There was a very hard-to-believe bit of gossip buried in a NOLA.com article this morning. Columnist Roy Higgins cited a source who told him that the University of South Carolina Gamecocks were initially invited to the NCAA tournament by the selection committee, only to have that invitation rescinded a short time later. This appears to have actually happened, though, because USC athletics director Ray Tanner just confirmed the report to WISTV:
According to USC Athletics Director Ray Tanner, Frank Martin and the Gamecocks were notified by NCAA officials around 6:30 p.m. that they had been invited to the NCAA Tournament with a record of 24-8.
Ten minutes later, NCAA officials called South Carolina back and told them their invitation was a mistake, Tanner said. The NCAA Selection Committee instead selected the Vanderbilt Commodores.
I don’t envy the poor sap who had to call Tanner back 10 minutes later and deliver the bad news. “So, uh, here’s the thing: My boss mumbles and ‘Commodores’ kinda sounds like ‘Gamecocks,’ you know? You understand, right?”
Update: The NCAA has issued a statement, explaining how this happened. It’s even sillier than we could have hoped for: