Pair of Gamecocks have opted out of upcoming football season

Pair of Gamecocks have opted out of upcoming football season
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp is seen before the Vanderbilt game in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA) (Source: Travis Bell)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Wednesday, South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp announced that two players have officially opted out of the upcoming season for the Gamecocks.

Offensive linemen Mark Fox and Jordan Rhodes have decided not to play this season.

“I certainly respect their decision and understand that,” Muschamp said. “That’s certainly their right at this time.”

Muschamp said both players will remain on scholarship, but they both have returned home to be with their families.

Muschamp also gave a little more detail regarding the testing numbers within the Gamecocks’ program, saying that there’s less than a 5% positive rate in their building. Muschamp added two of the positives that the team had were guys who were out of town who came back in for a test.

“Hopefully, we’ll continue to trend downward in those numbers as a state and as a football program,” Muschamp said.

Even with that, Muschamp said the team is continuing to follow safety guidelines and practice social distancing during meetings and workouts.

“For the offensive line and defensive line, we’re meeting in the indoor [facility],” Muschamp said. “So, we’ve got a big screen there. We structure our lift times where one group will be in the weight room, one group will be in the indoor meeting. We utilize our big team meeting room for our receivers, some of the bigger groups, the defensive meeting room for our defensive backs, which is a bigger group. We use our staff meeting room for the linebackers. The quarterbacks are able to meet in the quarterback room.

“By law, social distance is there so all meeting rooms have been approved. We’ve got name tags on all the chairs where the guys know where they’re supposed to be sitting in the rooms to make sure we’re social distancing, keeping a mask on, continuing to talk to our guys about washing their hands and all that stuff.”

Muschamp added that the underclassmen are using the stadium locker rooms and are being brought over to the facility for practice, while the upperclassmen are using the locker room in the operations facility in an effort to ensure social distancing.

Muschamp said, according to the league, student-athletes will be tested three times per week: Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

“I’m encouraging them to lead a very boring life right now,” Muschamp said. “Boring is good and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s hard sometimes, especially for young people, to lead a very boring life, but that’s what we need to do as we continue through the summer and start into fall.”

South Carolina can officially begin fall practice Aug. 17.

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