University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner is finally breaking down what exactly happened on an extremely confusing NCAA Selection Sunday where the Gamecocks men's basketball team was mistakenly invited, then uninvited to the NCAA Tournament.
Speaking to reporters after USC gave men's basketball coach Frank Martin a 4-year contract extension and locking in the coach until 2022, Tanner clarified the accidental invite and boiled it down to what appears to be some confusion from the NCAA.
Tanner said one of his employees in the athletics department and one of Martin's employees both received a text message around 6:30 p.m. from a number associated with the NCAA to let them know they were in the tournament.
At the same time, Tanner said, a leaked -- ultimately proven legitimate -- copy of the NCAA Tournament bracket was released on social media that did not include the Gamecocks.
"So we knew that we may not be a team," Tanner said. "So we immediately called and said is this was accurate, and they said, 'We think so, we're not sure.' They called back, I think it was within 6 minutes or so and said, 'We're very sorry.'"
Tanner said he did not get outraged or angry about what happened and admitted it had to have been a mistake.
"A mistake was made, and it was corrected in a short amount of time," Tanner said. "We moved on from there."
The NCAA released a statement after Tanner confirmed the mistake on Thursday, citing a clerical error as the reason why a text was sent to the Gamecocks.
“Unfortunately, during the selection show a junior men’s basketball staff member mistakenly sent a text to a member of the University of South Carolina athletics department staff via an app we used for the first time during the 2016 tournament. The text was supposed to go to all teams, congratulating them for making the tournament. Regrettably, a text meant for another institution went to South Carolina instead," the statement said.
"While the Gamecocks were given serious consideration, at no time during the selection process was South Carolina voted in to the field. Ultimately, they were one of the last four teams left out of the tournament. I take full responsibility for this clerical error and apologize to Coach Martin, his staff and team, and the entire University of South Carolina community.”
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