Ray Tanner

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Will Muschamp gets public support from South Carolina AD, will return in 2020

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It’s that time of the year when athletic directors new and old are faced with addressing the future of football coaches if things aren’t exactly going too well with the program. South Carolina’s Will Muschamp has the Gamecocks sitting at 4-6 with just a few games remaining as they fight for bowl eligibility, and that has raised some questions about whether or not Muschamp will be looking for work in 2020 or if he can stay comfortable in Columbia.

According to a statement from South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner, Muschamp has nothing to worry about regarding his job status with the program.

“Today, I want to make it clear that Will Muschamp is our football coach and will be our coach going forward,” Tanner stated via a released statement on Friday. “President Caslen and I are fully supportive of his leadership and his development of student-athletes on and off the field. Coach Muschamp and our staff are dedicated to the success of Gamecock football. They have built a program where our team plays for each other and for our University, and they deserve our support. While we wish the outcome of some of our games would have been different, we are excited about the future of our program.”

Under Muschamp, who was fired before the 2016 season, South Carolina is a cumulative 26-23 that includes a 1-2 bowl record. South Carolina is in jeopardy of missing the bowl season for just the second time since going 6-6 in 2007 under Steve Spurrier.

While the on-field product may leave something to be desired, it is fair to suggest the program exceeded its norms at the height of Spurrier’s days and that has set the bar high for Muschamp. Three consecutive bowl trips and two winning seasons in three years is far from the end of the world for most programs.  That doesn’t mean Muschamp is without his flaws, which is part of the reason he ultimately was let go at Florida prior to his arrival at South Carolina. But there is another reason South Carolina would be wise to stick with Muschamp in 2020.

As usual, it’s all about the money.

Muschamp would be owed $19,437,500 in a buyout if he were to be fired without cause. According to the USA Today coaching salary database, that is the buyout figure for Muschamp as of Dec. 1, 2019. Muschamp is currently under contract at South Carolina until 2024. It is the 14th largest buyout in the nation according to the figures in the same database.

South Carolina extends partnership with Under Armour through 2026

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South Carolina and Under Armour will remain business partners through June 2026, the university announced Friday. A business relationship that began in 2007 has been a rewarding one for South Carolina, and now that partnership will continue for at least another decade.

“Under Armour has been a great partner of Gamecock athletics for a long time,” South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner said in a released statement. “This agreement will benefit our student-athletes in a variety of ways. Under Armour’s relentless pursuit of innovation, making athletics better through performance design, advances the mission of our program. Their financial commitment also helps provide the resources needed to help our student-athletes have a championship experience at Carolina.”

The newly extended contract with Under Armour will net South Carolina a reported $71.5 million over the next 10 years. Only Auburn will make more off a uniform apparel deal by receiving $78.1 million. Auburn is also an Under Armour school. For the sake of comparison and, perhaps, an illustration of how apparel deals have escalated, Alabama signed a deal with Nike in 2010 that was, at that point in time, the most lucrative deal in college sports with a value of $30 million in cash. Alabama’s deal with Nike is due to expire in 2018. Georgia’s Nike deal, signed last spring, is worth $40 million through the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Ohio State’s newest contract with Nike signed in January is valued at $252 million over 15 years. Texas is going to earn $250 million and Michigan will pull in $170 million through their deals with Nike.

South Carolina has been a key part of the Under Armour family since the company started getting invested in college uniforms, and the company has been investing in a big way. Under Armour is not going to catch Nike, but it can take on (and pass) Adidas in the game. Notre Dame signed a $90 million deal with Under Armour in January 2014, ending a partnership with Adidas. Last October, Wisconsin ditched Adidas as well in favor of Wisconsin. The Badgers signed a 10-year deal valued at $96 million. Wisconsin’s Under Armour uniforms will make their debut this fall. Michigan also signed with Nike after previously being signed to Adidas.

“The University of South Carolina has been one of our landmark partnerships within the NCAA and SEC,” said Ryan Kuehl, Vice President, Sports Marketing and Sponsorships, Under Armour. “The Gamecocks are a key part of our brand story and we look forward to continuing that story together as we provide world-class, innovative product to their student-athletes and the entire Gamecock community.”

Other schools signed by Under Armour include Navy, Texas Tech, Northwestern, Cincinnati, Boston College, Utah and, of course, Maryland.