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Steve Spurrier continues push for stipends for players

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Coach Steve Spurrier says it's time to start paying players a cost-of-living stipend. Coach Steve Spurrier says it's time to start paying players a cost-of-living stipend.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Saying that times have changed since a full-ride scholarship could cover everything an athlete needed 25 years ago, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier continues to push his plan to pay athletes a stipend to help with their cost of living.

"I really believe sort of the quality of life of college football players and college basketball players should be a bit better," said Spurrier. "These two are the two sports that bring in the enormous money now that we didn't have 25 years ago."

Spurrier says that due to the billions and billions of dollars that football and basketball make for schools around the country, it's time to give a bit of money to the performers.

"A lot of our players here, we give them weekend meal money, which is perfectly legal, but that runs out pretty fast," said Spurrier. "So I just believe because of the tremendous amount of money they create for our universities and coaches and everybody else, that they should share in it a little bit."

The 69-year-old national championship-winning coach has been beating the drum of paying players a stipend for several seasons now. In 2012, he even pushed the plan to a vote among the SEC coaches, who voted unanimously to ask the league to approve it. The plan has not moved much, if at all, since then.

The plan would involve giving players and their families $200 a piece for each game. For each player, Spurrier says, that would add up to around $360,000 a year for just twelve games.

"That's not a lot of money when you see what's coming in," said Spurrier. According to a revenue breakdown, athletics at the University of South Carolina generates over $83 million.

Spurrier says that many college athletes come from lower class families who aren't able to send their children any extra money because of financial hardships back home.

The coach says even his own players aren't immune to financial troubles. He even relayed a story about one of his players who couldn't even go home for Spring Break because he had no money for gas.

"I said, 'You're kidding.' He said, 'Coach, I'm busted. I don't have enough money to put gas in my car to get back to Atlanta,'" said Spurrier. "We actually got one of our players, which is perfectly legal, to loan him $100 so he could drive back to Atlanta."

"I just thought that was sad with the tremendous amount of money that football is created that we have some players who don't have $50 or $75 to spend here and there."

Spurrier stresses, however, that his plan is not a way to pay players.

"We're not talking about paying them," said Spurrier. "We're just talking about giving them a little extra money to live a little better quality of life."

Still, Spurrier remains optimistic that his plan could become a reality in a year or so despite the slow pace that the Head Ball Coach says the NCAA seems to operate under.

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