First off, we thought we were done talking about the South Carolina Gamecocks missing the NCAA Tournament. No, seriously, we did. We literally had no plans of writing anything more about it because, well, the Final Four is this weekend and the thing's almost over.
As it turns out, there was more to the story than we all thought. Ron Higgins is a reporter from NOLA.com. Today, Higgins came out with his "Three in the SEC" column, which dives into the latest SEC news and tidbits. Granted, the third part wasn't so much about the Gamecocks than it was Kevin Stallings' job basically being saved over Vanderbilt's selection to the field (Stallings ended up being named as Jamie Dixon's replacement at Pitt after Dixon headed to TCU), but...well, just read it.
[S]ources told me that the person that makes the travel arrangements for NCAA tournament teams had actually called South Carolina, told the Gamecocks they had been invited, then said to hold on and they would call back in 10 minutes.
South Carolina never got the return call. Vandy got the NCAA bid and then promptly lost by 20 points to Wichita State in one of the tourney's First Four games in Dayton.
Those pesky "sources". Well, South Carolina AD Ray Tanner caught wind of the story and confirmed the report.
According to USC Athletics Director Ray Tanner, Frank Martin and the Gamecocks were notified by NCAA officials around 6:30 p.m. on March 13th, the day of the NCAA Selection Show, that they had been invited to the NCAA Tournament, with a record of 24-8.
And, inevitably (and can you blame them?), Gamecocks Twitter (and Twitter at large) absolutely UNLOADED.
The @NCAA is pretty much a real-life parody account. Future generations won’t believe such a sham of an organization existed.— Gamecockology (@Gamecockology) March 31, 2016
That is just WRONG!!!! South Carolina fans have a right to be angry! https://t.co/ygDJNbQO71— Nelson Royster (@nelroy78) March 31, 2016
Your scheduled reminder that the NCAA is a joke. https://t.co/ykybSXQaGZ— Craig Stanson (@Uscvs24) March 31, 2016
The NCAA is a joke...how do you mistakenly invite a team to the Big Dance?— Michael (@MichaelAFitz) March 31, 2016
Inside NCAA offices, two interns talking:— TRC (@RubrChickens) March 31, 2016
"Dude, check it, I'm going to prank South Carolina..."
"Dude, NO!" (laughing)
"Hello, Mr. Tanner?"
Ah, just search "NCAA joke" on Twitter and you'll see more reaction. There's too much to put into this piece. Although, we knew they were a joke beforehand, anyway.