Bryce Sherman became college football’s most recent victim of oversigning Tuesday morning, but the now-former South Carolina player still has a smile on his face, he told The State.
“It is kind of unfair, but this is not going to take my joy away,” the Winston-Salem, N.C., native said. “I want to thank God for the opportunity for all my talents and blessing me with a scholarship.”
That scholarship was taken away from Sherman this week, forcing him to choose between walking on to the football team and paying his own way to school or getting a job to help offset his tuition costs.
“I didn’t quit,” Sherman said. “It’s just the fact they are not renewing my scholarship so I am saying I am not going to play anymore. I don’t want to put my family in a financial strain where they are paying for everything, and I am not even working. If they want to say that’s quitting, whatever.”
Sherman was informed last week there was a chance his scholarship would not be renewed, and he finalized his departure from the team in a meeting with head coach Steve Spurrier on Tuesday morning, Sherman said. Spurrier explained to Sherman that he was the victim of a numbers game. Spurrier told Sherman the large class of incoming freshmen the Gamecocks will bring in this fall would put the team over the NCAA-allowed 85 scholarship limit unless veteran players were removed from scholarship, Sherman said.
“I told him (I didn’t think it was fair), and he was like they signed a lot of players out of high school and everybody usually doesn’t commit or if they commit they don’t qualify but this year everybody stayed committed and qualified so I was in a bad position,” Sherman said.
The Gamecocks signed 32 new players in February. Three of those failed to qualify academically. Sherman said the Gamecocks already “cut” some veteran players in May but declined to say who.
“And they are just telling me now,” he said. “It’s unfair. I don’t know who to blame. I am not throwing anybody up under the bus. It’s just business.”
Sherman knew his scholarship was a one-year renewable deal rather than a four-year agreement, but “I never thought it would come down to this,” he said.
Sherman came to South Carolina on a track scholarship in 2008 and joined the football team as a walk-on in 2009 before being put on scholarship. The 5-foot-4 speedster contributed mainly as a kick returner most of his career. He leaves the Gamecocks with 59 kickoff returns for 1,215 yards, 11 carries for 55 yards and one reception for 48 yards. Sherman might attempt to rejoin the track team, he said, but he indicated it wasn’t a strong possibility.
Sherman now has a job in downtown Columbia, he said, and is on track to graduate with a degree in sports management and entertainment next summer.
“I am definitely still going to support the team,” he said. “I would still be out there if I could. I will always be a Gamecock. I appreciate all the support they gave me. Thanks to everybody for all the support they gave me.”