South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier agreed with an advocacy
group’s report that college football and basketball players don’t
get what they’re worth from their schools.
Spurrier was asked his opinion Tuesday on the study from a
national college athletes’ advocacy group and a sports management
The study calculated that if college sports shared their
revenues the way pro sports do, the average Football Bowl
Subdivision player would be worth $121,000 per year, while the
average basketball player at that level would be worth
Those values aren’t a surprise to Spurrier, who’s watched media
revenues skyrocket in college sports yet scholarships remain fairly
stagnant, often not covering the full costs of college.
”Of course, I think it’s true,” he said. ”I mean, 20 years
ago, 50 years ago, athletes got full scholarships. Television
income was what, maybe $50,000? And now everybody’s getting 14, 15
million bucks and they’re still getting a scholarship.”
Spurrier said at last spring’s Southeastern Conference meetings
that 70 football players should be paid $300 a game with the money
coming out of the coach’s pocket. The proposal was backed by
several of his SEC football coaching colleagues, including Nick
Saban of Alabama and Les Miles of LSU.
The report, ”The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport,”
said the demands of their sports and limited opportunity to make
money outside of school leave some athletes living below the
Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker who heads the National
College Players Association, wrote the report with Drexel
University professor Ellen J. Staurowsky.
Spurrier said those in charge of college sports have discussed
the issues. ”But they’re not going to do anything until maybe they
have to do something,” he said.
NCAA president Mark Emmert and college presidents advocated
increasing grants-in-aid to cover the full cost of college. The
NCAA said Emmert has made it clear that paying athletes a salary is
not on the horizon.
Spurrier, a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida in
1966, understands how much more time athletes must train, work and
study to keep programs winning than in his time 45 years ago.
Football and basketball players bring in enormous amounts of
money and an extra $3,000 to $4,000 would be equitable, Spurrier
South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore says he and teammates
talk all the time about how nice it would be if they received more
money for everyday living and even extras like dinners and
”But there are rules,” he said with a smile.
If college coffers weren’t filling with money, Spurrier would be
fine with a simple scholarship. But if coaches and athletic
departments benefit, the coach wonders why those who fill the
stadiums and arenas with their play.