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South Carolina football coach apologizes for demanding female athletes leave field

South Carolina Coach Shane Beamer said his outburst was not directed at female athletes honoring Title IX. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)

South Carolina Coach Shane Beamer apologized Sunday for shouting “get off the field” at female athletes who were honored during the football game Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The school had invited all female athletes to participate in a ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of Title IX during a TV timeout between the first and second quarters of the game against Georgia in Columbia, S.C. The group did not quickly leave the Gamecocks’ end zone, and ESPN’s broadcast caught Beamer’s outburst.

Beamer said he had not been informed about the ceremony and was told by officials to have players ready to go when the TV timeout was over. South Carolina decided to try to convert on fourth and nine on the ensuing play.

Kansas is 3-0. Yeah, Kansas is 3-0. That’s right, Kansas is 3-0.

“We send our offense out there to go for it,” Beamer said. “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.”

The defending national champion Bulldogs went on to win, 48-7, but led only 14-0 at the time, and Beamer said he was “worried about what was going on in our own offensive huddle. I apologize to anyone that I offended. That was just my initial reaction.”

The Gamecocks turned the ball over on the play, and the clip of Beamer’s response drew viral attention when Jyllissa Harris, a member of the soccer team, tweeted about it.

“All female student-athletes were ~asked~ to come to the game to recognize 50 years of Title IX,” she tweeted. “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 was not critical of Beamer, tweeting Sunday evening that he “was coaching in the heat of the game and has been nothing but supportive of female sports.”

The 45-year-old coach pointed out he is a supporter of women’s sports.

“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 here at Carolina as I possibly can be because I believe in them and support them. Anyone who thinks otherwise surely doesn’t know me.”