Springs attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1975, where his 2,047 rushing yards remains a school record. The following year he enrolled at the Ohio State University, where he played three years under head coach Woody Hayes and led the Buckeyes in both rushing (1,166 yards) and receiving (16 catches for 90 yards) in 1977. In 1978 he was elected as a team co-captain.
Since 1990 Springs has had type 2 Diabetes, which led to him having both his right foot and two toes from the left amputated. In 2004, needing a kidney, he was placed on the national transplant list. Though his son Shawn offered to end his career and donate his kidney, Ron refused. In 2006 former teammate Everson Walls agreed to donate one of his kidneys, and the transplant took place in March.
Springs is the father of current Washington Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs.