South Carolina pulls out of Gasparilla Bowl, game canceled
COLUMBIA, S. C. (AP) - The Gasparilla Bowl was canceled Tuesday after South Carolina pulled out of the program due to COVID-19 issues.
Scott Glaser, executive director of the Gasparilla Bowl, said organizers tried to find an opponent for UAB for Saturday's game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla, but came back empty-handed.
"The current environment has brought many challenges with it," said Glaser.
The Gamecocks who finished 2-8 have opted out due to positive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing within the program.
"See you next year, Blazer Nation!" UAB football tweeted shortly after ESPN Events abandoned the game.
The decision also closes the books on one of South Carolina's most memorable seasons in recent years.
The school fired coach Will Muschamp in November and ended their Southeastern Conference schedule with six straight defeats. Former Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer, the son of former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, was hired earlier this month to take over the program.
The younger projector was hoping that one final game could give the team something to build on on the way into the off-season.
Sporting director Ray Tanner said the team was excited to play UAB in a bowl game. The positive tests on staff and players and the subsequent contact tracing would have taken "too high a toll for us to overcome it," he said.
UAB (6-3) won his second Conference USA championship in a row over the weekend.
The Gasparilla Bowl is the 17th bowl to be canceled as part of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tennessee lost the Liberty Bowl earlier this week, and Army entered the matchup with West Virginia.
Bowl season began Monday when the Camerun Peoples ran for an FBS Bowl record of 317 yards in Appalachian State and hit another five touchdown mark in a 56:28 win over North Texas at the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
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