SEC Football: Spurrier backs player pay, four-team playoff

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier is again bringing up his idea to increase the stipend for college players.

“We’re trying to get extra money for living expense, academic expense, game-related expense to our players because of the tremendous amount of money — billions — they’re bringing (in),” Spurrier told reporters at the SEC spring meetings.

Spurrier said he proposed increasing the amount from the current $2,000 to “approximately $3,500 to $4,000” a year to cover most college expenses for football players and other athletes in revenue-producing sports, such as men’s basketball in Destin, Fla.

“We as coaches believe they’re entitled to a little more than room, books, board and tuition,” Spurrier told reporters. “Again, we as coaches would be willing to pay it if they were to approve it to where our guys could get approximately get three-, four-thousand bucks a year. It wouldn’t be that much, but enough to allow them to live like normal student-athletes. We think they need more and deserve more. It’s as simple as that.”

Spurrier’s proposal would be difficult to implement, including Title IX implications and the fact that not every school nationally would be able to pay the same amount. In addition, football and basketball couldn’t be the only paying sports. A national play for all collegiate sports would have to be implemented.

SEC-OND CHANCE

The Southeastern Conference presidents and athletic directors endorsed a proposal for a four-team football playoff for the Bowl Championship Series on Friday.

The key part for the SEC, which was conducting its annual spring meetings in Destin, Fla., was the backing of the BCS proposal that calls for four teams to participate in the playoff regardless if they were conference champions.

The 11 BCS conference commissioners are scheduled to meet later this month to cement the postseason plan, which is expected to begin in 2014.

The ACC and the Big East have voted for a conference champion requirement. However, the SEC, which has won the last six BCS title games, wanted all of their schools open to the playoff. Last season’s title game featured SEC members Alabama beating Georgia.

University of Florida president Bernie Machen told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday that he expected the SEC to support using existing bowl games for the semifinals.

Also, the SEC, which is expanding to 14 teams this year, will keep the 6-1-1 football scheduling format despite a push from some schools to eliminate the permanent-opponent format from the opposite division.

Teams will play six games within their seven-team divisions, one permanent opponent from the other division and one rotation opponent from the other division.

The league officials also passed an 18-game men’s basketball conference schedule and a 16-game women’s basketball conference schedule.

SAY WHAT?

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin apologized Thursday for a comment during a radio show that his assistant coach’s wives needed to be attractive in order for their husbands to be hired.

The comments went viral and he apologized via Twitter.

Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor of Athletics David Williams also admonished him Thursday over the “inappropriate” nature of the message during the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla.

“He clearly made a mistake,” Williams said. “And clearly what he said is not how he feels and not how we feel.”

Franklin made the comments during an interview with a Nashville sports radio station.

“I’ve been saying it for a long time, I will not hire an assistant coach until I’ve seen his wife,” Franklin said Wednesday. “If she looks the part, and she’s a D-1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That’s part of the deal.

“There’s a very strong correlation between having the confidence, going up and talking to a woman, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being fun and articulate, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him.”

On Thursday, Franklin tweeted his apology: “My foot does not taste good, I hope I did not offend any1, I love and respect ALL, have a great day, enjoy the fam & don’t forget to #AnchorDown.”

Franklin is in his second season at Vanderbilt after replacing Robbie Caldwell. In his first season as head coach, he led the Commodores to a 6-7 record, including a loss in the Liberty Bowl.

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