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Gamecocks' bowl budget slices squarely

There was not much to celebrate from South Carolina's appearance in the Bowl.

But at least the Gamecocks didn't lose money on the trip.

USC broke even on its four-night stay in Birmingham, Ala., according to the bowl budget the school released to The State on Friday.

The financial figures show USC received an allocation of $997,200 from the SEC on the bowl game - a 20-7 loss to Connecticut - and spent $995,583.

The biggest single-line expenditure was the $329,866 doled out for security and coaches' bonuses. Associate athletics director Charles Waddell said of the $270,000 in bonus money, $50,000 went to Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier.

Spurrier's contract states that he receive $50,000 for any bowl played Dec. 31 or earlier, and $100,000 for games on Jan. 1 or later. And though the Bowl was played Jan. 2, Waddell pointed out the game is at the bottom among the SEC's nine bowl tie-ins.

"The intent of that (Spurrier's bowl incentive) was a New Year's Day bowl, something significant," Waddell said. "And Papa John's, that was our last choice."

Waddell said former offensive line coach Eric Wolford, who left in December to become Youngstown State's head coach, also received a bonus - equal to a month's salary.

Waddell said USC limited expenses by staying two fewer nights in Birmingham than it did in Tampa before for the 2009 Outback Bowl. The school spent $130,000 on hotel accommodations and meals for players and staff in Birmingham, plus $54,000 for the band and $25,000 for the rest of the travel party.

Waddell said the Birmingham hotel rooms were $50 cheaper a night than in Tampa.

Waddell, who spent 10 years with the Carolina Panthers, said the SEC devises its bowl allocations in such a way that discourages wasteful spending so there will be more money to divvy up at the end of the year.

Last year the conference gave its schools an average of $2.12 million in bowl revenues.

"What they're trying to do is to cover your expenses, not make a lot of money," Waddell said. "Because then everything else above the allocation goes into the pot to be split among the 12 (schools)."

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