University of South Carolina Officials React To SEC Football Schedule Changes

Chaunte'l Powell

Thursday evening the SEC announced that it will be moving to a 10-game conference-only schedule with non-conference games. 

For South Carolina fans this means the wont get to see the Gamecocks take on in-state rival Clemson for the first time in over 100 years. 

School officials released a statement on the matter and all expressed overall excitement that there will be a season, but disappointment in a time honored tradition. 

STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT BOB CASLEN
"I am pleased that football will return in the fall and that we will play our SEC competitors. Throughout discussions with other SEC presidents and chancellors, I took the position that we should continue to play our in-state rival, but I support the ultimate decision to have conference-only play.

"Coach Tanner and the conference's athletics directors have worked tirelessly on this plan, keeping the safety of our student-athletes first in their discussions and decision. As our students make their way back to campus next month, I know they return ready for the excitement and tradition of college football. I commend the hard work of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and look forward to the start of the season."

STATEMENT FROM ATHLETICS DIRECTOR RAY TANNER
"I appreciate the hard work and efforts of Commissioner Sankey and the SEC office in developing the procedures and protocols for our student-athletes to be able to participate in their sports this academic year.

"Since college sports were shut down due to the pandemic, the league's athletics directors have met often with the goal of making return to play happen for our student-athletes. I am confident in the guidance that we have received from the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force to provide an environment that is as safe as possible for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff.

"A conference-only schedule gives us the best opportunity to have a complete season because of the flexibility it provides with control over conference games and the ability to make adjustments, when there is a possibility of disruption."

"I am disappointed that we will not play our in-state rival this year. It is a great rivalry and one of the nation's best. The pandemic has created many challenges and forced us to make adjustments. I am glad that we are planning to play football this fall. I look forward to renewing the rivalry in 2021.

"Our student-athletes, coaches and staff appreciate the great support of all Gamecock fans. There are challenges in playing college football in the middle of a pandemic. Our staff is working on a comprehensive plan that will address these challenges."

STATEMENT FROM FOOTBALL COACH WILL MUSCHAMP
"We are excited about the opportunity to play football this fall. I appreciate the leadership of Commissioner Sankey, the SEC office and the medical experts in making the best decision for our institutions.

"It's unfortunate that we will not be playing Clemson this season but that wasn't our choice, it was a league decision. That's a game that is important to our program, our institution and our state, and one that President Caslen and Coach Tanner pushed hard to make happen. I look forward to renewing the rivalry in 2021."

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