I'm outraged, disgusted, and in complete disbelief. It started today as a rumor, and I thought, "there's no way that happened. Even we, as Gamecocks, aren't that unlucky." And then WIS confirmed the initial report. I sat in stunned silence as I read the quick blurb on WIS. I couldn't believe it. The NCAA Tournament, the greatest sporting event in America, had not only snubbed, in our opinion, a worthy tournament team. They simply screwed them over. Seemingly intentionally. The South Carolina Gamecocks, winners of 24 games and the 3rd place finisher in the SEC regular season, was not only left out, but told they were in and then not contacted again.
It's no wonder that at the last minute, it was announced the team would not make an appearance at the Watch Party put on by the Gamecock Club the day of the Selection Show. They likely knew of the phone call made to Ray Tanner saying they were in, and then not getting word back. Frank Martin was quoted as saying, "things weren't looking good" and so rightfully chose to keep his team out of that situation. The NCAA Selection Committee already did a
bad, terrible, HORRIFIC job of filling out the NCAA tournament field with, at best, questionable, choices for the qualifying bubble teams.
Teams have been snubbed before, and the Gamecocks will likely be snubbed again. But this is more than just a snub. This is an error in ethics, morals, and standards that are expected to be kept by the NCAA Selection Committee. Our kids were, putting it nicely, screwed over. Laimonas Chatkevicius, Mindaugas Kacinas and Michael Carrera will never play in the NCAA tournament because of the incompetence by fully grown adults. And that's an absolute embarrassment. Our guys worked their tails off for four years, and deserved a chance to play on a national stage. I, and likely most people, can deal with getting snubbed. But this deliberate act, massive screw up, prank gone wrong, however you want to frame it, is something that can't be forgiven.
Frank Martin will receive a contract extension as soon as tomorrow. The man that has changed our talent level, expectations, culture, and environment as a basketball fanbase for the better appears to be in this for the long haul. We will get our chance and, in due time, we will make our fair share of NCAA tournaments under Frank's leadership. But this should have never happened. Michael, Mindaugas, Laimonas and the rest of the Gamecock basketball team shouldn't have exposed to this kind of cruelty, unintentional or not. The seniors deserved to play in the NCAA tournament one time, and will never get that opportunity, because of the lack of responsibility by fully grown adults.
And it's a damn shame.
It appears that NCAA has apologized. They also claim that the mistake happened because a "junior" employee sent out a text via a new app the NCAA used to notify teams that they made the field. Why they let a junior employee, if this is even true, do this is beyond me. The stakes are way to high to let some low level employee do these types of things.
NCAA puts out a statement related to South Carolina-NCAA tourney: pic.twitter.com/gvt2Y5Ryo2— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 31, 2016
Also to the NCAA: you can take your apology and sho...you know what? That wouldn't have been nice of me. You guys can fill in the blank.