South Carolina football bungles in-game ceremony to honor female athletes

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer leads the Gamecocks onto the field. (Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer apologized Sunday after shouting at a group of female athletes on the field for a ceremony during Saturday’s game against No. 1 Georgia.

All 275 of the university’s female athletes were invited onto one of the end zones at Williams Brice Stadium at the end of the first quarter as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

The Gamecocks’ offense was lining up for a fourth-and-9 play to start the second quarter, but they had to wait for the female athletes to leave the field before snapping the ball.

Beamer was caught on camera screaming at the athletes to “get off the field.”

He apologized for his reaction Sunday, telling reporters he didn’t know that the ceremony would be taking place. Game officials had instructed both teams to be ready to play immediately following the television timeouts leading into the second quarter.

“I apologize to anyone that I offended,” Beamer said. “We send our offense out there to go for it. They’re on the line of scrimmage. Georgia is able to see the formation that we’re in. We did what we were asked to do and we were not able to snap the football.

“I look down in the end zone and I see why. My first initial reaction was to yell, ‘Get off the field.’ I had no idea who was down there.”

Earlier Sunday, South Carolina soccer player Jyllissa Harris retweeted a video of the reaction and expressed her disappointment over how the situation was handled.

“All female student athletes were ~asked~ to come to the game to recognize 50 years of Title IX,” she wrote. “We were on the field for maybe 15 seconds then screamed at to get off. If you want to honor female student athletes, then do that, not this.”

She later wrote that she didn’t hold Beamer at fault, saying he “was coaching in the heat of the game and has been nothing but supportive of female sports.”

Beamer conceded Sunday that while the team’s game operations staff “has a tough job,” they could improve on in-game ceremonies in making them more efficient.

“I hope people know me well enough to know what an advocate I am for women’s sports,” Beamer said. “I’ve got two daughters of my own that play sports. I’m at as many women’s athletic events at Carolina as I can possibly be because I believe in them and support them, and anyone that thinks otherwise surely doesn’t know me.”