One day after releasing a statement re-iterating his loyalty to South Carolina, Gamecocks athletic director Eric Hyman took to the school’s flagship radio station to further explain his position.
“I was honored to be considered for the job, but I have a lot of things going here and I love being a Gamecock,” Hyman said Thursday.
Hyman is in his seventh year as the school’s athletics director but had been linked for months to the upcoming opening at North Carolina, his alma mater. Hyman’s desire to finish ongoing improvements at South Carolina and his affinity for his staff are two of the biggest factors tying him to Columbia, he said.
The staff “was a huge factor,” he said. “I am very lucky to work with them. They have wonderful values. I look forward to working with them every day, the coaches and our staff, especially the ones I work closely with every day, which is our management team.”
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Hyman acknowledged having “a soft spot” for North Carolina, where his wife Pauline also went to college, but not everyone in the Hyman household feels the same way about the Tar Heels. His son Ryan and daughter Corrine spent much of their childhood in Raleigh, N.C., when Hyman was an associate athletics director at North Carolina State.
“They didn’t like North Carolina so when all of this was going on they expressed their feelings to me about how they felt,” Hyman said.
Hyman would like to continue to upgrade South Carolina’s facilities, he said, as a way to support his school’s coaches.
“Ultimately our goal is to be an elite program, a nationally prominent program and battle for championships,” he said. “As a department we are not there totally and that’s what we want to be able to do.”
At either university, Hyman would be dealing with an NCAA investigation. The Gamecocks received a Notice of Allegations on Monday spelling out the NCAA’s belief that South Carolina athletes or prospective athletes received $55,000 worth of extra benefits or recruiting inducements. The NCAA also charged South Carolina with failure to monitor in two incidents.
Hyman acknowledged mistakes were made at South Carolina but declined to discuss South Carolina’s NCAA issues in detail. He did say the school will try to clarify its position on some points of the NCAA’s findings.
“If you feel that you could be more accurate then you have the opportunity to be able to express that and we will do that in some cases,” he said.
Judy Van Horn, who was recently hired from Michigan as senior associate athletic director, will lead the athletic department team that is preparing South Carolina’s response, Hyman said. Hyman and Van Horn have been part of a recent effort among college administrators to work on reforms in the NCAA compliance process.
The NCAA “needs to have a better understanding of what it is really like on a college campus today,” Hyman told 107.5 The Game on Thursday. “You can try to cross every single T and dot every I, and you just can’t do it. If you are audited by the IRS, they are going to find something.
In other news:
-- Hyman said there is a chance a new video board will be in Williams-Brice Stadium for the 2012 season. The previous plan was to install the board in time for the 2013 season. The video board will be 47 feet longer and three feet taller than Georgia’s new board.
“I thought that Georgia’s video board was rather terrific,” he said. “That gives you a perspective to what South Carolina’s will be.”
-- Hyman said he would not support the SEC going to 16 schools. The conference is poised to add Texas A&M as its 13th team next year and is hoping to add a 14th team by that time. A 16-team league “is dysfunctional,” said Hyman, who was part of a 16-team conference while the athletics director at TCU.