Spurrier and South Carolina made a statement of their own recently when the university's Board of Trustees approved a tax-deferred retirement package for Spurrier's contract. The package would pay Spurrier $1 million if he remains the Gamecocks' coach on Dec. 31, 2011. Spurrier would lose the package if he leaves
Spurrier already makes about $1.75 million a year, so money isn't the sole issue here. It's about everyone being on board and committed to the success of the football program.
"He's one of the most valuable players in the athletic department. I think he's earned it,"
In another show of unity, the board also approved multi-year contracts for Spurrier's new coordinators, Johnson and special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski.
Johnson received a three-year deal worth $350,000 a year, making him the highest-paid assistant coach in any sport in school history. His guaranteed compensation matches his deal at
Rychleski, a former
Sure, it's big-time money, but this is how the big-time programs operate. If you want to play at the big table, you've got to bring enough chips.
"It's what the marketplace is bearing right now," Hyman said. "The coaches' contracts have really improved dramatically in the last several years."
Sometimes it's not enough to just suspend a player who doesn't follow the law or the team rules. Sometimes a coach has to get creative.
That's what Fulmer is trying to do in response to some recent arrests. When freshman tailback Daryl Vereen was arrested for public intoxication and underage consumption, Fulmer told him he must perform community service at a drug rehabilitation facility, participate in police ride-alongs, and be subject to a semester-long curfew.
Here's the best part. With four different players arrested in the month of January, Fulmer pulled out a new weapon in his fight against crime: peer pressure. Fulmer didn't just make one or two players run. He made the entire team run at 6 a.m. last week.
Imagine how you'd feel if someone made you run at 6 a.m. for something your teammate did. Don't be surprised if the veteran leaders on the team start policing things themselves.
Then again, one of those supposed leaders, junior All-SEC offensive lineman Anthony Parker, was arrested on Jan. 26 on a disorderly conduct charge. In a statement released three days later, Fulmer said that punishment for Parker will include – at the very least – morning runs, curfew, community service and participation in police ride-alongs.
Over on the basketball court, SEC teams are following a national trend by failing to sink free throws at an adequate rate.
"It's already caught up to us,"
"I thought this would be one of the better shooting teams, and we haven't shot it well."
Other poor SEC free-throw shooting teams include
"There's nothing fashionable about making open free throws,"
Maybe teams should address it and practice more. Or maybe they should back off. Who knows?
"I probably need to stop talking about it," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "I'm afraid I've made a mental crutch for our team."
What do these SEC basketball players have in common?
Auburn forward Korvotney Barber;
LSU wing Tasmin Mitchell:
LSU center Chris Johnson;
They've all missed significant game time this season because of injuries. It's hard to be at your best without some of your best.
"That'd be a pretty good team," Lebo said. "A bunch of guys who could easily be All-Conference."
You know things are getting tense at
During halftime of the recent Alabama-Auburn game, Elizabeth Gottfried went one-on-one with Paul Finebaum in a one-sided bout that ended without a decisive ruling from nearby judges. She got in some pretty good verbal shots, but to Finebaum's credit he kept his composure.
"(She) was suddenly hovering over me, asking, `Why do you hate Mark Gottfried? I guess you weren't satisfied getting Mike Shula fired. Now you want to get Mark Gottfried fired,'" Finebaum said.
As for Gottfried himself, when asked about the incident he simply said, "I'm not going to talk about that."
It's a little too late anyway. His wife's tirade has been a popular topic of discussion on radio shows.
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sportswriter, author and Tiger Rag's SEC expert. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.