CONWAY | The athletics impasse appears to be over between Coastal Carolina and South Carolina.
State Rep. Liston Barfield, R-Aynor, has helped facilitate a relationship between Coastal and USC officials that could see the schools playing each other in football, basketball and baseball, officials said Wednesday.
Since Coastal became independent from the USC system in 1993, the schools have never met in football, once in basketball and three times in baseball.
"I think everything has been resolved, and ... all the coaches are talking now," Barfield said. "It is my understanding that the coaches at (South) Carolina have been told to look at scheduling Coastal."
Barfield said he aided the process by convincing a South Carolina board of trustees member who was opposed to the schools playing each other that it would benefit the state and both athletic departments to allow it to happen.
He did not name the trustee.
"Everything is now up to the athletic directors and the coaches in terms of who they play and when they play," Barfield said.
The next opening on South Carolina's football schedule is in 2016. The schools' athletics directors, Coastal's Hunter Yurachek and USC's Eric Hyman, had an informal meeting to discuss the issue. Yurachek described that meeting as positive and productive.
"The door is open," Yurachek said. "From a football standpoint right now they do not have any openings between now and 2016. Eric stated in our meeting that we would be their first option if somebody fell off their schedule."
Coastal has played three major-college opponents - Penn State, Kent State and Clemson - over the past two seasons. The Chants are scheduled to visit West Virginia in 2010 and Georgia in 2011.
The schools have played twice in basketball, the last time in the 1993-94 season, when Coastal won 88-74. They have played 15 times in baseball; the Gamecocks hold a 10-5 advantage.
Coastal baseball coach Gary Gilmore has repeatedly stated his interest in playing the Gamecocks. Gilmore believes USC coach Ray Tanner is equally interested in restarting their series.
Coastal President David DeCenzo believes getting the Gamecocks on his school's athletics schedules could have far-reaching benefits for the university.
"It's just taking us to another level," he said. "I imagine that as our students get wind of this, the higher level of competition will bring more excitement for our students on campus. As that excitement grows it's going to help us in recruiting our student body. We see this as being a tremendous opportunity for us."