Less than seven minutes into Saturday’s game between South Carolina State and NC State, the game was delayed due to a medical emergency involving a South Carolina State player. While NC State’s Markell Johnson was being helped off the court after suffering a knee injury, a South Carolina State player reported to be senior guard Tyvoris Solomon collapsed while on the bench.
Solomon was eventually taken off the court via stretcher, with both teams heading back to their respective locker rooms. The teams were to go through a ten-minute warmup period before resuming play. At the time of the stoppage NC State led 22-5 with 13:08 remaining in the half.
Solomon, whose condition has been stabilized, has been taken to a local hospital with head coach Murray Garvin making the trip as well. Associate head coach Rio Pitt took over the coaching duties in Garvin’s absence.
Facing a budget crisis, South Carolina State University thought about eliminating its basketball program, but the team will continue to play for now.
According to a report from the AP, the school is in the middle of attempting to coordinate a new budget for the upcoming budget year, which begins next week. The school’s Board of Trustees could not come up with a final budget at a Wednesday meeting, but it appears basketball is safe for the time being.
Instead of getting rid of the basketball program, the school will figure out other ways to address the budget, including raising tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students. The University also recently received a $6 million loan from the state of South Carolina, according to the report.
Had South Carolina State opted to get rid of basketball, they would have owed $730,000 in fees to the NCAA and it also would have meant probation, the school’s interim athletics director told the AP.
The Bulldogs finished their first season under head coach Murray Garvin with a 9-21 overall record and 5-11 in MEAC play to place ninth in the conference standings.
South Carolina State might not be regarded as any kind of basketball powerhouse — the Bulldogs haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2003 and are 0-5 in the Big Dance as a program — but the loss of the basketball program would have been a troubling sign for some future programs at the low-major level.
Since many of those low-major basketball programs don’t draw in major athletics revenue from football or the big conference television deals that we see in the power conferences, it can sometimes be a struggle to survive in the landscape of major college basketball.