The NCAA has been poking around South Carolina and several members of its football program for the past couple of months. As of Thursday, the governing body of athletics will be doing some official poking from here on out.
According to a release issued by the school, the Gamecocks today received an official “Notice of Inquiry” from the NCAA, advising that “the NCAA has begun an investigation into the institution’s football program.”
Head coach Steve Spurrier said little about the notice from the NCAA, preferring to concentrate on on-field efforts instead of off-field issues.
“I’m concerned about trying to do whatever I can to help our team beat Georgia,” Spurrier said in quotes released by the school. “That’s what I’m concerned about and that’s all our players are concerned about right now.”
The school’s president uttered more words than his football coach, but said just as little.
“I assure our fans and community that we will do what is right for the university. Winning and playing by the rules go hand in hand. And playing by the rules is the only way to win. We will continue to cooperate with the NCAA investigation as we have in the past regarding possible rules violations,” Dr. Harris Pastides, USC president, said in a statement. “While we are working in full cooperation with the NCAA, our expectations have always been that our student-athletes and staff maintain highest NCAA standards.”
The NCAA has interviewed several players over the past two months, starting with tight end Weslye Saunders‘ relationship with an agent or their associates and at least a couple of trips taken this past offseason. That then expanded to include a look into players’ living arrangements — financial and otherwise — at a local hotel.
Three players who missed last week’s opener because of the various off-field issues — Saunders, cornerback Chris Culliver and offensive tackle JarrielKing for Saturday’s contest — have yet to be cleared to play in the SEC opener for both the Gamecocks and Bulldogs.