COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina won't be going to a bowl game, after all.
The Gamecocks, who finished 2-8, opted out of the Gasparilla Bowl against UAB on Tuesday due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the program. The game in Tampa, Florida, was scheduled for Saturday.
The moves closes the books on one of the more forgettable South Carolina seasons in recent years.
The team fired coach Will Muschamp in November and ended its all-Southeastern Conference schedule with six straight losses. Former Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer, the son of ex-Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, was hired earlier this month to take over the program.
The younger Beamer had hoped a final game might give the team something to build on heading into the offseason.
Athletic director Ray Tanner said the team was excited about playing UAB in a bowl game. However, the positive tests among staffers and players and subsequent contact tracing “had taken a toll too high for us to overcome," he said.
It was not immediately known whether bowl officials will find a new opponent for UAB (6-3). The Blazers won their second consecutive Conference USA championship over the weekend.
At least 16 bowls have been canceled this season because of pandemic-related reasons. The Liberty Bowl lost Tennessee and filled the open slot against West Virginia with Army earlier this week.
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