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.
But that might not be the only story: According to local Columbia, South Carolina reporter Mike Uva, some of the issue came from interim coach Mike Bobo as well.
Breaking: South Carolina will not play in the Gasparilla Bowl, according to team sources. 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. @wachfox— Mike Uva (@Mike_Uva) December 22, 2020
This might not be a surprise considering some of the comments made from Bobo, who stepped in as interim coach when Will Muschamp was fired on November 15th. The Gamecocks finished the season 2-8, and didn’t win a game with Bobo at the helm.
Why would the players be so against Bobo? Comments like these likely don’t help.
You may have noticed the SEC was the only conference that had no schools opt out of bowls. Which is fine.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 22, 2020
But this Mike Bobo quote has been bothering me for two days. It's in such sharp contrast to the Jeff Haffleys/Scott Frosts/PJ Flecks why they let their players decide. pic.twitter.com/eLOkX8l0oz
And let’s not forget Bobo was hardly the most popular head coach in Colorado State history. Unliked by both players and fans, a potential player insurrection has some credence considering his history.
As for the Blazers, they are currently without an opponent to play in Tampa on Saturday. We’ll see if ESPN can scratch together a last-minute opponent for postseason-deserving Conference USA Champions of 2020.