South Carolina freshman receiver Damiere Byrd was hit even harder by the NCAA than Florida's Sharrif Floyd for his involvement with the Delaware-based SAM Foundation, which helps inner-city athletes financially.
Byrd, who was expected to play a big role this season for the Gamecocks, has been suspended four games by the NCAA and ordered to pay back $2,700 in what the NCAA called "impermissible benefits and recruiting inducements."
South Carolina held Byrd out of the season opener against East Carolina, meaning Byrd will also miss the Georgia, Navy and Vanderbilt games and be eligible to return on Oct. 1 against Auburn.
On Thursday, Florida announced that Floyd had been suspended for two games and also has to pay back $2,700 for his involvement with the SAM Foundation.
Steve Gordon, the SAM Foundation president, told The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., that the NCAA has been investigating Byrd's and Floyd's membership in the SAM Foundation since January.
Gordon, who's a South Carolina graduate, is miffed that the NCAA would punish players in need for receiving assistance to help further their college football careers.
"Nobody is paying anybody to go anywhere,” Gordon told The State. “We don’t do that. We don’t direct kids. Maybe we should have taken $200,000 to steer a kid to South Carolina and then just say the kid didn’t know about it.
“What’s the difference between Cam Newton and Damiere Byrd and Sharrif Floyd? Cam Newton got (suspended) four hours. Somebody explain the difference to me.”