Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Colleges

At SEC meetings, Spurrier pushes to help players financially

HOOVER, Ala. — It was vintage Steve Spurrier at SEC media days on Tuesday, a clear indication the South Carolina coach believes he has "a pretty good team" heading into this season.

With more than 1,200 credentialed media attending, Spurrier continued to push his agenda for more financial assistance for athletes. Spurrier said during the SEC spring meetings in Destin in May that the coaches voted 14-0 to endorse a proposal to help football and basketball players financially.

"We would like for our college football and basketball players that bring in an enormous amount of money, $1 billion for March Madness this year, and football we all know the numbers," Spurrier said. "We believe those two sports, the income-producers, those players, most of them come from lower-income families and that we should provide some expense money so their parents can go to games, lodging, travel, meals, what have you. … This is no pay-for-play."

Spurrier said the 14 league coaches agreed that if their universities couldn't pay, the coaches would pay the approximately $280,000 per year out of their pockets. And he has no plans to back down anytime soon.

"I'm going to keep fighting for our guys," Spurrier said.

Muschamp vs. Ohio State: Will Muschamp was about 15 minutes into his day-long schedule of interviews when the subject of Ohio State came up. And the Florida coach couldn't help but fire back at the Buckeyes.

Ohio State has acknowledged it has reported the Gators to the NCAA for two secondary violations since hiring former UF coach Urban Meyer in 2012. This month OSU reported Florida, alleging that running backs coach Brian White contacted Brooklyn, N.Y., RB Curtis Samuel during a non-contact period.

"It's really a dead issue for me," Muschamp said before his media days appearance. "In both situations we were turned in by Ohio (State) and we didn't do anything wrong. The University of Florida didn't do anything wrong. And so we appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we comply with NCAA rules. They certainly know a little bit about NCAA rules."

Spurrier was asked if he would ever turn in the Gators for a minor violation like what was alleged about White. "Probably not for that," Spurrier said.

Heavy hearts: Florida couldn't escape media days without questions about former Gator Aaron Hernandez, who is in a Massachusetts jail awaiting trial on murder charges. "It's a tragic situation," Muschamp said. "That's a tough deal. My thoughts and prayers are with the Lloyd family (of victim Odin Lloyd). Really, it's a horrific situation, and we want justice for everybody."

OL Jon Halapio, a St. Petersburg Catholic alum, said "It's really unfortunate what happened (with) Aaron Hernandez. It's heartbreaking. That's all I can say about it."

UF-Toledo game time: The Gators' opener, on Aug. 31 against visiting Toledo, will start at 12:21 p.m. (SEC Network).

Quote of the day: "It was sort of quiet. I thought it was going to be a little louder. I looked around about 9:30 and half of them had already left. I said, where did everybody go?" Spurrier on his 50th high school reunion.

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