South Carolina hosted its Friday ceremony outside at the football program’s home, Williams-Brice Stadium. The late Will Muschamp years were pretty lean on great moments for the Gamecocks, but Caslen’s blunder probably ranks among the more embarrassing moments in the stadium in recent year.
“It is my honor and privilege to officially congratulate you as the newest alumni of the University of California. Congratulations and please be seated,” he said. In the now-viral video of the moment, someone off screen loudly utters “What?!” and there is a notable silence in the stadium.
As those in attendance continued to react to the gaffe, Caslen caught the mistake. “Carolina,” he muttered. “Whew! Sorry about that. I owe you a push-up.”
Bruh…this isn’t right…at all 😂 pic.twitter.com/TRjY4wlNCV
— Zach 🤙 (@mngamecock) May 8, 2021
A statement from the university cited the many ceremonies that Caslen is involved in at the end of the school year, and that is fair. It is hard to fathom, as university president, slipping up so badly that you confuse South Carolina for “California,” but mistakes happen.
“The president speaks at 15 separate ceremonies all across the state during spring commencement season, congratulating thousands of University of South Carolina system graduates,” said USC spokesperson Jeff Stensland. “It’s a joyous time for our graduates, their families and the entire university community. President Caslen apologizes for accidentally saying ‘California’ instead of ‘Carolina’ at the end of last night’s ceremony and regrets any attention it may have drawn from the accomplishments of our graduates.”
The timing is pretty poor for Caslen and University of South Carolina, though. The school is just over a month removed from the very public denouncement of famed businesswoman and major USC benefactor Darla Moore, for whom the university’s business school is named, after it failed to acknowledge the passing of her mother.