NCAA vice president of men's basketball championships Dan Gavitt released a statement Thursday explaining what happened.
"Unfortunately, during the selection show a junior men's basketball staff member mistakenly sent a text to a member of the University of South Carolina athletics department staff via an app we used for the first time during the 2016 tournament. The text was supposed to go to all teams, congratulating them for making the tournament. Regrettably, a text meant for another institution went to South Carolina instead.
"While the Gamecocks were given serious consideration, at no time during the selection process was South Carolina voted in to the field. Ultimately, they were one of the last four teams left out of the tournament. I take full responsibility for this clerical error and apologize to Coach Martin, his staff and team, and the entire University of South Carolina community."
The congratulatory text went to South Carolina when it was supposed to go to USC, which is next to South Carolina in the App the NCAA was using, a source told ESPN's Andy Katz. The text also was supposed to go out at the end of the whole bracket and not as it was unfolding, the source said.
The NCAA's statement was released shortly after WIS-TV in Columbia, South Carolina, reported that South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner had confirmed the error by the NCAA.
"Even though the disappointment with being left out will never leave me, I am past all that," South Carolina coach Frank Martin told ESPN. "I appreciate their honesty, transparency and understanding of everyone at a South Carolina."
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim compared the NCAA's error to comedian Steve Harvey's gaffe at the Miss Universe pageant when he mistakenly crowned Ariadna Gutiérrez, from Colombia, instead of the Philippines' Pia Wurtzbach, the rightful winner.
"That's like the Steve Harvey thing, that's terrible," he told SNY.
The errant text wasn't the only mix-up that occurred on Selection Sunday, as someone tweeted a bracket at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET, about midway through the selection show televised by CBS. Cautioning, "Spoiler Alert: full bracket," the post showed the field of 68.By then, the South and West regions had been revealed, and they were identical to the leaked versions. The NCAA is investigating the incident.
Martin said earlier this month that he received a call about the leaked bracket and that the Gamecocks' name wasn't on it. He didn't tell his team about the leak because he couldn't confirm it was accurate.
South Carolina won a school-record 24 games this season and tied for third place in the SEC at 11-7. The Gamecocks lost 83-66 to Georgia Tech in the second round of the NIT.
Big deal NCAA errantly told South Carolina they made tourney?
ESPN Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman believes the NCAA mistakenly telling South Carolina they made the tournament isn't a big deal because the leaked bracket let the team know beforehand that they hadn't made the NCAA Tournament.