Paul Finebaum: ‘Persona non grata in South Carolina’

October 5, 2013 

During USC’s inaugural season in the SEC in 1992, Finebaum covered Alabama’s 48-7 rout of the Gamecocks in Tuscaloosa. Afterward, the Birmingham Post-Herald columnist wrote in an “open letter” to SEC commissioner Roy Kramer that he should kick USC out of the league. That led fans in 1993 to post “Kill Finebaum” signs at Williams-Brice Stadium before the Alabama game. Excerpts from that column:


“… I believe I witnessed the most repugnant team in the storied history of the SEC. … Nothing is difficult when you are playing South Carolina. That is, except taking the Gamecocks seriously. … So, Commissioner … in the best interests of the SEC, throw the Gamecocks out of the league.


“Incredibly … Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss now are respectable, thanks to the addition of South Carolina and Arkansas …


“Losing Florida State to the Atlantic Coast Conference (during conference expansion) was a major blunder. Getting South Carolina instead was even worse. That’s like being dumped by Julia Roberts and marrying Roseanne Barr.


“…I think the (inaugural) SEC title game on December 5 will be the talk of the nation. But so will sludge such as Arkansas and South Carolina if you do not do something to correct it.”


“This column made me persona non grata in South Carolina,” Finebaum wrote in his book, “The Worst of Paul Finebaum” (1994). “Fortunately, I survived the evening (in 1993).” Alabama won that game, 16-7.

Bob Gillespie

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