Coach suggests plan to aid athletes

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier makes $1.75 million annually.

DESTIN, Fla. --- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier revealed a plan Wednesday to spread the wealth to football players.

It didn't have much traction, but the possibility of expanding scholarships to cover the full cost of attendance does.

At the Southeastern Conference spring meetings, Spurrier proposed a plan for league coaches to pay players $300 a game out of their own pockets for expenses they could use for travel, lodging and meals for their parents or a night out with a girlfriend.

"A bunch of us coaches felt so strongly that we would be willing to pay 70 guys 300 bucks a game," Spurrier said. "That's only $21,000 bucks a game. I doubt it will get passed, but the coaches in the SEC, we make all the money as do the universities with television. We need to give more to our players."

Spurrier's proposal was viewed as more of a symbolic gesture that players should receive more financial help than they are getting.

"That's part of a bigger conversation," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

That conversation will occur on a national level dealing with making a scholarship cover the true cost of attendance to include tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies and miscellaneous living expenses.

"I think that will probably gain some momentum," Foley said.

"I think we can do more for our student-athletes, but it can't just be for football and men's basketball in my opinion, either, which makes it a challenge for a lot of different institutions. I get that."

Spurrier said six other coaches voted for the $300 proposal: Florida's Will Muschamp, Tennessee's Derek Dooley, Alabama's Nick Saban, LSU's Les Miles and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen.

Georgia coach Mark Richt, who did not vote for Spurrier's proposal, said coaches would like more financial help for their players.

"We do believe that student-athletes ought to get more," Richt said. "We'd just like to see them have more money in their pocket. We're not saying pay them."

Reach Marc Weiszer at marc.weiszer@morris.com.

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