Another SEC team is unable to play in a bowl game.
South Carolina said Tuesday that it would not play in the Dec. 26 Gasparilla Bowl because of COVID-19 positives among the team. The Gamecocks were set to play UAB.
“The team was excited to learn Sunday that it would play in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa on Saturday,” South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement.
“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.”
The Gamecocks would have been playing in the game with an interim coach in Mike Bobo. He became the acting head coach when Will Muschamp was fired midseason. Former Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer has been hired as USC’s next coach.
South Carolina was selected for a bowl game despite going 2-8 in 2020. The Gamecocks got to go to a bowl because the SEC needed to fill its bowl contracts and 5-5 LSU had self-imposed a bowl ban. South Carolina’s selection to a bowl coupled with 9-2 Army’s bowl snub was the most glaring ridiculousness of the bowl season.
But Army is now in a bowl game. The Black Knights replaced Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl on Monday. Tennessee (3-7) is unable to play in the game because of COVID-19 positives.
Will the Gasparilla Bowl happen?
The Gasparilla Bowl needs to find a replacement for the Gamecocks or it will have to cancel. It said Tuesday that it was working on the “next steps” following South Carolina’s announcement.
If the Gasparilla Bowl can’t be played then UAB will become the team geting a raw deal this bowl season. The Blazers beat Marshall for the Conference USA title on Saturday and finished the season at 6-3. UAB has won Conference USA in two of the last three years and has finished above .500 in all four seasons since the program was shut down in 2015 and 2016.
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