Post and Courier
September 18, 2014

South Carolina needs anti-statue statute for sports

Posted: 06/07/2014 05:23 p.m.


By Gene Sapakoff

One of these centuries, or in some post-apocalyptic film starring Tom Cruise, a few poor survivors are going to stagger across the Southeast quadrant of what used to be the United States. To their surprise, they will discover the only things left standing are statues of former sports stars left aside the gray rubble of SEC stadiums.

With all the funding that goes into these hero-worship shrines, we certainly have to hope they last forever.

Seeking to keep up with the SEC's building boom - and also looking to spruce up Williams-Brice Stadium with a little landscaping - the University of South Carolina apparently will go forward with a proposal to erect a statue of 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers.

Life-size.

Bronze.

Like or dislike the Rogers likeness, it's likely to trigger a bunch of statue building at South Carolina and at other schools in the state.

What a waste of good money, energy and perspective.

Similar statues across the SEC have cost $100,000 to $300,000. Just think what schools could do with that cash.

More scholarships for deserving students and applicants.

Lower ticket prices.

One free parking Saturday per football season.

More comfortable seats, just like the NFL stadiums,

Souvenir giveaways, just like professional baseball.

But no. The Rogers statue is ticketed for a new plaza at Williams-Brice, where the game-day scene has been tremendously upgraded over the last few years without statues.

Clowney, The Fridge

Seven other SEC schools have statues of prominent sports figures on campus.

Alabama has five, honoring national championship coaches. So far.

Florida has three - <URL destination="http://magazine.ufl.edu/2011/04/statues-of-heisman-winners-unveiled/">Heisman Trophy winners Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow.

</URL>No way South Carolina will stop at one, even if the Rogers artwork is slated for a rather exclusive sounding "Heisman Plaza."

A Head Ball Coach statue might have already been secretly commissioned as a reward for three straight 11-2 seasons.

A Jadeveon Clowney statue somehow including Michigan running back Vincent Smith and his flying helmet seems inevitable.

Sterling Sharpe. Steve Wadiak. Marcus Lattimore. Connor Shaw. All statues waiting to happen.

But don't stop at football.

Two-time College World Series winner Ray Tanner, clutch pitcher Michael Roth, legendary basketball coach Frank McGuire, former basketball All-American John Roche should keep the quickest sculptor busy a while.

George Rogers was a great player and is a good guy. But he represents a statue movement that might get out of control.

Surely, Clemson will counter.

Banks McFadden and Danny Ford.

Perry Tuttle in his Sports Illustrated national title cover pose.

C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins.

Of course, statues of William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Tree Rollins will require extra bronze.

A Bulldog, and exceptions

Other schools will follow, including The Citadel.

Wait.

The Citadel already has a statue outside Johnson Hagood Stadium. But it's a bulldog statue almost as large as a bus. But that's OK; he's friendly. The permanent bulldog represents all Citadel Bulldogs, bulldogs in general and the rest of the canines in the neighborhood, with funds donated by the Citadel's Class of 1968.

So there are statue exceptions, including:

Generic. Like the cool scene of baseball players celebrating in the "Road To Omaha" sculpture outside Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park.

Fans. The real bronze tribute at college football stadiums in the South should include a happy family of pennant-waving customers.

Mascots.

Otherwise, to encourage sensible spending and confirm that we are not the state of Alabama, the Palmetto State should enact an Anti-Sports Statue Statute faster than a George Rogers dash into the end zone.



Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff