Gasparilla Bowl canceled after South Carolina can't play due to COVID-19
Another SEC team is unable to play a bowl game, and another bowl game has been canceled as a result.
South Carolina said Tuesday that it would not play the Gasparilla Bowl on Saturday because of the positive COVID-19 levels on the team. The Gamecocks should play UAB.
"The team was thrilled to learn on Sunday that it will play at the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa on Saturday," said Ray Tanner, South Carolina sports director, in a statement.
“However, COVID and contact tracing have taken too high a toll between coaches and athletes for us to overcome. I told the bowl and the SEC office that we won't be able to play in the game on Saturday. "
Hours after the South Carolina announcement, ESPN announced that the Gasparilla Bowl had been canceled. After the game was canceled, there will only be 27 bowl games in 2020. It was supposed to start at 12:00 PM ET on December 26th.
"The current environment has brought many challenges," Bowl director Scott Glaser said in a statement. “We looked at a number of options for UAB but ultimately couldn't identify any opportunities for them to play at this point. We appreciate the many supporters in the community, including our new title sponsor - Union Home Mortgage - and look forward to hosting the game in 2021. "
UAB won the Conference USA
UAB was simply a victim of the circumstances in South Carolina and, unlike the Gamecocks, deserved a bowl game. The Blazers beat Marshall for the Conference USA title on Saturday, finishing the season 6-3. UAB has won Conference USA in two of the past three years and has finished over .500 in all four seasons since the program in 2015 and Was discontinued in 2016.
The Gamecocks would have played in the game with an interim coach in Mike Bobo. He became the reigning head coach when Will Muschamp was fired during the mid-season. Former Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer has been hired as the next USC coach.
South Carolina was selected for a bowl game despite going 2-8 in 2020. The Gamecocks had to go to a bowl because the SEC had to fill their bowl contracts and the 5-5 LSU itself had imposed a bowl ban. South Carolina's selection for a bowl in conjunction with 9-2 Army's Bowl Snub was the grossest ridiculousness of the bowl season.
But Army is in a bowl game now. The Black Knights replaced Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl on Monday. Tennessee (3-7) cannot play in the game due to COVID-19 positives. Given that two teams were forced to quit their bowl games within two days, UAB could find themselves backing up later this week if they're ready to stand by.
South Carolina went 2-8 in 2020. (Photo by Dannie Walls / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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