Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Flag Winds Blow against Spurrier

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Flag Winds Blow against Spurrier

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Freeman, The Times-Union

COLUMBIA, S.C.--The flag flies high here, a state-sanctioned symbol of hate, supported by stubborn people who refuse to let go of the past. This is the Ball Dude's new home.

What if Steve Spurrier's greatest opponent is not Georgia or Florida? What if his enemy is not lethargy or that well-known aversion to the planes, trains and automobiles life of recruiting? What if it is not a loaded SEC that slows Darth Spurrier, as he is now known in Gatorville, but something else?

What if the Confederate flag -- the one that sails over the statehouse grounds -- is the one thing that prevents Spurrier from winning at South Carolina?

The grand 'ole flag, that lovely symbol of racism, war and holocaust, might be the only hiccup in Spurrier's grandiose plan to again dominate the SEC.

The reason why has to do with the recruiting of the elite black athlete. In order to turn South Carolina into an SEC power, Spurrier must pursue this player beyond the Carolinas, where the Gamecocks currently get most of their talent. He must recruit even beyond Florida and Georgia. Since Spurrier's name is one the biggest in college sports, he might be able to do just that.

This is Spurrier's problem. He could be doomed if he attempts to recruit a socially conscious athlete aware of South Carolina's official embrace of the Confederate flag.

It is conceivable that a top wide receiver recruit decides his three finalists are, say, Florida, Notre Dame and, because of Spurrier's pass-happy reputation, South Carolina. That recruit could eliminate South Carolina because of the flag issue.

"Something like that could happen," said Corey Miller, a former NFL linebacker and South Carolina alumnus who is now a talk-show host. "It could be a problem with some of the national recruits. …

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