Gamecocks' will not play in Gasparilla Bowl
South Carolina will not play in the Gasparilla Bowl after all.
According to a report from Mike Uva of WACH-FOX, the Gamecocks will not face UAB in Tampa on Saturday after all because of two reasons. There are rising COVID-19 contact tracing concerns, but also that the players were not excited to play for interim coach Mike Bobo.
“I’m told COVID tracing was a concern but following a player’s only meeting today and a meeting with Ray Tanner, some players did not want to play for interim HC Mike Bobo,” Uva reported.
Earlier this week, Bobo asked if South Carolina held a vote to play a bowl game.
“There’s no vote in the SEC,” Bobo said. “When you come to play in the SEC, you come to play ball. I told them we are going to play in a bowl game. Guys that want to play, weGamecocks' are the second team in the SEC to reportedly not play in a bowl game. Tennessee canceled its appearance in the Liberty Bowl following rising cases of COVID-19 in the Vols program, including several people on the coaching staff.
Statement from South Carolina Director of Athletics Ray Tanner
From South Carolina Director of Athletics Ray Tanner:
Our football team has been on campus since the summer preparing for a football season that saw change being the only constant.
They had to go through strict COVID testing protocols that were as varied and numerous as any group of young people has had to do.
We had a season that was cut short but had to play more Southeastern Conference games than any year in history. Our players, who thrive on the energy from a full Williams-Brice Stadium, played in front of just 20 percent of a stadium, as dictated by state regulations.
Our team competed hard all season, despite injuries, positive COVID tests and contact testing, and several opt outs late in the year.
When the NCAA announced in October that it was waiving the minimum wins requirement to participate in bowl games, we knew that the SEC had enough bowl tie-ins, that we would likely get to play in a bowl game.
The team was excited to learn Sunday that it would play in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa on Saturday.
However, between members of the coaching staff and student-athletes, COVID and contact tracing has taken a toll too high for us to overcome. I have notified the bowl and the SEC office that we are not able to play in the game on Saturday.
I am proud of this team. Their commitment to represent their program and University, themselves, their families, and their coaches, is second to none.