 per game. SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the proposal has no chance of passing. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 5:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 5:37 p.m.

DESTIN — Leave it to Steve Spurrier to find a way to spice up the SEC's annual spring meetings.

On a day when the hot topics were oversigning in football and the possible elimination of the two divisions in basketball, Spurrier stole the thunder Wednesday when he proposed that football players at the 12 conference schools be paid $300 per game.

“I presented a proposal that we give our football players $300 a game for game expense that they could give to their parents for travel, lodging, meals, and maybe they could take their girlfriend out Sunday night or Saturday night,” said the former Florida and current South Carolina coach. “A bunch of us coaches felt so strongly about it we would be willing to pay it.




“It would be 70 guys, $300 a game. That's only $21,000 a game. I doubt it will get passed. But as coaches in the SEC, we make all that money. That's just something I think we need to get out there. Seven coaches said they'd be willing to pay it.”

Along with Spurrier, the six other coaches who signed the proposal were Florida's Will Muschamp, Alabama's Nick Saban, Ole Miss' Houston Nutt, Tennessee's Derek Dooley, LSU's Les Miles and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen.

Spurrier and the other 11 SEC football coaches discussed his proposal at length Wednesday morning, then Spurrier presented it to the athletic directors in the afternoon.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the proposal has no chance of passing when presidents and chancellors vote on it Friday.

“I don't think so,” Slive said. “I think the gesture was one of thinking about student-athletes' welfare.”

When asked if the proposal was a symbolic gesture by Spurrier, Slive said, “I think that's a fair way to say it.”

Spurrier said he's believed for some time that football players should be paid.

“I've thought that for a long time,” he said. “It's just sort of getting to the point now.”

Spurrier's proposal apparently did not receive a warm response from the athletic directors.

“As always, they said they'll talk about it later,” Spurrier said.

Miles embraces Spurrier's idea of paying players.

“It's the way to start a very open dialogue about how to give some of those players that make such great contributions on Saturday, who are good students and good people that really have hardships even under full grant-in-aid, to be able to give them some money,” Miles said. “That really is the issue.

“I think Steve Spurrier makes a great point with the proposal. In the actual workings, I think it's flawed. But I'm for that dialogue. It opens the door.”

Spurrier and the rest of the football coaches also proposed that the SEC's signing ceiling of 28 prospects, which went into effect a year ago, remain in place instead of being cut back to 25.

The league is considering cutting to 25 to prevent schools from oversigning, which has led some schools to greyshirt prospects, a process that prevents players from enrolling until January.

“We're in favor of oversigning,” Spurrier said. “We generally sign five to eight guys who do not qualify (academically) and it gets us a little room and so forth.

“All the coaches are in favor of the 28. We were 12-0 for the 28.”

Spurrier and the rest of the coaches may be fighting a losing battle on this one. Slive has been pushing to cut the limit to 25 in a move to prevent schools from oversigning. The athletic directors and presidents will vote on the proposal Friday.

“They'll make the final call,” Spurrier said. “We've been at 28 for only a year, and it seems to be working fine.”

NOTES: South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday that embattled USC quarterback Stephen Garcia is back in Columbia and has one more chance to remain with the Gamecocks, but that he will be on a very short leash. “He's a different-type individual. He's made some lifestyle change, and we'll see if he can continue,” Spurrier said.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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