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South Carolina, Clemson spring football impacted by coronavirus

Clemson Spring Football (copy) (copy)

Clemson running back Travis Etienne breaks away from Derion Kendrick during the Tigers' 2019 spring game. Richard Shiro/AP

College football games won’t begin for six months, but COVID-19 is already affecting the sport.

South Carolina announced Friday that its remaining spring football practices, including the April 4 Garnet and Black Spring Football Game, are indefinitely postponed. There’s simply no way of knowing when the COVID-19 pandemic will subside.

“The spring game on April 4 has been postponed,” athletic director Ray Tanner said. “That rescheduling will depend upon if practice is rescheduled following our April 15 date.”

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The SEC extended its suspension of competition from March 30 to April 15, mandating that all SEC athletics programs must cease practices, individual and team workouts by 5 p.m. Friday and all team meetings by 5 p.m. Monday. The Gamecocks were set to begin their second week of spring ball on Tuesday, but once the university extended spring break another week (the original spring break was March 9-13), USC had to change its plans.

USC used five practices before the break and has 10 remaining days. Coming off a 4-8 season and entering a year that could very well decide his future at USC, coach Will Muschamp needs all the practice time he can get. He spoke last week of the progress thus far.

“We’ve had good effort from our guys, and I’m excited about where we are at this point,” Muschamp said. “Got a long way to go.”

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USC canceled its Pro Day (March 19) and annual coaches’ clinic (March 19-21) while suspending all on-campus recruiting visits in accordance with the SEC’s policy. The SEC administrators are in constant communication on how to deal with containment and elimination of the coronavirus.

“It is fluid,” said Tanner, who also revealed that one USC student-athlete has been tested for coronavirus (results are not in) and another is asymptomatic but self-quarantined after taking a trip to a region where the virus is widespread. “I’ll tell you that from the SEC standpoint, the athletic directors are talking every single day. We’ll be on top of it.”

Clemson is waiting to see what may happen with COVID-19. The Tigers have six remaining spring practice dates and were scheduled to hold their spring game on April 4, and with the campus currently on spring break, they didn’t have anything imminent to cancel.

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Yet Jeff Kalin, the associate athletic AD for strategic communications, said if the ACC has not resumed activity by April 4, there will be no spring game.

Follow David Cloninger on Twitter @DCPandC.

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