Former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia saw college players being paid for autographs "all day, every day," he told a Charlotte, N.C., radio station Thursday.
"I wish it would have came to me, but they thought of me as some rich white kid, so I didn't really get a whole lot of benefits from that," the former Jefferson High standout said. "I saw it firsthand with a lot of players."
Garcia, 26, did not say if any of those players were his teammates or mention any names. "I am friends with a lot of players around the SEC, and some of the stories they tell me, it makes the Todd Gurley thing seem insignificant by a long shot," Garcia said.
Gurley, a junior running back at Georgia, is suspended as the school investigates whether he accepted cash for autographing memorabilia, which would be an NCAA rules violation. Sports Illustrated reported that a memorabilia dealer paid Gurley $400 for autographed items.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston also is being investigated by his school in connection with autographed items that ESPN says it found on the website of an autograph authentication company. Athletic director Stan Wilcox said Friday that it had no evidence yet that Winston had been paid for the autographs.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say (paying for autographs) does not happen at Vanderbilt," said Garcia, now an analyst for SEC football news website Saturday Down South. "Maybe not Kentucky, either, but every other SEC team, I guarantee you some of these guys are getting some handshakes with some cash in there."
South Carolina officials will be looking into Garcia's comments further," sports information director Steve Fink said.
After his interview, Garcia posted on his Twitter account, "Man, that was blown way the (heck) out of proportion. Everybody calmmmmmm down," and "I was asked a question and gave a honest answer. Sorry for not lying folks."
Gurley still waiting: Georgia traveled to Little Rock for today's game against Arkansas without Gurley. The NCAA said Thursday that it hadn't received Georgia's investigative report.