©2013 NPT PHOTO BY SETH BUTLER University of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, a former Newport resident, speaks to reporters at SEC Media Days this week at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-07-21 18:05:33)
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

HOOVER,Ala.—With a rejuvenated South Carolina program figuring to be in contention for the Southeastern Conference championship this fall, coach Steve Spurrier was as lively as ever at 2013 SEC Media Days on Tuesday evening.

However, it was not conventional Spurrier fashion. Instead of throwing barbs against his rival opponents, the veteran coach offered up his opinions on the direction of the sport.

Spurrier opened his remarks on Tuesday by lobbying for his position that players be provided a stipend. The payment to players would, according to Spurrier, provide expense money so that parents can attend games and afford the costs that come along with that travel.

“I know the Commissioner has his proposals, but we would like for college football and basketball players that bring in an enormous amount of money - $1 billion in March Madness and football, we know the numbers,” Spurrier said. “(The coaches) believe those two sports, the income producers, those players, most of them who come from lower-income families, that we should provide some expense money so their parents can go to games and afford loding, travel, meals, what have you.

“We’re only talking about $300 a game, but where the players in the course of the year, would have $3,600, $3,900 - just to have a little bit of pocket money and their parents to have money to come to the games,” Spurrier said.

Spurrier, who is entering his ninth season at South Carolina, emphasized that the stipend was not pay-for-play, but was just to cover expenses.

“Don’t disguise or say $300 for expenses for a game, that’s not pay-for-play,” Spurrier said. “Just some expense money for our guys to live a bit better and their parents. Our coaches all offered to pay for it, all 14. It came up to $270,000 for the coaches. We’d pay it all. We want our players to get a little bit more than they get.”

A longtime proponent of the plan Spurrier laid out in his remarks on Tuesday, he said he would keep the fight up for the players of the game.

“If President Obama would say, Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players, that they get enough - then I’ll shut up about it,” Spurrier said. “But I just believe that these athletes, because of the enormous amount of money made, just a little bit to help out with their parents watching games and so forth (would help).”

Equal Representation?: Spurrier also had remarks reserved for the new college football playoff and committee that has came up with the plan for the future postseason of the sport.

The issue with Spurrier - the fact that Notre Dame’s athletic director gets the same rights as the commissioners of the current Bowl Championship Series conferences. Notre Dame plays football as an independent, but will hold affiliation with the Atlantic Coast Conference. As a result, the school is still allowed to keep its television contract with NBC.

“(The Notre Dame athletic director) is equal with all the commissioners,” Spurrier said. “(The SEC coaches) 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 for that’s the way it’s always been done.

“All 14 of our head coaches thought that Notre Dame should join the ACC and play football like the rest of us,” Spurrier said.

Gators Ground Game: Since Spurrier led the Gators to SEC dominance in the 1990s, most stereotypes about the Florida program typically entail pass-happy offenses.

That’s not the picture current Florida coach Will Muschamp wants to paint in Gainesville. Mike Gillislee cracked the 1,000-yard mark last fall - marking the first time that had happened at Florida in nine seasons.

Muschamp, now in his third year at Florida, hopes that becomes the norm.

“That’s not going to be the exception any more at Florida,” Muschamp said. “I’m excited about moving forward with our style. We’re going to be able to recruit student-athletes that can line up and play our style.”

Late-season rise gives Ole Miss momentum: One of the afterthoughts of the 2012 season, Ole Miss finished the campaign on a high note by winning the Egg Bowl rivalry against Mississippi State and taking a win in the Compass Bowl bowl over Pitt.

Coupled with that strong finish, the Rebels recruited at a pace not seen in Oxford since the reign of terror by Ed Orgeron. Ole Miss grabbed the seventh rated recruiting class in the nation, according to Rivals, and also was able to grab defensive end Robert Nkemdiche - who was the nation’s top recruiting prospect.

“The momentum that was created around our place from winning the Egg Bowl and the bowl game was huge,” second-year Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said. “There’s no question that the momentum that was created at the end of the year was greatly beneficial to us in recruiting.”

Live pregame show to highlight SEC coverage: As the SEC prepares to partner with ESPN to launch the new SEC Network next year, commissioner Mike Slive announced a portion of the gameday programming on Tuesday.

The SEC Network plans to air a tripleheader of game coverage, beginning in its initial season of 2014, with games slotted at noon, 3:30 and 7:00 p.m.

Slive announced that each week, a live two-hour pregame show would originate each week from a SEC campus, much like ESPN’s  Gameday show on Saturday morning.

Each school is also undergoing preparations for the new television station. Officials from ESPN have made technical visits to each school and several schools are building new television studios on campus to accomodate the new network. 

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