The situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has impacted University of South Carolina, Southeastern Conference and NCAA athletics. This information is fluid with details and information changes daily.
The Southeastern Conference announced today the suspension of regular season competition for teams in all sports on SEC campuses, as well as SEC championship events, until March 30. The SEC also announced today, the cancelation of the remainder of its men's basketball tournament.
The NCAA announced earlier today that it has canceled the Division I men's and women's 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.
The South Carolina Athletics Department will issue refunds for tickets purchased for canceled events. The timing of these refunds may be impacted by campus departmental closures.
"The safety and well-being of our student-athletes, fans, coaches and staff is the most important responsibility we have in our athletics department," said Ray Tanner, South Carolina Director of Athletics. "The decision to suspend athletics competition through March 30 was a difficult decision for everyone in the league."
The SEC schools has also made a league-wide decision to prohibit on-campus and off-campus recruiting through March 30.
Gamecock athletics squads will determine its own practice schedules during the suspended competition period, while following normal NCAA practice rules. Gamecock Football Pro Day, originally scheduled for March 19, has been canceled.
"This is a public health situation that many of us have never experienced before," added Tanner. "Decisions have been and are being made with as much information as possible as expeditiously as necessary.
Depending on the situation with the COVID-19 epidemic at the March 30 date, the SEC and its institutions may extend the suspension period.
South Carolina women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley had the following statement about the NCAA cancelling all remaining winter and spring NCAA Championships:
"This is a difficult time with so many conflicting emotions. First and foremost, we have to recognize how important it is to do the right thing for our community. Sports is a big part of our lives, but just one part of how we are connected to each other. We need to step back and think about the larger good served by canceling events that put people at risk.
"As competitors, we are certainly disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to contend for a second National Championship. That said, it will not diminish the way we look at our season, how we value our body of work over the last few four months. We have measured ourselves against the best in the country over that time, and will embrace and relish that accomplishment.
"For our seniors and the others throughout the country, who will not have the chance to finish their careers the way they expected to - that's a tougher, more emotional thing to process. Again, we have to lean on that this is the right thing for everyone's health and safety."