Steve Spurrier hasn’t coached in a college football game since 2015, but the “Head Ball Coach” still has strong feelings about the sport where he found success at three schools.
Spurrier, who coached at Duke, Florida and South Carolina, was among the game’s most colorful characters as well as an innovator with his “Fun-N-Gun” offense. But he didn’t think he’d enjoy coaching college football today as much as he used to.
Prior to receiving the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s Distinguished Citizen Award on Sunday, Spurrier said he supported players receiving name, image and likeness deals but favored a different approach to what’s in play now.
“I don’t like the idea of buying the players before they get there or giving them money before they get there. My suggestion would be go back to the original recruiting rules,” Spurrier said. “After a player gets to a college, he does very well, he can do a deal and endorse. If something wants to pay him a bunch of money, then it’s perfectly all right. But they have to come and play one year, and then, you know, it’s a free country.”
Spurrier, of course, often had quips about schools that were caught facing NCAA investigations. He once called rival Florida State “Free Shoes University” in 1994 after several Seminoles players were accused of being involved in a shopping spree at a sporting goods store.
Now 77, he was more complimentary of current coaches. Spurrier praised Alabama “doing it the right way” with its championship success and didn’t add fuel to the war of words between coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher over how Fisher obtained the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.
“I didn’t think Coach Saban had accused him of cheating. He just said he bought most, if not all of his recruiting class,” Spurrier said. “Jimbo didn’t like it, I guess. It’ll blow away. I guess maybe it’ll come back up when they play each other this year, but it’s pretty old news.”
He also believed college football should expand the playoff beyond just four teams.
His solution? Make the College Football Playoff a 16-team playoff.
“I used to say eight, but now I would say 16. The top teams are still probably going to win, but we can use all the bowls around the country to get those games and you work it all down,” Spurrier said. “They have 64, I think, in baseball. Sixty-eight in basketball have a shot at it. Football, we just have four of the big teams, and it’s about (the) same ones every year. I’d like to see them expand it a bit.”
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