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Through Broken Glass

Tom Poland

Posted April 19, 2022

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer
www.tompoland.net
tompol@earthlink.net

The old church just wanted to be left alone, but that didn’t happen. Someone shot out her windows. Some kid’s BBs shattered panes, leaving sharp jagged edges in their wake. Panes hanging like guillotines gave a gray catbird a perilous route to build a nest where men once sought sanctuary. Through broken glass the bird flew, confident it’d suffer no pain from the pane.

A church window’s broken glass offers no barrier to a determined catbird.

It was a cold spring afternoon when I stood in a beautiful old church taking photos of an old Bible on an old pulpit in a church no longer active. To my right, a fluttering motion caught my eye. That catbird was about to fly into the sanctuary when it caught sight of an interloper. It held up, wings cupping air, marking time as it decided to flee. Just like that it was gone.

I moved out of view and soon the bird darted through a pane. It flew past venetian blinds hanging like large white pine needles or so many giant spaghetti noodles. It swooped over fine pews of longleaf pine, then soared up to its nest where fledglings made a ruckus. Dinnertime. The nest in the church’s front, up near the ceiling, made for a protective place to raise a brood. It’d be tough for a snake or crow to attack the nest, and bad weather was of no concern.

Such a scene’s oft repeated. In my rambles along back roads, I explore many an abandoned building and over and over I see how wildlife makes good use of man’s forsaken places. I have encountered baby buzzards, immense wasp nests, abandoned hornet nests, Carolina wrens, and other creatures that found secure homes in places we left for greener pastures.

I’m glad our old habitat gives them new habitat. When you see just how many woodlands are falling to the saw these days, you better appreciate how old buildings take up some slack. As I stood in the old church, I noticed bird nests had been built atop most of the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. It brought to mind wood duck boxes and those wraparound metal baffles. Consider the church a snake baffle.

Inactive churches, abandoned barns and houses, forgotten stores, I daresay even ugly forlorn strip malls, are not abandoned, not at all. No, wildlife species inhabit such places. Bats, foxes, squirrels (of course), and various species of birds take up residence in places man used to call home. Add old cars and trucks to the list. Last spring I came across a Carolina wren nest in an abandoned refrigerator, its door ajar just enough to give the jaunty birds a way in and out. And how many times have I come across the skin of a snake in an old shed.

Whatever man leaves behind, nature repurposes. Suppose mankind ceases to exist? lan Weisman did. In his book, The World Without Us, Weisman predicts that an abandoned city would start looking like a forest within five years. Give nature 20 years and skyscrapers tumble. Let 200 years pass and trees colonize a city. I find that comforting, and early pioneers of such a world are creatures like that gray catbird. It found sanctuary in a sanctuary by daring to fly through broken glass. And soon the day will come when its brood must fly through broken glass with perfection. Never doubt for a minute. They will.


Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net

Email Tom about most anything at at tompol@earthlink.net 

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Living on Purpose: Jesus gave His life so that we could live

Dr. William Holland

Posted April 18, 2022

By Dr. William Holland

I admit I am an emotional person. I recall going to see the Passion movie a few years ago and I was disturbed to say the least. It’s not uncommon for me to shed a tear when I witness something that moves my soul and this was no exception. Recently, I was watching a program about the “Make-A-Wish Foundation” and how they provide a way for very sick children to experience a happy but most likely a last request and I cried through the entire program. As the agonizing scenes of what Christ went through were presented, I kept thinking how could someone watch this and not be deeply stirred in their soul? I feel the same way about the Chosen series. I’m not ashamed to wear my feelings on my sleeve and have no desire to act tough and pretend that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness. If we are not careful, we can become hardened by the harshness of life and lose our spiritual sensitivity.

Remembering the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ should be more than an annual holiday. For the Christian, it should be a constant awareness of His love. Once again we are bombarded with the celebrations of eggs, rabbits, baby chicks, baked ham, and new clothes that can be distractions from the focus of Christ suffering and dying on the cross and resurrecting three days later. The incarnation is another celebration where worldly traditions attempt to deflect and compete for attention. These holy seasons are a reminder of the gift of eternal salvation. We realize it’s never pleasant to imagine an innocent person being brutally tortured, but the fact that Jesus miraculously came back to life proves His infinite power and authority and why we are so filled with humility and encouragement. Jesus Christ did not just talk about love, He demonstrated His mercy and compassion by suffering and surrendering His life so that we could live.

When I think about Christ and the reason why He came to earth, it’s a comfort to know this was not a spur-of-the-moment idea, but rather it was a carefully planned mission by the Father to restore our fellowship with Him. Jesus willingly left the glories of heaven, submitted to His Father’s will, was betrayed and denied by those He trusted and mocked as someone delusional. The religious community rejected His message and the legal system along with the demands from the general population overwhelmingly agreed to publicly execute Him without a reason other than they hated Him. Sadly, these negative attitudes have not changed.

We notice that Jesus was constantly approached by those in desperate need and it was His perfect nature to be concerned and compassionate. The world has always been filled with human suffering and He is always ready to respond in love and mercy. Being emotional and even knowledgeable about the Bible is fine, but that does not necessarily mean that someone is following Christ. It’s what they do with what they have learned that transforms considerations into spiritual obedience. When we see someone who needs help or even an encouraging word, what good does it do to just look at them with pity? Christ was always ministering to those who would reach out to Him by faith and two thousand years later He is still pouring out His grace and forgiveness to anyone who will call upon His name.

As His followers, we have been called to focus our attention on becoming more like Him despite a troubled world that justifies walking over the wounded and being self-centered. His command to take up our cross includes letting go of our natural way of selfish thinking and willingly embracing His character and nature. The more I learn about His life and His message, the more I realize that I am far from being who I need to be. As we meditate on His truth, we are given a deeper understanding of who He is, and what He wants to accomplish through us. The reverential fear and awareness of who Jesus is and why He came to earth is our only hope and it’s every Christian’s responsibility to keep their spiritual eyes focused on Him. Beyond the festivities and the feasting, may we consider spending time concentrating on the one who loves us and came to save us from being lost forever.

Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com

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Stuart Neiman Cartoon: Putin Propaganda Bubble

Posted April 18, 2022

By Stuart Neiman

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Stuart Neiman Cartoon: Ketanji Brown Jackson

Posted April 12, 2022

By Stuart Neiman

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Living on Purpose: The Passion of Christ is God’s amazing grace

Dr. William Holland

Posted April 11, 2022

By Dr. William Holland

April is the month of new beginnings when trees begin to sprout their leaves and flowers emerge from the ground to express their beauty. This is also the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. God’s infinite love for us is the foundation of the Christian faith for without Jesus being raised to conquer death, hell, and the grave, He would have been just another courageous martyr. You see, His perfect blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat and was the only payment that was holy and powerful enough to redeem, transform, and purchase the spirits of those who will believe. John 19:30 declares the Son of God cried from the cross, “It is finished” which guaranteed the covenant authority of God’s word is true and the spiritual reality that eternal salvation is now available for all who hear the gospel, are convicted to repent, and choose to embrace Him by faith. This is why the gospel is called the good news and truly it is the ultimate promise of hope and peace the world needs to hear.

Christians experience the life-changing miracle of God so loving the world that He sent His Son to save us from our sins. He desires to restore us back into the personal fellowship that was lost when Adam and Eve disobeyed Him in the Garden. The greatest love story ever told is recorded in the Bible and many of you have memorized the message found in Matthew 28:5-6 when the angels appeared to the women at the empty tomb. “The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said! Come, see the place where they placed His body.” It’s difficult to comprehend just how paramount these words are. It’s critical within our commission to relay this truth, to emphasize the glorious significance of what His sacrifice and resurrection accomplished, what it guarantees for those who believe, and how we can obtain and have a blessed assurance of these glorious promises today.

The Lord has given most of us a good life filled with blessings, but I’m sure you have noticed that no matter how much “stuff” we accumulate, it does not bring spiritual contentment or joy. Material possessions, money, friends, and loved ones can make us happy to a certain extent, but nothing on earth can satisfy or take the place of our personal relationship with God. When we talk about hope, this usually means we are wondering if something is going to turn out the way we want, but there is a spiritual hope empowered by faith where we can definitely know our prayers will be answered without having to worry or be afraid. Romans 15:13 reminds us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” You see, those who trust and know God, have been born again into an eternal inheritance that can never change or fail.

Be encouraged today in knowing that when Christ accomplished His mission on the cross and rose from the dead, those who are partakers with Him are preserved by the greatest power and authority in heaven and earth. He is the creator of all things, and is the Alpha and Omega. We do not place our confidence in this earthly realm, but we can completely trust the one who knows everything, created everything, and controls everything. Humans try to build the perfect life without God, but only Christ is truly perfect. He is holy and blameless, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and exalted to the highest place with a name that is above every name. It’s good news to know that as God’s child, we have a crown of glory with our name on it as our future home is reserved for us in heaven forever. Like Abraham, we are looking forward to that city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Let us rejoice and be eternally grateful to Christ for becoming the bridge of light, hope, and truth between this realm and the life to come. Rejoice today that He is risen! Luke 18:33 declares, “And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” Praise Him forever!

Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com

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Masters Memories

Tom Poland

Posted April 11, 2022

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer
www.tompoland.net
tompol@earthlink.net

There comes a memory from long ago when Georgia had yet to win 1980 and 2021 national champions. No worries, Georgia was and is an annual world champion for those who compete for the green jacket.

Living some 37 miles from Augusta National as I once did, to go to the Masters then was far easier. As school went, we yielded to temptation when practice rounds tickets were as available as Coca Colas. Thus, did I skip school. It was a spring day. My first trip to Augusta National. A practice round. The year a golf ball hit me, 1966.

Bruce Devlin teed off at Juniper’s elevated tee, No. 6, and the ball came soaring over the drop-off toward the green. “Look out.” I was sitting to the right of the green on a hill. I heard a thump, then felt Devlin’s ball hit my back. Two officials materialized, one on each arm to be sure I was okay. I stood and the ball rolled downhill between my feet. No harm done.

Among primeval memories is hearing about Fruitland Nurseries, destined to become the world’s most iconic golf course. I want to say I saw its sign but that can’t be. I see it in my mind though, a latticework of letters, like that Hollywood sign.

I have other Masters memories, and what’s good is I’m not a golfer. I don’t get caught up in rules, layups, chips, fades, and such. That frees me to marvel at the trees, flowers, emerald grasses, and snowy, chalk-like sand traps. Bluebirds even. Things like Rae’s Creek, namesake of John Rae, Irish trader and one of Augusta’s founding fathers. Rae’s Creek winds through Amen Corner, often to a golfer’s dismay.

Things like standing by Greg Norman whose shoulders seemed like shoulder pads. Standing by Seve Ballesteros, the dashing Spaniard who left us at age 54. Then there was hearing Bernhard Langer discuss weather and play, and I stood yards away when Jack Nicklaus won his sixth and last Masters in 1986. Langer helped Nicklaus slip on the legendary jacket, a brilliant rye green known as Pantone 342.

I grew up on the Augusta Highway, aka Washington Road, which runs by Augusta National and its avenue of magnolias. How many times have I gazed down Magnolia Lane and its 122 trees, sixty-one per side. Drive past now, before or after Masters time, and you’ll see gates. But that never stops me from staring. Saturday I stood within touch of those magnolias, their leather-like leaves fallen onto velvet-like grass.

During the third round I watched from the no. 6 tee box. Lots to see and hear. Like the iron’s airy-rip-whoosh-crack of the ball like a bone snapping. Most startling? The roar from a gallery greens away as a super shot found the cup. In between pairings, I watched groundskeepers replace divots. When done, all seemed good as new. Scottie Scheffler came through and sent a divot flying. The rest is history. The green jacket is his, for a year.

The Masters, it’s one event where long lines to the bathroom plague men. Women walk right in but men form a queue. They know this unheard scenario is par for the course for the male-dominated crowd.

Writing and golf are alike. You have to do them all the time to be any good. Golf is not my sport. Takes too much time. But I love the Masters, that well-oiled machine that’s the best-run sporting event in the world. Nothing is left to chance. All is beautiful. It’s a grand spectacle where people put on their better side, and for seven magical days Augusta reigns as the center of the universe.

And the pimento cheese sandwich still just costs a buck fifty.


Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net

Email Tom about most anything at at tompol@earthlink.net 

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A Creek Runs Through It

Tom Poland

Posted April 7, 2022

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer
www.tompoland.net
tompol@earthlink.net

Writers title works and often they fail to come up with a good one. Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas comes to mind. Sometimes a gem of a title comes along and its words and title stay with you. How can you forget Gone With The Wind. How can you forget Absalom Absalom! or The Catcher in the Rye. When Norman Maclean titled his semi-autobiographical book A River Runs Through It, it too became a title forever in my memory.

Red from recent rains, Reedy Creek runs through Ralph Scurry’s Greenwood County tract.

A small creek, a stream, runs through my memories, and that’s the one back home on family land. Come spring and summer I played in the stream many a day. It ran fast and clear and it ran to its confluence with what we call the old mine hole, the remainder of a manganese mine of the early 1900s. The water ended up in the mine hole temporarily as it would exit around the dam and make its way to Dry Fork Creek and ultimately into Clarks Hill Lake, the watery overgrown offspring of the Savannah River.

I wet my feet and wet my hands in that stream of yore that got its water from a spring in a small ravine whose sides were clay. I made things from clay but never fired them. Thus, did they return to earth. Like most kids, I’d dam the stream but not for long. I wasn’t much of an engineer. My dams always burst.

On rare occasions when I picked up a rock, a crayfish scooted away. Back then I had no notion of eating these small lobster-like crustaceans. Crawfish, craydids, crawdaddies, crawdads, mudbugs, rock lobster … the critters have more names that a woman who’s married ten times. I never put my hands on a crayfish. It looked like a thing that might sting you.

This past fall I visited the stream of my youth. Still there and so are the banks of clay. I poked around a bit, looking for an arrowhead but found none. I didn’t see any crawdads. I rediscovered my childhood instead. A tree had fallen across the stream, creating a dam of sorts. It had backed up some water that rolled over the tree and continued merrily on its way, plashing, chiming, and splashing its wild water song. The music of running water, it’s relaxing, and so was playing in the stream as a kid.

I’m sure country children still dam streams and creeks. At least I want to believe they do. What better way to learn about nature. For me clay, rocks, water, plants, crayfish and more converged to create a natural classroom. I didn’t know it as a boy but I was witnessing the continuous cycle of water as it ran around, above, and beneath planet Earth. Later I’d study a ten-dollar term, hydrologic cycle, about the ceaseless movement of water from lakes, rivers, seas, ponds, creeks, and streams to cloud to rain to river to underground and on and on ad infinitum.

I hope kids still play in creeks. I don’t play in them as I did as a kid, but I like to watch them run, photograph them, and remember them. Memorable creeks come to mind as I sit here and think. Stevens Creek and its rocky shoals spider lilies. Shoal Creek, which reminds me of the Chattooga River and runs behind my friend, Eddie Drinkard’s, beautiful home. Reedy Creek winds through the woods and potential state record trees on Ralph Scurry’s Greenwood County land. It’s a beautiful creek as you can see.

Doing some research, I came across a mention of Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It and that set me to recalling boyhood days along a stream. In my mind, that stream from boyhood runs on and on still and you know and I know, it always will.


Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net

Email Tom about most anything at at tompol@earthlink.net 

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Everything and Nothing: Winsome Beauties

Aïda Rogers

Posted April 7, 2022

By Aïda Rogers

“Isn’t it funny the things you remember,” my mom said to me recently. She’d been recounting some random anecdote from her childhood.

Mom spends a lot of time in her brown chair, much of her churning energy slowed by health and 90 years. So she has time to remember things.

And here I am in bed, wide awake at 3:59 a.m., listening to sirens and Columbia’s famous trains from the open window, remembering … our babysitters. They come streaming into my mind, girls with long straight hair and good manners, in the fashions and names of their day. There was Cathy and her sister Barbara, Barbara from two houses down, Barbara Jo from church. Robin, our neighbor’s exotic way-older sister (she was in college) and beautiful Vera Ann from around the corner. And Frances, one of four sisters we would see each summer at the pool. These winsome beauties held our fascinated attention. For a little girl, can there be a creature more thrilling than a teenaged one? Though I can’t remember much about what we did, I can summon their wonder with no problem. How they’d arrive smiling, frozen chicken pot pies or fish sticks in the oven for our supper while our parents got ready to go out.

Of those times, two memories remain. In our pink bedroom with our three twin beds, Neighbor Barbara confided that she wore socks to bed. I can still feel our faces scrunching when we heard that. And Frances singing a song the high school chorus was preparing for their concert. “Blue, blue, my world is blue,” she sang, “blue is my world since I’m without you.” She looked straight ahead as she sang. My sisters and I were spellbound.

Did she teach us the words? I think maybe so. I lie here and remember, rubbing my socked feet together, listening to the trains.

In time’s weird warping way, it didn’t seem long before my sisters and I were babysitting. Our names and number were probably on some common parental list, because we’d babysit for families who were friends. The moms would pick us up and the dads would drive us back.

These were the days of whiskey and cigarettes, and sometimes the drive back would be a little erratic. The father would park in our driveway, gruffly say thank you and stuff a wad of bills in my hand. I’d politely say thank you and bolt. Mom would be waiting inside, no matter the hour.

I don’t remember much about what I did as a babysitter, but I remember those children – the three boisterous sisters on Lake Murray; the talkative sister-brother team in town, the quiet girl and her artistic sister from church, the adorable cousins. What great kids. What nice parents. Were we cool in their eyes?

So I wonder, as these trains keep running and sleep won’t come, about the long tradition of babysitting. What’s the going rate? Is Venmo preferred? Do sitters sing to their children?

I don’t know. I do know my babysitters experienced life as it is, good and bad. One died of cancer. Another endured a crime so horrific I can’t write about it. Those winsome beauties weren’t exempt any more than the rest of us.

But there was a moment in the lives of three little girls in a 1961 ranch house in Lexington when those teenaged girls were it, all that, and everything they wanted to be. And now it’s 5:50 a.m. and I’m lying here, remembering them.

Aïda Rogers writes from an old house in Columbia and a new porch in McClellanville. Her three-volume anthology series, State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love, includes stories by 108 Palmetto State writers.

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Former Paris players say coach will bring personality, heart to UofSC

Posted March 31, 2022

By Cam Adams
Carolina News & Reporter
University of South Carolina

Editor’s Note: This package includes additional images, which can be found on the  Carolina News & Reporter site

After a season with Vanderbilt, men’s basketball player Matt Ryan was looking for a change. The 6-foot-7 small forward entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal and two days later, Ryan was sitting down with then-Chattanooga head men’s basketball coach Lamont Paris.

South Carolina head men’s basketball coach Lamont Paris comes to Columbia after five seasons as head coach of Chattanooga. Photo courtesy of South Carolina Athletics.

Over the course of three hours, Ryan listened to Paris talk about his vision for him and the program. Paris’ lunch got cold as he talked in detail about basketball strategy. After the lunch, Ryan transferred to Chattanooga for his last year of college ball.

“When it came down to it, I trusted him more than any other coach,” Ryan said. “I ended up choosing [Chattanooga] just because of Lamont.”

Now, Paris is bringing that humanity and commitment to the University of South Carolina, where he was named last week as the new head men’s basketball coach. The 33rd head coach of the program agreed to a five-year, $12 million contract, a considerable raise from his $250,000 per year salary with UTC.

He succeeds Frank Martin who parted ways with the Gamecocks after 10 seasons and was sworn in as the next head coach at UMass last week.

During his five years in Chattanooga, Paris turned the program around, leading the 2021-22 Mocs to a SoCon championship along with the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2016. 

Paris is largely credited with doing this by utilizing the transfer portal, attracting experienced college basketball players to UTC. For Ryan, it was Paris’ trust in him that set Chattanooga apart from other contenders.

“I was looking to play for a coach that believed in me on and off the court and was going to allow me to play to my fullest potential and that’s what Coach Paris did. I probably wouldn’t be in the NBA now if it weren’t for him,” said Ryan, who now plays for the Boston Celtics organization.

Thomas Smallwood, who now plays for CB Menorca in Spain, was also one of Paris’ first transfers after Smallwood played three seasons at UAB. 

The 7-foot center said the big driver behind going to Chattanooga was the staff that Paris put together and the genuineness he felt from the Moc head coach.

During his one season with the Mocs, Smallwood said Paris and his staff cleaned up his game really well as well as putting him and his teammates in situations where they could learn. 

However, off the court, Paris helped Smallwood transform into a leader as an older player on a young team.

“Putting me in that position and giving me that responsibility made me grow as a person,” Smallwood said. “Being around good influences, good coaches like that and a program like the one they were building, overall, made me a better person.”

Paris’ character also goes beyond his time at Chattanooga. Before first leading the Mocs in 2017, Paris was an assistant under Wisconsin head coaches Bo Ryan and Greg Gard for seven seasons.

Under Bo Ryan, Paris helped the Badgers reach back-to-back Final Fours, including finishing runner-up in 2015. 

Nigel Hayes, a former Badger and current FC Barcelona player, praised Paris’ personal touch during his time at Wisconsin.

“He was always someone I could talk to about not just basketball. We’d talk about being a young man and what to look forward to, being a young Black man, a basketball player, what’s going on in pop culture and in the world. It wasn’t just x’s and o’s basketball,” Hayes said.

Hayes also said Paris changed his life – with barbeque sauce.

“[He] put barbeque sauce on mac and cheese,” Hayes said. “I’m telling you, it’s pretty amazing stuff.”

While Paris is only a player’s coach for a few years, his mentorship continues after graduation. Hayes said he still texts his former assistant coach, most recently congratulating him on Chattanooga’s SoCon title this past season.

Aaron Moesch, another former Badger under Paris, says ‘LP’ looks at all former players, coaches and managers as family.

“As a person, I learned more from LP after I graduated. I had the privilege of going down to Chattanooga twice the he was coaching there. Both times, he opened his doors and welcomed me with open arms,” Moesch said. “He truly made me feel like family that was visiting from out of town.”

As someone who has known Paris before his time at Chattanooga, Hayes said it’s been great to see him climb through the coaching ranks and have the success he had with the Mocs.

Now, with Paris starting a new chapter in his coaching career, Hayes is confident that that success will translate over to South Carolina.

“[South Carolina is getting] a genuine man and coach, which I think is all you can ask for,” Hayes said. “At the end of the day, people always can relate, care for and support someone who is genuine with himself, his staff and his players.”

See full package with images.  

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Gamecock athletes utilize NIL to bolster local business and their brands

Posted March 29, 2022

By Josh Matthews
Carolina News & Reporter
University of South Carolina

Editor’s Note: This package includes additional images, which can be found on the  Carolina News & Reporter site

Since the NCAA has allowed athletes to monetize themselves based on their name, image and likeness, or NIL, many Gamecock athletes are creating partnerships with Midlands businesses that they say benefit the athlete and the local economy.

The Spurs Up Show owner Chris Phillips has partnered with UofSC athletes to market their brands and give them chance to earn compensation. Photos by Josh Matthews.

For University of South Carolina quarterback Luke Doty the opportunity to partner with a brand meant that he could give back to his local community. The Junior from Myrtle Beach made a name for himself as he earned honors of Mr. South Carolina Football  in 2019. Alliyah Boston, the Gamecocks’s phenomenal center who is anchoring the team on its way to the Final Four, partners with local and national businesses.

“Some [brands] may not be the biggest, but, you know, you’re helping out a local company. You’re helping out somebody that is more than grateful to do the same for you,” Doty said. “So, everybody’s just kinda kind of helping each other. And I think that’s the cool part about it.”

In just one athletic year NIL  has completely changed the landscape of college competition in South Carolina and across the nation. The policy of compensating amateur athletes has been debated for the past decade, with the NCAA always reluctant to allow athletes to profit from their personal brand. 

In 2019, California passed the Fair Pay To Play Act, with the intention of enacting the legislation in 2023. The Florida legislature quickly passed its own legislation, which allowed athletes to begin taking advantage of NIL offers as of July 1, 2021.  Now 28 states have passed legislation even as Congress has pushed for federal NIL legislation to provide uniform guidelines for regulating athletic compensation rather than have the current patchwork of state-by-state regulations.

In 2021, the Supreme Court further assailed the NCAA’s grip on amateur athletics in an antitrust decision. By a unanimous decision the Supreme Court backed a lower court’s determination that the NCAA’s restrictions on “education-related benefits” for collegiate athletes violated antitrust law.

The NCAA passed its NIL policy in September of 2020 with few guidelines, opening the world of advertising and marketing up to athletes with no restrictions. The only requirement is that an athlete follows his or her state law. With the lack of limitations, NIL has created an outlet for players to get compensated even outside of traditional partnerships.

Athletes at the University of South Carolina have been partnering with local brands and businesses to help grow their personal brands in the area and to bring more attention to local businesses. These mutually beneficial sponsorships have created a unique NIL atmosphere, with athletes able to dive into regional partnerships to rally the fan base behind them.

Doty partnered with Native Sons to create a line of performance wear titled “Beachmade.”  Doty actually partnered with Native Sons after he led Myrtle Beach High School to the state championship, the company made the school’s championship apparel.

Women’s basketball superstar Boston has an NIL deal with the European Wax Center, with two locations in the Midlands. A video of her walking around the center has nearly 50,000 views on Instagram. The manager said Boston’s endorsement generated new clients for the business.

“Throughout the [player’s] offseason, like winter, business continued to thrive,” said European Wax Center owner Vanessa English.

The partnership has been extremely beneficial for the European Wax Center especially since Boston represents their target demographic. College girls at the university search for a place to be pampered and Boston advertises a local one.

An NIL partnership can be more than just apparel and accessories and can extend to digital media.

“The Spurs Up Show” is a for-profit Gamecocks news outlet that reports on the university’s athletics through live shows and a podcast. The show has nearly 70,000 followers across all social media, and with a plethora of current and former athletes appearing on the show before NIL, “it wasn’t hard to find athlete supporters,” said Chris Phillips, owner of The Spurs Up Show.

The podcast has partnered with eight athletes, including Men’s Basketball player Erik Stevenson, Baseball players Colin Burgess and John Gilreath, Softball player Kassidy Krupit, Football players Kai Kroger and Spencer Rattler, Club Rugby player Gavin Bennett and Swimmer Jordan Davis.  Rattler also has a partnership with the show for the “Beamer/Rattler ’22′” apparel line, but also has his own clothing brand.

“Merch sales boomed,” said The Spurs Up Show owner Chris Phillips said. “Everybody, of course, wants a piece of Spencer Rattler, and we’ve seen it all over the place, all the deals he’s getting, which he deserves… it’s been great for business.”

See full package with images.  

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