For South Carolina fans who have been enjoying the debate surrounding coach Will Muschamp’s future with the football program, USC’s administration just keeps adding fuel to the fire with yet more contradictory and baffling statements, this time from President Bob Caslen.
SCNow reported, via Caslen, that athletic director Ray Tanner had been in touch with Florida State’s brass about how it handed the dismissal of Willie Taggart, whose buyout carried a similar price tag to Muschamp’s galling $18 million. Perhaps realizing that airing such behind-the-scenes discussions was in poor taste, especially given Tanner’s emphatic public statements of support for Muschamp, Caslen then attempted to backtrack and accuse the outlet of fabricating his remarks. The Greenville News countered with a recording of the interview, and now here we are — Gamecock football is not alone in being an utter mess, because the administration has decided to join in on the fun.
Caslen, who was already a very contentious hire and has only been on the job for a few months, is not exactly endearing himself to his detractors, and even some of his supporters are frustrated by this. It’s a bad look that reflects poorly on both his professionalism and the public perception of how USC conducts its business, and from where I’m sitting, fans are right to start worrying about how willing a new coach would be to enter this fray.
But politics or PR optics aside, given that Tanner and Caslen appear to be taking thinly veiled shots at each other through their statements to the media, it seems clear to me that these three men cannot work together. Either one of them goes (likely Muschamp) or two of them do (likely Muschamp and Tanner), but South Carolina has managed to embarrass itself both on and off the field this season.