Monday, August 06, 2007

The Ole Ball Coach Speaks

Below are comments Steve Spurrier made today concerning the denial of a couple of players from being admitted to South Carolina, after they were previously cleared by the NCAA. I commend Spurrier for speaking up against the administration like this. However he can get away with it. There are only a handful of coaches that could get away with making the comments he did to his administration.

Now when Jerrell Powe gets rejected again in the next few weeks, do you think Ed Orgeron could get away with making statements like this, I don't think so. Orgeron would be nailed by the media and more than likely by the "good ole boys" inside the Ole Miss fanbase. For those that dog him now, this would only add more to the fire.

Columbia, S.C. — An embarrassed and angry Steve Spurrier blasted South Carolina's admissions process Sunday, apologizing to two recruits who signed with the Gamecocks last winter and were denied academic entry this summer."In my opinion, I still believe we made a mistake in doing this," Spurrier said Sunday.Spurrier had spoken with university president Andrew Sorensen and the two agreed, the coach said, that things needed to change.Spurrier was angered that receiver Michael Bowman of Wadesboro, N.C., and Arkee Smith of Jacksonville, Fla., were cleared by the NCAA to enroll, yet were turned down by the university. The rest of the Gamecocks football team officially reported Friday for preseason camp."Hopefully, I truly believe this is the last year this is going to happen, because I can't operate like that," Spurrier said. "I can't operate misleading young men."Spurrier signed a contract extension, which included a raise of nearly a half-million dollars, that ties him to South Carolina through 2012. However, he said if things didn't change on admissions "then I have to go somewhere else, because I can't tell the young man that he's coming to school here," then not have him admitted.University spokesman Russ McKinney said Spurrier has been involved in talks with Sorensen and other administrators about refining the process of athletic admissions."I think the university administration understands his frustration," McKinney said.McKinney said the goal would be to let all South Carolina coaches know as early as possible whether a prospect would meet the university's admission standards.It's not the first time athletic admissions has a chief topic for Palmetto State football fans.In February, Clemson's football program lost prospects in receiver Dwight Jones and runner Jo Jo Cox when they were turned down by the school's Athletic Advisory Review Committee.About a week later, Clemson president James Barker pledged a review of the entrance process for athletes. Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden said then he thought academic administrators there understood the importance of recruiting "on a level playing field" with other schools.And it's also not the first time that Spurrier has had influence on university policy. Before his first season, South Carolina's athletic department changed its drug testing stance from "two strikes and your out" to where it would take a fourth positive test for dismissal from school.At the time, Spurrier said the revamped guidelines were more in keeping with South Carolina's rivals. "It should be close to Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, very much in line with the state universities in the SEC," he said in August 2005.This time, Spurrier pressed his case at the school's media day.He felt he still had the support of South Carolina administrators in going forward with changes. He did not discuss specifics of what the new admissions process should be, only that it had to change.He said his credibility took a hit with coaches, players and families who knew Bowman and Smith, two members of a recruiting class that most analysts had ranked among the 10 best in the country."For our credibility, mine and the coaching staff, I just want the high school coaches, the parents of players and all of them to know that's not going to happen here if I continue to be the coach," Spurrier said.