Frank Martin Says No Word On Provisions for Athletes of Winter Sports

Chaunte'l Powell

South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin spoke earlier this week for the first time since the Gamecocks’ season abruptly ended just minutes before their first game in the SEC Tournament.

On the teleconference, Martin said he’s been managing as best he can, trying to communicate with staff and players from home while encouraging everyone to stay safe and be smart during this time.

One of the first decisions made by the NCAA after the cancelling of sports for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season was granting players of spring sports an extra year of eligibility.

The details of that arrangement have not been finalized, but it has still been introduced. Martin said as of this week no such provisions have been made for winter sports.

“No we have not heard and that’s a delicate situation,” he said. “That’s a little different than spring sports where some people didn’t get their season started or may have just played a third or a fourth of their season.”

Martin said granting an extra season would only benefit a handful of seniors anyway.

“I’ll speak for men’s basketball…but the majority of seniors actually completed their careers. It’s not like they’re missing out on any games,” he said. “Then there was the small percentage of seniors that were going to have an opportunity to play in postseason basketball. Making a drastic decision for a small percentage, I don’t know how you grant the ones that maybe had a chance to play in postseason eligibility and then the ones that weren’t going to play in postseason, they’re not granted eligibility? I don’t know, I’m struggling with that right now myself. I’m not speaking for anybody, I’m speaking for myself. But I get it. That’s a hard decision and it’s a decision that eventually has to be made.”

For now, Martin said the focus is on making sure his players understand the gravity of the situation at hand and stay inside.

“My biggest focus and concern with our players is not the basketball, it’s to make sure that they stay home because they owe it to their parents to make sure they don’t get sick so they don’t get their parents sick,” he said.

He added that classes resuming online should busy them and help quell some of that desire to workout. Martin continued to stress the importance of not taking unnecessary risks during these times.

 “This is not the time to go to some weight room or some gym and play basketball because you don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know who’s sick, you don’t know who’s been where. There’s no way to track it or which one of them has had a family member or neighbor that’s been abroad. So there’s so much unknown in all of this that this is the time to just be patient.”