COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier upset high school coaches in his new homestate when he revoked the scholarships of six players recruited by his predecessor.

The South Carolina Football Coaches Association’s Board of Directors called the move “unethical” in a letter to Spurrier on Wednesday.

“We understand athletic scholarships are a year commitment,” according to the board’s letter. “However, we feel that unless an athlete breaks rules’ or embarrasses the institution, to revoke a scholarship because you feel an athlete cannot play at the level needed to compete in the Southeastern Conference is unethical.”

The board’s letter, signed by about 90 coaches, also recommended the South Carolina High School League find an alternate location for its five state championship games, scheduled to be played at South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium in December.

Earlier this summer, Spurrier sent letters to six players telling them they would lose their scholarships. Those affected included South Carolina high school products Grayson Mullins and Trent Usher.

“We had some walk-on players who were actually contributing more,” Spurrier said at the Southeastern Conference football gathering in Birmingham, Ala. “So some of the high schoolers, they got mad about it. I don’t know what to say, but to me in life you put people on scholarship who deserve it the most. and that’s what we tried to do.”

Spurrier last week said receiver Michael Flint and long-snapper Ike Crofoot, both walk-ons, were rewarded with scholarships.

Spurrier’s arrival as Holtz’s replacement has been greeted with glee by most South Carolina supporters. The school said Thursday it sold a record of 62,618 seasons tickets. Donations to the Gamecock Club were up more than $1 million from last year to a record of $13 million.

Tweito said the high school coaches were not trying to pick a fight with Spurrier or sour future recruits on the Gamecocks; they were just making their case in one of the few ways they could.

“Some coaches are so upset about it, they won’t welcome (South Carolina) recruiters into their school,” he said.

“We’re not trying to play political football here,” Tweito said.

Tweito stressed the coaches were not out to damage South Carolina’s program, despite the letter’s harsh words.

Spurrier “absolutely knows how to run a program and we wish him the best,” Tweito said. “We’re all for Carolina football and for college football in our state. This was something we felt we had to do.”

AP-ES-07-28-05 1949EDT

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