College Sports

90 minutes to spend $400: How Gamecocks are preparing for a Belk shopping spree

Will Muschamp previews South Carolina’s Belk Bowl matchup with Virginia

South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Will Muschamp previews his team's Dec. 29 Belk Bowl matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers
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South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Will Muschamp previews his team's Dec. 29 Belk Bowl matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers

Visualize and attack.

That’ll be the strategy for South Carolina place-kicker Parker White when he comes to Charlotte for the Belk Bowl.

“I took screenshots of a lot of the stuff,” White said. “So I got my notes down, like the prices of each thing that I kind of want to go in and get since you only get an hour and a half to spend the money.”

Of course White is speaking of the $400 shopping spree at the Belk department store, a perk both the USC and Virginia players get to enjoy next week before they play each other at Bank of America Stadium.

Each year, the NCAA allows bowl committees to provide their participants with gifts totaling a combined maximum value of $550. The Belk Bowl is offering to USC and UVa a Fossil watch — and $400 to Belk. Put 90 minutes on the clock and let the Gamecocks and Cavaliers go wild.

The State on Thursday asked a variety of Carolina players for how they plan on spending their money.

Parker White

White is by far the most prepared for this experience. After learning about the opportunity, he said he and his girlfriend toured to create a wish list.

“I have some plans,” White said. “I’m probably going to get her some Christmas presents. I need some dress shoes and a few things I’m probably going to get. Unfortunately, it’s after Christmas, so I can’t get all the stuff. But I’ve thought about a few things.”

Asked if any of his teammates were putting this much prep work into the spree, White was unsure.

“I haven’t talked to too many of them,” White said. “I know (quarterback Jake Bentley’s) a big planner. So I’m sure he’ll probably go in a little bit early. I talked to Bailey Hart about it, my other roommate. He’ll probably just wing it, I would assume. But $400 in 90 minutes isn’t the most difficult thing to do in the world. So you can spend that money pretty easy.”

Who’s going to spend in the worst way possible?

“Woz,” White said, referring to fellow kicker Alexander Woznick. “Easy choice. Woz will probably buy a bunch of Rubik’s Cubes or something.”

Jake Bentley

USC’s junior QB revealed he’s checked out the Belk site — but has yet to pick out specific items.

“I mean I looked at it, I wanted to see,” Bentley said. “Ninety minutes, I mean it is a long time, but once you get in there or whatever … I’m excited. Some guys are trying to print out some coupons, but we get a gift card, I don’t know.”

Donell Stanley

USC’s 315-pound center and resident outdoorsman has some predictable items in mind.

“Probably get some flannels, some good jeans,” Stanley said. “They got some good Columbia wear, stuff like that.”

Michael Scarnecchia

Belated birthday gifts are on tap for the mother of Carolina’s backup QB.

“My mom,” Scarnecchia said, “I told her, ‘Whatever I don’t spend, you can have it.’ ... Her birthday is Christmas Eve.”

Kiel Pollard

The tight end is also going into Belk with family in mind.

“I’m going to probably get my brothers and sisters something,” Pollard said. “I’m more of a giver than a receiver.”

Shi Smith, A.J. Turner

Count these two among those Gamecocks who admit to have never stepped inside a Belk.

Smith: “(Smith’s mom) said she wants a necklace. I might get her that.”

Turner: “I looked on the website. They don’t really have no good shoes. It’s not like I can get Jordans or anything like that. I feel I’m just going to use that money for Christmas shopping and getting people presents and stuff.”

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.