No, I didn’t attend Tuesday’s opening day of the three-day Southeastern Conference football media days. But I have the transcripts. And Steve Spurrier of South Carolina was on fire. Here are excerpts from Spurrier:
We have our head coaches meetings every year in Destin, May 27, 28. It seems like a lot of years we don’t tell you what we talk about and so forth. I would like to briefly tell you some things that our SEC head football coaches and our basketball coaches also voted on, 14‑0, 14‑0 that we should do in college sports.
Now, this is us coaches talking. It’s something that I believe in.
We came up with a proposal, I know the Commissioner has his proposals, but 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. 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 $3600, $3900, 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, Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Kevin Sumlin, all the basketball coaches agreed that their players deserved a little bit also. They could pro rate that out where the basketball players got $3600, $3900. 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 and so forth.
Okay, that was our little talk about expenses. This is not pay‑for‑play. Please don’t say, Spurrier says pay‑for‑play. This is just expense money. I saw the other day this year, the NFL rookies, the minimum is $405,000, NFL rookie. And a third‑year kid, $630,000. That’s pay‑for‑play. Don’t disguise or say $300 for expenses for a game, that’s not pay‑for‑play. 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.
Another thing that came up, we were sitting there talking about the new four‑team playoff. Mr. 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, this, that and the other. 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, this, that and the other. 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, that’s something we talked about right there.
Okay, we all voted 14‑0 they ought to be in a conference (smiling). All 14 coaches, Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Les Miles, we all voted on that.
Briefly talking about schedules. Commissioner has his schedule. Some of the other commissioners felt like it’s not always fair. It’s not always fair. We know that. We know that last year Alabama, Georgia played for the conference championship. Alabama did not play the three top teams in the east and Georgia did not play the three top teams in the west. Scheduling does make a difference. How to make it fair, we’re not all exactly sure how to do it.
But LSU and Florida I think have the most legitimate gripe of all of us. Since they play each other, they’re annually top‑10 teams. That’s tough on both those schools.
There was a suggestion that your division games would count for the division winner unless there was a tie, then you would go to the out‑of‑division games to try to determine the winner. I don’t know how far that will go.
I can understand some teams have a lot tougher schedule year in and year out than other schools. For the sake of fairness, whatever is the best way to do it is the way we would like to do it as coaches.
We’re not so sure right now that everybody has the same thing. So I wanted to mention that. The Big 12, they all play each other. 10 teams, they all play each other. That’s pretty doggone fair. You get co‑champs that way, which they had this year with Oklahoma and Kansas State. We would like to see the most fair way for determining the champion. If you only count the division games, that team should be the division champ, but it could go the other way.
All right. That’s what we talked about. …
We’re always going to play Clemson. They’re our in‑state rival. Our fans would rather us beat Clemson than anybody on the schedule. We’ve only been in the conference, what, 21 years something like that now, and never won it. They’re happy if we beat Clemson last game of the season. They’re very happy when that happens.
Dag-nab it, why doesn’t the Big Ten have one football coach who runs his mouth like this?
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