COLUMBIA — A proposed border battle between South Carolina and North Carolina was shot down by the NCAA.
The Gamecocks and Tar Heels agreed to play an exhibition basketball game in Charlotte this season with all proceeds going to Hurricane Florence relief, but the sport’s governing body said no. The NCAA approved several hurricane relief games last season — the Gamecocks hosted Virginia Tech — and approved a Clemson-UNC Wilmington game this year but would not do the same for USC and UNC.
Schools are allowed two exhibition games per season, a public one and a "secret" scrimmage in a closed gym with no reports and no statistics released to the public. Coaches aren't even supposed to acknowledge the "secret" scrimmage's presence.
If schools desire, though, they can use the second as an exhibition game for charity.
Neither USC nor UNC wanted to give up what they already had but wanted to add a third game. The NCAA turned down the request for a third game.
USC coach Frank Martin confirmed to The Post and Courier that he and UNC coach Roy Williams had booked the game. Charlotte Hornets chairman and majority owner Michael Jordan, a UNC alum, agreed to let the teams play at Spectrum Center in downtown Charlotte.
The USC vs. UNC game would have supplied much help to families in the Carolinas. Clemson will play at Wilmington, one of the most heavily affected areas by Hurricane Florence.
USC and UNC haven't played each other since the 2011-12 season. Both teams made it to the 2017 Final Four but the Gamecocks were eliminated in the semifinals while the Tar Heels won the national championship.
West Virginia and Penn State were also approved to play an exhibition game this year with proceeds going to the American Red Cross.
USC will host Augusta University in its regularly scheduled exhibition on Oct. 26.