NCAA looking at players' S.C. hotel stay
With the NCAA already looking into tight end Weslye Saunders' spring trip to Miami and whether it was agent-funded, several South Carolina players, including Saunders, were asked by school officials to move out of a Columbia hotel Thursday evening that also has become part of the investigation.
Last week, the NCAA interviewed a number of players about their occupation of the Whitney Hotel, where South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and other coaches have stayed in the past, The State (Columbia, S.C.) newspaper reported.
Spurrier said Thursday the players have been asked by the school to move out of the hotel, settle their bills and stay elsewhere.
"There's been some issues," Spurrier said on his radio call-in show. "We've encouraged our guys to move out of the Whitney, to pay their monthly bill and move out . . . Whatever their arrangements were, they need to pay up and move out."
Spurrier said he knew there were players staying at the Whitney, but did not know of the details, The State reported.
Saunders is one of the players who was reportedly living at the hotel. Other players who have been linked to the hotel or questioned include defensive tackle Travian Robertson, defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye, safety Akeem Auguste and offensive tackle Jarriel King, The State reported.
A couple of players were seen leaving practice early Thursday, and Ellis Johnson, assistant head coach for the defense, told reporters that two or three guys had to leave early "to go get out of the hotel."
If the NCAA finds that the players didn't pay for their rooms or received discounted rates, it could be deemed an extra benefit.
A Whitney employee told The State that extended-stay rates were available for reservations of three or more months.
Spurrier has said South Carolina expects to have a ruling on Saunders before the Gamecocks play their Sept. 2 opener against Southern Mississippi.
Chris Low covers the SEC for ESPN.com.