The whole situation created by Jadeveon Clowney not really wanting to play for South Carolina while injured and the bad way it was handled by Steve Spurrier and his coaching staff is just another example of the mss the NCAA finds itself, with more and more voices calling to get players at least some sort of pay for the money they help generate to the schools.
The old and existing formula of free scholarships isn’t enough. The explanation that the profits generated by football programs go back into better training facilites and funding less profitable parts of academia just doesn’t convince enough people, especially with the kind of money schools from AQ conferences make from their TV deals.
Clowney might not be the symbol of sportsmanship by taking care of himself first and foremost, not putting his body down for the team, but after the way Marcus Lattimore went from arguably the best running back in College Football to someone almost lost his leg serves as a warning and cautionary tale for any collegiate athlete who might be getting a free scholarship, but is also risking millions of dollars every time he’s playing for free in a College Football game.
Steve Spurrier has changed his tone about the matter. He was quite livid with Clowney not playing against Kentucky, and mostly about announcing he’s in too much pain to play on Saturday morning, waiting for the very last minute. But from ‘if he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play. Simple as that,’ Spurrier was a lot more lenient and soft when time came for his midweek press conference.
Let me say this about Jadeveon: If he never plays another snap here, we all should be thankful and appreciative that he came to South Carolina. We’ve won 26 games, two 11-2 years, the greatest seasons we’ve had in the history of this school, so none of us need to be upset at Jadeveon, none of us. I’m all for Jadeveon and his future, and when he’s ready to play, we’re going to put him out there.
Spurrier talked about how the procedure of informing about the injury didn’t go as it should, which led to the misunderstanding and the bad feelings all around after the game. Beneath it all, there’s the frustration of Clowney not being as effective as he was last season, although it might have to do with playing injured since the beginning of the season, and being double and triple teamed on almost every snap.
South Carolina and Spurrier want to get over the next hurdle, which is getting to a BCS game after two 11-2 seasons. South Carolina are on the cusp of becoming a major force in college football, but keep staying behind either Florida and Georgia, depending on the year.
Clowney, after being an All-American and several award winner last season, was supposed to be a key factor in getting over that hump, maybe en route to an undefeated season. But that ship has sailed, and the Gamecocks don’t look like a team capable of winning the SEC East right now. Clowney might not care about it that much, as long as his number one pick draft status stays intact.