The Daily Gamecock

Beamer continues to emphasize appreciation for women's sports after Title IX celebration mishap

Head football coach Shane Beamer preparing for the start of the Gamecocks’ match against the no. 1 Georgia Bulldogs on Sep. 17, 2022.
Head football coach Shane Beamer preparing for the start of the Gamecocks’ match against the no. 1 Georgia Bulldogs on Sep. 17, 2022.

Gamecocks football head coach Shane Beamer continued to express his appreciation for female student-athletes after he appeared frustrated with a group of female athletes celebrating Title IX during Saturday’s loss against Georgia. 

During his weekly media conference, Beamer talked about the different relationships he has with women in sports. He highlighted his own daughters, his players' relatives and their significant others as people who he knows personally and understands the effort they put into their sport.

“(Knowing) the sacrifices all student-athletes make to play the sport they love — makes it easy to go support them for sure,” Beamer said. 

Between the first and second quarter of the Gamecock’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs, over 200 student-athletes at USC filled the endzone in front of The Cockpit. 

The group was meant to be celebrated during a moment that honored the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination. 

When the commercial break on ESPN ended, the Gamecocks lined up to go for it on fourth down, but the athletes hadn't made it off the field. The game could not resume with the athletes still in the endzone.

After some confusion from commentators, the broadcast cut to a visibly upset Beamer who could be seen mouthing the words “get off the field.”

Gamecocks women’s soccer fifth-year defender Jyllissa Harris later quote tweeted a video of the incident and explained what happened. 

“All female student-athletes were ~asked~ to come to the game to recognize 50 years of Title IX. We were on the field for maybe 15 seconds then screamed at to get off. If you want to honor female student-athletes, then do that, not this,” Harris said

Beamer said he had no idea what the ceremony was about because he doesn’t meet with gameday management and apologized for the moment Sunday during a teleconference.

“I apologize, did not mean to offend anyone. I hope people know me well enough to know what an advocate I am for women’s sports,” Beamer said. “I’m at as many women’s athletic events here at Carolina as I possibly can be because I believe in them and support them.”

Athletics director Ray Tanner spoke on 107.5 FM Monday and said the issue was that there was not enough time for what was planned.

“It was a timing, a lack of timing, I guess you would say, where we felt that we had an opportunity in between the quarters, it’s a minimum three-minute break, that we would have a chance to recognize our women on the field,” Tanner said.

In the days since the event, many prominent USC personnel spoke out in defense of Beamer. 

Women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley, women’s soccer coaches coach Shelley and Jamie Smith, Women’s golf head coach Kalen Anderson and softball head coach Beverly Smith took to Twitter to support Beamer and denounce the criticism he was receiving. They said he has done nothing but support their programs. 

“(Coach Beamer) the attacks/questions about you today have been unfair & uncalled for! You have been nothing but supportive of all (Gamecocks) sports & honestly everything here at South Carolina since your arrival!  We (are) proud to have such a good person leading (Gamecocks football),” Shelley and Jamie Smith said.

Harris posted a follow-up tweet also defending the Gamecocks football coach, saying Beamer “was coaching in the heat of the game” and has always supported female sports.

Beamer said he appreciates being able to get to know these women not just as athletes but as people. 

“Our women’s golf team, I’ve been able to play golf with some of those young ladies and spend some time with them at the practice facility … Tilly and Hannah, Louise and those guys, I mean they’re great young ladies and work really hard,” Beamer said. “Just getting to know them, spending time around the teams and understanding we are all part of one family here … they’re great athletes, but the ones I’ve gotten the chance to know, they’re even better people.”

Tanner said the university plans to continue celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX at all sporting events, men’s and women’s despite the disappointment Saturday. 

“The only thing we can do now is to do our very best to continue forward with our plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary,” Tanner said.