Spurrier's proposal just lip service

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Maybe Steve Spurrier was looking at his bank balance when he got his grand idea. Or maybe he just got the first check of a new deal that will pay him at least $2.8 million this year alone.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has a plan to pay players. He offered an interesting yet far-from-feasible proposal that would give 70 players $300 every game for expenses.   Associated Press
Associated Press
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has a plan to pay players. He offered an interesting yet far-from-feasible proposal that would give 70 players $300 every game for expenses.

Whatever, Spurrier must have been feeling a bit guilty over his embarrassment of riches. Is there any other reason to decide after all these years that it's time to toss out a few crumbs for the players who have made him and his fellow college coaches rich?

Go ahead and call Spurrier's idea to give players $300 a game -- out of his own pocket -- laughable. A lot of people already have.

But who are they to judge when it may make the Ol' Ball Coach sleep better at night?

The odds that Spurrier will ever have to actually reach into his own pocket to help his players are slim, of course. Proposals to pay college players more than tuition and room and board have been summarily dismissed over the years by the very people who make their living off what has historically been free labor.

So Spurrier had little to worry about financially when he suggested that there should be a little something extra for players whose only reward now for filling up stadiums and generating television deals worth untold millions is the vague promise of a piece of sheepskin after they put in the necessary four years of service.

Though several of his fellow Southeastern Conference coaches signed onto the concept, it has no chance of passing muster with those who actually run college football.

These are the same people who go apoplectic when players sell their jerseys for gas money or a few discounted tattoos. The last thing they want anyone to discover is that the only thing amateur about college football is the men who play.

Just how Spurrier arrived at the $300 figure isn't quite clear, though give him some credit for offering to dip into his own salary to pay the $21,000 a game it would cost him. What is clear is that he can afford it, especially with the $550,000 raise he got this year for leading the Gamecocks to a nine-win season.

How much money there is in college football was made clear in the recent spate of television deals signed by conferences around the country.

Maybe it's time to open that door all the way. Stop pretending college football is anything but the big-time business it really is and start paying the employees whose hard work and sweat generate the revenue to begin with.

Give every player, say, $1,000 a month to do with as they please. Allow them to have some spending money without having to get it secretly under the table from boosters or would-be agents. Players would be happy, and their millionaire coaches wouldn't feel so guilty.

Best of all, they could drop the charade that money doesn't rule in college football.

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