Spurrier lobbies for stipends on players’ behalf
HOOVER, Ala . — Steve Spurrier used to come to Southeastern Conference Football Media Days lobbying for a college football playoff.
Now that one is on the way, the South Carolina coach has set his sights on an array of other topics: money for football and basketball players, scheduling and Notre Dame.
Spurrier again turned the lectern into a bully pulpit Tuesday, saying SEC football and men’s basketball coaches voted 14-0 at the SEC Spring Meeting in Destin, Fla., in May to provide “expense money” to players in those sports.
Spurrier said the proposal includes about $300 per game for football players, slightly less for basketball. Both would get about $3,600-3,900 per year.
“Just to have a little bit of pocket money and their parents to have money to come to the games,” Spurrier said.
“I’m going to keep fighting for our guys. I don’t know what will come. If President (Barack) Obama would say, ‘Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players,’ that they get enough with a full scholarship, then I’ll shut up about it.”
Spurrier then related a conversation between the football coaches and Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the new College Football Playoff.
“Mr. Hancock (was trying) to tell us how it’s all going to work out,” Spurrier said. “He said they were sitting with the commissioners of our BCS conferences and the athletic director of Notre Dame. Somebody said, ‘Why was he there?’ Nobody had a good answer except that’s the way it’s always been done.
“For whatever reason, all 14 of our head coaches thought that Notre Dame should join the ACC and play football like all the rest of us.”
Spurrier finally turned to football scheduling, describing how SEC West champion Alabama and SEC East champ Georgia didn’t have to face the top three teams from the opposite division last season.
“LSU and Florida, I think, have the most legitimate gripe of all of us since they play each other (each year). They’re annually top-10 teams,” Spurrier said. “That’s tough on both those schools.
“There was a suggestion that your division games would count for the division winner unless there was a tie, then you would go to the out-of-division games to try to determine the winner. I don’t know how far that will go.”
A Gator in Red Sox
Since signing a contract with the Boston Red Sox roughly two weeks ago, Florida’s Jeff Driskel has been peppered with questions about what impact the move has on his football future.
Drafted in the 29th round, the Gators junior quarterback reiterated he’s dedicated to football, but wanted to give himself an insurance option if his career on the gridiron doesn’t pan out.
Driskel was on a hog-hunting trip with his girlfriend in Arcadia, Fla., while tracking the draft on his phone when his name popped up.
“They called me the next day and said they’re willing to risk a 29th-round pick not showing up to get me,” Driskel said. “Nothing else in my life changes.”
Muschamp gave Driskel his blessing to sign the deal.
“I told him, ‘Jeff, if you were my son, I’d tell you to sign the contract,’ ” Muschamp said.
ESPN to air Manning film
ESPN Films’ latest entry in its “SEC Storied” series will focus on the Manning family.
Entitled “The Book of Manning,” the film will debut at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 on ESPN and will focus on the personal and professional lives of the Mannings.
Veteran actor John Goodman will narrate.
Beckham on watch list
LSU junior Odell Beckham Jr. was named Tuesday to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, giving annually by the Tallahassee (Fla.) Quarterback Club to the nation’s top wide receiver.
A former Newman standout, Beckham is one of 75 players selected. He led LSU with 713 receiving yards last season and was second with 43 catches.
Tulane senior Ryan Grant and Louisiana-Monroe senior Je’Ronn Hamm were also named to the Biletnikoff watch list, and Southeastern Louisiana senior linebacker Cqulin Hubert was named to the watch list for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.
First 2 LSU home games set
The SEC announced a partial regular-season TV schedule Tuesday, which included LSU’s Sept. 7 home opener with UAB and its Sept. 14 home game against Kent State.
Both games will kick off at 6 p.m. The UAB game will be on ESPNU, while the Kent State game will be on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
LSU’s Aug. 31 season opener against TCU in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas, will be at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The Tigers’ only other televised game at this point is its regular-season finale at home Friday, Nov. 29 against Arkansas, set for 1:30 p.m. on CBS.