Florida coach Steve Spurrier is making light of recent allegations against arch-rival Florida State, saying the letters FSU stand for Free Shoes University.
Spurrier also said he has long heard rumors of Florida State players getting treated much better than their counterparts elsewhere."We've always heard rumors about them," he told a Florida Today columnist in today's editions. "We've always suspected. They've beaten us four out of five years in recruiting.
"They always tell their fans that the reason they out-recruit us is because they outwork us. Well, that's their story."
Florida State has ordered an investigation of recent allegations against the football program. Eight players were accused of taking part in an after-hours shopping spree at a sporting goods store, with $6,000 in merchandise paid for by an unregistered agent.
" our recruiting, we had another solid year," Spurrier said in an appearance before the Polk County Gator Club boosters in Lakeland on Tuesday. "We didn't get as many blue-chip players as FSU got, but I'm starting to understand why they're getting so many of those guys now."
Wayne Hogan, assistant athletic director at Florida State, said Spurrier's comments were unfortunate.
"You don't try to take advantage of a program when they're having problems," Hogan said. "You hear enough talk on the street among fans.
"People that work in this business understand the perils of the business. They understand that there are some things that happen beyond the program's control."
Spurrier told Florida Today of a "recruit's mom" who, four years ago, came to Gainesville after a recruiting visit to Tallahassee.
"She told me, `The cars in your parking lot don't look as good as the ones at FSU.' I told her she was right and that ours are never going to look that good. I don't know how (FSU players) get new cars, but they have a way of getting them.
"There is a perception out there about them," he said. "And it's a perception around the country, not just me. Good things seem to happen to their players with regards to material things once they get there."Comment on this story
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has denied any knowledge of wrongdoing by his players.
"I believe some coaches try not to find out anything," Spurrier said. "I'm not mentioning any names, but some coaches deliberately stay out of the loop. This way, when something happens, they can say they've not done anything wrong."
A scandal also recently surfaced at the state's third college power, Miami, where former players said they received incentive pay from other ex-players and rap star Luther Campbell.
"That's no surprise to us either," Spurrier said. "It's no surprise to me at all, not at either of those two places. I don't think (Miami coach) Dennis Erickson knew. I always try to defend coaches. But again, how much do they try to know?"