COLUMBIA, S.C. — Seth Strickland was not a starter on the Gamecock football team last year, but the quarterback got a lot of TV airtime signaling plays on the sideline next to head coach Steve Spurrier.
With his college playing days over, the Laurens political science graduate is sending signals to lawmakers as a lobbyist for the S.C. Association of School Administrators. He got the part-time gig after two summer internships with the group that represents school superintendents, principals and other school leaders.
While Strickland is following bills on open enrollment, he also is taking classes to finish a masters degree in public administration.
He said some lawmakers recognize his name: They do a little double take and want to talk about Gamecock football. Its a good icebreaker.
They most often ask about Spurrier, former Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore, former USC quarterback Stephen Garcia and the upcoming quarterback battle between Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson. (Asked for his take on the quarterback situation, Strickland gave a very political answer: Theyre certainly both good quarterbacks, and, as we have seen, you need more than one quarterback.)
Strickland said playing at a major college program taught him some skills lobbyists need following a playbook, working to build relationships and interacting with the media: You couldnt have paid to learn all that in the real world.
After getting his graduate degree, Strickland said he will choose whether to coach football or work fulltime as a lobbyist.
Politics and football are the same, he said. They bring people together who otherwise would not get together.