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SEC media days: Steve Spurrier on stipends, Notre Dame, more

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

Steve Spurrier was predictably verbose in his address at SEC Media Days. (USATSI)
Steve Spurrier was predictably verbose in his address at SEC media days on Tuesday. (USATSI)

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has become quite comfortable at SEC media days. Preparing for his 21st season as a head coach in the league, the Head Ball Coach has become one of the most quotable figures in the game. Spurrier will say what is on his mind, regardless of the question.

So it came as no surprise when Spurrier opened his time at the podium by addressing some of college football's hottest topics, unprompted by the media. Spurrier acted as the spokesman for the entire collection of SEC head coaches, explaining that they agreed unanimously -- "14-0," he said -- on a few issues.

1. Players need expense money, and coaches will cover the cost if needed.

Spurrier has been campaigning for player stipends for several years now, and he continues to cite $300 per game as a reference figure for college football players. He argues that money can help pay for families to travel as well as put some extra money in the pockets of players who do not come from low-income backgrounds. Spurrier referenced the billion dollars brought in by the NCAA basketball tournament and believes both college football and college basketball players deserve "a little something" with all the money being made on college sports.

Spurrier also reiterated this as a unanimous stance among the coaches, stating that all 14 coaches agreed to pay the $300/game stipend if the schools cannot afford to compensate the players. For 85 scholarship players, that total is just over $300,000 for a 12-game season. If any coaches can back up that claim, it's those with the SEC salaries.

2. Notre Dame should join the ACC as a full member.

Unlike the stipends, this topic was unexpected. Spurrier questioned why Notre Dame was allowed to be treated as a conference unto itself, with athletic director Jack Swarbrick getting to sit in on all the College Football Playoff meetings with the conference commissioners.

Spurrier acknowledged that Notre Dame is now "kind of" in the ACC, thanks to its partial membership and five-game scheduling agreement, but he believes the Fighting Irish should play a full conference schedule like everyone else.

3. SEC division champions should be determined by division records.

One aspect of the SEC schedule debate is the imbalance created by the cross-division draw. While the SEC coaches disagree on the merits of eight- or nine-game league schedules, Spurrier said the coaches did agree that the SEC division champions should be determined by division records. He referenced the Big 12, which plays a round-robin conference schedule, calling it a "fair" way to determine the champion.

If the SEC used division records to determine the participants in the SEC Championship Game, then cross-division draw would mean much less -- particularly with the four-team College Football Playoff in the future. If the division schedule is the method of picking division champions, there will be no year-to-year changes on the path to a College Football Playoff appearance.

Spurrier then opened up for questions on the Gamecocks in 2013. He is proud of Jadeveon Clowney for laying low in the offseason, referring to Clowney as "a good teammate," and expects that both Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson will see time at quarterback this fall.

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