DESTIN, Fla. | Steve Spurrier was in vintage form here Wednesday, raising eyebrows with his rhetoric.
South Carolina’s head coach proposed a resolution at the SEC’s spring meetings that would pay college football players in the conference $300 per game with the money coming out of the head coaches’ pockets.
“Most of us coaches who make all the money, we need to get some of it to our players however we can do it, legally of course,” Spurrier said. “Us coaches make so much, we’d be willing to pay it.”
Spurrier, who makes an average of $2.85 million annually, got six other league coaches -- Tennessee’s Derek Dooley, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida’s Will Muschamp, LSU’s Les Miles, Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen -- to sign his resolution.
“I asked all the guys who wanted to sign it to sign it, and I told the other guys, I’m going to tell the media who signed,” Spurrier said.
Regardless of who signs the proposal it won’t go anywhere, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and NCAA president Mark Emmert agreed.
Slive believes Spurrier’s proposal was symbolic, he said.
“I think the gesture was one of thinking about student-athlete welfare,” Slive said.
Emmert, who arrived at the meetings Wednesday, is in favor of talking about expanding the value of a scholarship to the full cost of attendance, but he said Spurrier’s proposal goes against the concept of intercollegiate athletics.
“I think paying players by game doesn’t make any sense to me at all,” Emmert said. “Are you going to pay them based on every game they go to? Are you going to do the same thing with women’s volleyball? And why $300? If you’re just paying them for a game, why not $3,000? That’s converting student-athletes into employees, and I am adamantly opposed to that, and I think that would be the death of intercollegiate athletics.”
One participant in Wednesday’s meeting with SEC athletic directors and football coaches said Spurrier’s proposal was met with laughter, and several athletic directors said the idea belongs in a larger conversation about giving stipends to college athletes.
Even Spurrier seemed to understand his proposal wouldn’t get any traction.
“I just wish there was a way of giving our players a little bit of a piece of the pie that is so huge right now,” he said. “Fifty years ago there was not any kind of money, and players got full scholarships. Now there’s all kinds of money, and they still get full scholarships.”
Spurrier said the money would be considered “game expense.”
“They can give it to their parents for travel, lodging, meals,” Spurrier said. “Maybe they can take their girlfriend out Sunday night or Saturday night.”
The coaches who signed would be willing to provide the money to 70 players per game, he said.
“That’s only $21,000 bucks a game,” he said. “We make all the money as do the universities, and we need to give more to our players.
“Hopefully, there is a way to get our guys that play football a little bigger piece of the pie. Football players would be treated differently but they bring in all the money. They are the performers.”