<
>

Spurrier's wife's letters to recruits' families break rule

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- It's one thing for South Carolina coach
Steve Spurrier to read the riot act to an assistant coach for
breaking NCAA rules. It's a whole different matter when the
offending person is your wife.

Spurrier said Friday that his wife, Jerri, unknowingly violated
NCAA rules by sending handwritten notes to families of players who
had signed with the Gamecocks.

It's something she had done for years, wishing the newest
players well as they got ready to join the ball coach's teams. She
kept up the practice when her husband took over the Gamecocks in
November 2004.

"She's done it every year in the past. This year's it's a
violation, I guess," Spurrier said.

The infraction, which the university classified as a "Level
II" secondary violation, was among eight secondary violations the
school reported that took place between July and December.

Two other incidents involved the football program, according to
the school. On July 27, an academic department improperly certified
degree applicable hours to two student-athletes in football and
men's basketball. Then on Nov. 29, the school said a football
assistant called a prospective athlete during June and July when
such calls could not be made until Sept. 1.

The later violation was classified as "Level I," meaning it
will go from the Southeastern Conference office to the NCAA
enforcement staff for review. South Carolina is currently under a
three-year NCAA probation for violations that occurred when Lou
Holtz was coach from 1999-2004.

Spurrier said the offending assistant, defensive line coach Brad
Lawing, had not been on the road recruiting since the end of the
season.

"A lot of his recruiting responsibilities had been taken away
in the last month or so," Spurrier said.

Lawing, in his first season on Spurrier's staff, did not want to
discuss the violation after practice.

Spurrier, known as a head coach who does not tolerate NCAA
improprieties, said he made sure Lawing knew not to repeat his
mistake. "I don't think he will," Spurrier said.

Spurrier characterized Lawing's actions as "careless, lazy, bad
decision, whatever."

"We don't operate like that," Spurrier said. "It should not
happen again."

All secondary violations will be sent to the SEC office. The
more serious, "Level I" violations then go to the NCAA
enforcement staff. The "Level II" violations are turned in to the
NCAA at the end of the academic year.

Of the rest of South Carolina's reported violations, two
involved the volleyball team, and one each involved men's soccer,
women's basketball and equestrian. Six of the eight transgressions
were categorized as "Level I" while a volleyball student-athlete
making free phone calls on an athletic department phone joined
Jerri Spurrier as a less-severe, "Level II" violation.

Spurrier was asked why anyone might turn in the Gamecocks for a
simple note from his wife.

"It's easy to turn somebody in. I got turned in for talking to
a kid at a high school during a junior recruiting period,"
Spurrier said. "I did say hello to him, but I didn't give him a
recruiting speech.

"So anybody can turn anybody in just like anybody can sue
anybody in America," Spurrier said.