To combat what they describe as a “culture of systematic losing,” the University of South Carolina football team has collectively declared it will not practice or participate in any games until all players are let go and replaced with better, more talented athletes.
The team has presented a united front, Tweeting a photo of the players interlocking arms with the caption, “We will not step onto the field until USC admits that each and every one of us needs to be cut.” The protest comes after last week’s painful loss to Citadel- just one more example, some students say, of “failure culture” inherent in the program. At the time of publishing, this tweet had been retweeted approximately 25,000 times, largely by USC fans, students and alumni, who appear to overwhelmingly support the endeavor.
The Gamecock coaching staff has also shown support for the players.In a press conference on Wednesday, Head Coach Shawn Elliot said, “This is about more than football, and these young men are doing the right thing. I will stand by them until they get what they need: to have their scholarships revoked and to be replaced immediately with guys that are better at throwing, catching, and all of the other skills required in football.”
School officials are hesitant to give in to the team’s demands, despite strong public support for the movement.
“We don’t want to set the precedent where athletes have the power to just kick themselves off a team at will,” said President Harris Pastides. “We are making every effort to resolve these issues, but perhaps the players should look at themselves before blaming the administration.”