Spurrier to get paid $900,000 ‘to empty his office?’

Just thought I’d take notice of this item from over the weekend:

The University of South Carolina will pay former football coach Steve Spurrier, who resigned Monday, through the end of 2015, Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner said Friday.

That means Spurrier will receive his full $4 million pay for the year. Based on his annual pay, the former Gamecocks coach is scheduled to collect more than $900,000 through the end of the year….

Spurrier, who left after the Gamecocks started the season with a 2-4 record, has said he plans to stay in the Columbia area. He said he would take the rest of the season to empty his office at Williams-Brice Stadium…

So basically, he’s going to make more money than I’m likely to make in the rest of my working life for cleaning out his office? What’s he going to do, take home one knickknack from his desk each day? Let’s see… with 54 weekdays left in the year, that’s $16,666.67 per knickknack.

OK, yeah, I know — USC probably didn’t have any choice in this. It’s not all that unusual with big-time college coaches to receive the rest of their contract when they leave, and so forth and so on.

I’m not saying any particular individual or institution should have done anything differently than they did in this case. I blame no one. I blame society and its values.

A country where this is normal is a country with its priorities seriously out of whack.

25 thoughts on “Spurrier to get paid $900,000 ‘to empty his office?’

  1. Doug Ross

    He’s a quitter and he left the program high and dry. He hasn’t even ruled out coaching again. Or maybe he knows there’s some NCAA sanctions coming (ala Pete Carroll at the other USC) and wants to get out before the hammer drops.

    1. Juan Caruso

      From the standpoint of near-future recruiting Spurrier certainly has left the program high and dry, but his coaching time had truly passed.

      During his tenure a mediocre program was upgraded despite Spurrier’s declining talent. His infatuation with Stephen Garcia was always as unwarranted as his hopes for his son’s coaching.

      No big-name program AD will put his own head on a platter to hire Spurrier now due to his current age and unorthodox departure.

      Should have happened right after Clemson was able to beat Carolina again after its recent string of defeats. Swinney was actually very close to being fired.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      “Or maybe he knows there’s some NCAA sanctions coming (ala Pete Carroll at the other USC) and wants to get out before the hammer drops.”

      Excuse me, but that’s just ignorant.

      Spurrier was certainly hated by opposing fan bases for his entire career, but he has always run a clean program. Go ask even the most passionate Georgia fan or Clemson fan (both of whom hate Spurrier with the fury of a thousand fiery suns) and they will admit that Spurrier runs a clean program.

      Go home and get your shine box.

      1. Doug Ross

        I’d like to see JaDaveon Clowney’s transcript please. And his checking account statements for the past three years.

        Clean is a relative term when it comes to NCAA football.

        1. bud

          Doug, I agree with Bryan on this one. This is absolutely no hint of any kind of “scandal”. No sure why he’s getting paid though. That’s a head scratcher.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Let’s play with the numbers…

    Median per capita income in South Carolina is $23,943. That means South Carolinians pull down about $5,986 a quarter.

    So he’s making the income of 150 typical South Carolinians. For cleaning out his office.

    I thought it was ridiculous to make that much to supervise a bunch of boys playing a game, but this is way beyond that…

    1. Juan Caruso

      I know comment is actually a plaint for a socialist society. While the roots of royalty still thrive in every successful socialist nation except little ones like Iceland, many Americans detest the favoritism still accorded in Europe to historical lords and other favorites.

      Looking at your numbers, we non-socialists wonder why well-known, high compensation “not-for-profit” CEOs (very often lawyers)”, regular CEOs, coaches. entertainers, politicians, and all of the others benefit so handsomely from ridiculously low wage caps on F.I.C.A. taxes. Some of the the aforementioned pay zero F.I.C.A. tax after January each year, and others a week or two earlier.

      Rather than increasing the cap periodically based upon increases in congressional pay, the FICA cap should have been rising in proportion to the number of employees whose cumulative earnings equal the pay of those at and near the top. Although, the FICA deduction is considered exceptional because its collection is tied to a benefit, the ratio of ordinary employees to CEO pay has risen to unconscionable proportions.

      Since Social Security ‘s 1935 enactment, the worker-to-CEO ratio has rocketed (e.g. from 20 times in 1965, to 295.6 times in 2013; that is by a factor of 14.8. In the same period Social Security ‘s Maximum Taxable Earnings have increased from $3,000. to $113,700; that is, by a factor of 37.9. In other words, the FICA wage cap has increased less than 2/5 -ths of the increase in workers-to-CEO pay. Just saying…

  3. Bryan Caskey

    It’s certainly odd.

    I would assume that this is simply addressed in the negotiated contract between Spurrier and USC.

    If USC had fired Spurrier, I would understand the continued payments. It’s typical that coaches negotiate for full payment of their salary for the term of the contract even if they are fired. That’s standard. What’s also odd is that even if a coach quits, it’s usually to take another job immediately, so most coaches don’t quit until after the end of the season.

    Here, you have the double oddity of a resignation that takes place during the middle of a season. This just doesn’t happen that often. I’m having trouble thinking of any college football coach who voluntarily resigned in the middle of the season. I’m assuming it’s happened before, but if it has, it’s very rare.

    Accordingly, it is likely a contractual provision that says something along the lines of “The university will continue to pay the coach’s salary through the end of the season in which he resigns.” If this is not the case, then I’m truly confused as to why the university would simply perform what is nothing less than an act of charity to someone who really doesn’t need it.

    Seriously, Spurrier is set for life already. He doesn’t need the money. Accordingly, I would have a really hard time believing that there is no contractual obligation to pay him, but the university is simply giving him this money as a token of thanks. I guess it’s possible, but I would be surprised if that’s the case.

    All just my speculation, though. Would need to see the contract to really understand what’s at work here.

    Final thought: From the press conference, there was some sort of mention that there may be some sort of provision that Spurrier stays on as an “advisory position” to the university or team or something. So that’s in the mix, too.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That may indeed be “in the mix,” but I’m just doing the Will Rogers thing and citing what I read in the paper, which said that Spurrier “said he would take the rest of the season to empty his office at Williams-Brice Stadium.”

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Yeah, I get that. Maybe it is charity on the part of the university. Maybe they feel like they ought to pay him to thank him for everything he’s meant to the program since they hired him in 2004. I could see where they’re coming from. Maybe Tanner and the BoT feel like it’s the right thing to do given how much success, money, and national attention Spurrier has brought the university.

        However, if you don’t give a whit about football (and don’t understand what he’s meant to the university) I can see how you wouldn’t understand.

        1. Doug Ross

          I’ve followed USC since I moved here 25 years ago and even moreso when my two boys were there. His departure is a joke regardless of which second tier bowl games he was able to win in the past. He quit when things got tough and he’s smart enough to know that they aren’t getting better soon.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          It’s not that I “don’t give a whit about football.” In fairness to football, I’ll say I can certainly appreciate a good play — in fact, when I covered prep games early in my career, I had a bad habit of getting excited and standing up when something outstanding happened on the field, only to realize that I was sitting in the stands of the OTHER team’s supporters, and everybody was looking daggers at me. (I made it a point to sit in the stands rather than the press box, just as at political events I prefer mixing with the crowd to sitting in the media bubble.)

          But it doesn’t stir me the way it does other people, and while I’m happy to see Columbia do well economically when the Gamecocks win, I just don’t have it in me to care much whether this team wins or that one.

          This causes an alienation that’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t felt it. I am so very aware of how intensely other people CARE about the game and their team. I find their mania irritating, and my own separation from them regrettable.

          So I resent football for causing this gulf between me and normal people. When I say “normal,” I’m using it in the statistical sense rather, because they certainly outnumber me…

          1. bud

            Don’t feel bad Brad. I’ve met lots of abnormal people over the years. 🙂 As Bryan mentioned previously you should at least be able to appreciate the way people come together for a common cause. Maybe it’s not fighting the Nazis but nonetheless it does show a certain level of community spirit and involvement among the citizenry. And isn’t that a good thing?

          2. Bryan Caskey

            “I just don’t have it in me to care much whether this team wins or that one.”

            Every Fan down in Fanville liked Football a lot,
            But the Grinch, who lived just west of Fanville, did not.
            The Grinch hated Football— the whole Football season.
            Oh, please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
            It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
            It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
            But I think that the most likely reason of all
            May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

        3. Rose

          I follow USC football but charity for someone who makes millions every year??? No way. And his reference to outlasting Ron Morris were crass and unnecessary. If he had any class he’d give the office-cleaning salary to real charity, perhaps the flood victims.
          And will someone PLEASE tell Sean Elliott to stop spitting on the sidelines?!?!?! I was sick of seeing it all during the game. Nasty.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spurrier donates some or all of that money somewhere. I agree, that would be the right thing to do.

            As for a football coach spitting on the sidelines during a game, all I can say is:

    2. Mark Stewart

      Negotiated settlement.

      If Spurrier is fired, he gets paid on remainder of contract. If he quits he gets nothing. So this clearly seems like the school said we will fire you, but we would prefer if you quit. And Spurrier said he would rather quit than get fired, but… So they said we will pay you another $1M – and he took it and bowed off the stage. The advisory position is just the window dressing to make the payments conform to law. Anyway, that’s my view. We are asking how the sausage gets made, and butchers do that in the back room.

        1. Barry

          It’s not remotely plausible.

          Ray Tanner didn’t tell Steve Spurrier he would get fired- or anything close to it. Ray Tanner would not have fired Steve Spurrier.

          Don’t believe me – email any of the following and ask them about it and they’ll tell you the same thing – Josh Kendall (The State), Phil Kornblut (SC News Network), Corey Miller (Former player, WACH-TV 57), Tim Hill (ABC Columbia), Jay Philips ( Sports Talk show host at 107.5FM), RIck Henry (WIS) – or any other reporter that covers South Carolina.

  4. Barry

    1) I think earning that sort of money for coaching football is ludicrous. But that shows you what South Carolina folks- and folks across the nation really care about. So it’s just a reflection of what our values happen to be.

    2) Spurrier did quit. As a USC fan and alum, there is no way around that fact.

    3) I am glad Spurrier quit. I think it actually helps matters – and I think he knew that. But he still quit. But I am ok with it.

    4) He should have told USC to stop paying him effective the day he resigned.

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