Become a Gamecock insider with GamecockCentral.com
Are you in search of accurate, timely Gamecock athletics and recruiting news from a staff of folks that you can trust? Do you want to be able to ask a question of reporters that cover the program on a daily basis and have an inside knowledge of what's happening? Want a place to discuss the Gamecocks with other fans?
Good news: you're in the right place. Welcome to GamecockCentral.com.
Our website was born in 1998 during our own search for two things in particular: more information on Gamecock sports and recruiting, and a deeper connection with fellow fans.
You can read even more of our history here, but we got our start when our publisher, Brian Shoemaker, linked up a bunch of Gamecock fans on an instant messaging program called ICQ. Anyone remember that?
That initial group eventually started meeting up for lunch, then Brian launched an early version of the website, which included forums as a way for fans to keep the conversation online. GamecockCentral.com began as a hobby, and only later did it bloom into a business. The site has evolved plenty over time, but that core passion - and the hard work we put into producing the best possible product for our subscribers - has not.
Back in '98, there were not as many options to consume news, opinions or analysis on Gamecock sports and recruiting. There are tons now, and that may cause you to wonder which ones are the best.
We very much believe that we will always be different from other media outlets because of how our site was born. Although the media landscape has changed, we haven’t: that same boots on the ground mentality filters through our organization today, more than 20 years later.
What if you could get trustworthy news and information you simply cannot find elsewhere, directly from a team of reporters, writers, and photographers that are just as passionate about delivering the news as you are about the Gamecocks? And what if that team cared deeply about you having a great experience?
Welcome to being a subscriber at GamecockCentral.com.
WHAT DO YOU GET AS A SUBSCRIBER?
ALL OF OUR CONTENT - We update the site with multiple content items on a daily basis. Some are free to the public, others (the best stuff) are premium. As a subscriber, you never have to worry about hitting "the paywall" and not being able to view a story you really want to see. You get everything, all the time. During football season that can be as many as 50 content items a week on the front page alone! Plus, you can rest assured that our stuff is quality, with a good portion of it unique content you're not going to find anywhere else.
ACCESS TO THE INSIDERS FORUM - Ask our friendly staff a question and get an in-depth answer from someone that covers Gamecock athletics and recruiting full-time on a daily basis. Get insider tidbits and scoop daily, stuff that may not make the front page. Plus, you can discuss the latest happenings with your fellow fans, celebrate victories, and commiserate in defeat.
SPECIAL FEATURES SUCH AS...
THE INSIDER REPORT - One of our biggest hits among subscribers, this is Chris Clark's semi-regular report that dives deeper into lets you know the latest happenings in Gamecock football and recruiting.
CAROLINA CONFIDENTIAL - From Wes Mitchell, another semi-regular feature that takes you behind the scenes of what's happening in the football program. Compelling and original content and one of our most popular features on the website!
INSIDE THE CLASS - We give our subscribers a peek behind the curtain throughout each and every Gamecock football recruiting cycle. Once the dust settles, it gets even better. Each year, after the class is complete, we publish our multi-part "Inside the Class" feature that goes even deeper with never-before-heard stories and tales from the trail. We'll address rumors, hit on near-misses, discuss how Carolina landed certain players, and much more. This past cycle's edition had five parts!
By the way, former Gamecocks QB Erik Kimrey - famous for "The Fade" 20 years ago - is also bringing his analysis and coaching mind to GamecockCentral.com this year with a weekly column.
PLUS MUCH MORE!
Oh, another side note here. Our normal annual membership fee is just $99.95, which comes out to just 27 cents a day for the best Gamecocks coverage around. You can also choose a monthly plan, which is just $9.95 per month!
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PRODUCT
Aside from our publisher, Brian Shoemaker, GamecockCentral.com employs three writers/reporters who enjoy running down and reporting the news for you daily, plus interacting with you on The Insiders Forum. All four are USC graduates.
Shoe, as we call him, leads the day to day operations and is the site's sole owner. Not bad for a guy who failed his first computer class in college, huh?
Chris was a poli-sci major with aspirations of being a lawyer one day. He started writing about Gamecock football and recruiting in college, not long after poring over highlight tapes of Carlos Thomas and the late OJ Murdock during the 2005 recruiting cycle. It was more of a side hobby, too, until Shoe gave him a dream opportunity to do it for a living, full-time, in 2009.
We recruited Wes to join our team in 2014, and he arrived with a reputation of being well-liked and well-connected, which he's lived up to and more. Wes works closely with Chris to produce insider knowledge on football and recruiting and does dynamite work.
Collyn is our youngest and got his start as an intern for GamecockCentral.com while in college. We liked him so much that we decided to keep him around after he graduated. He seems to be all over the place and produces a ton of informative and quality content on a daily basis.
We also have many part time staffers, including Chris Wellbaum, who takes the lead on our coverage of Dawn Staley's championship women's basketball program (and supplements other sports coverage), photographers Chris Gillespie, Katie Dugan, Montez Aiken, and CJ Driggers, plus stats analyst/football writer Will Helms.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can't I just find the same information you provide elsewhere free of charge?
In short, no.
We do original reporting here, which means we're actually covering events in person and talking with sources that we've worked - and spent years - to cultivate. It is true that because we provide complete coverage of Gamecock athletics that some stuff - for example, tossing out what a Gamecock coach said at a press conference - may be available elsewhere. But we cover so much more that that, including interviews, analysis, inside scoop, and features that you simply won't find anywhere else.
Plus, the stuff that you do find on social media or some other places - do you know where it came from and whether or not it's accurate? When you're getting information from GamecockCentral.com, you don't have to worry about whether or not there's an agenda or if you can trust what we are reporting. Plus, if you have a question, you can simply ask us on The Insiders Forum and we will be glad to help!
We feel confident that if you give us a shot, you'll be more than happy with the content and our service to you!
Do I get access to other team sites' content on the Rivals.com network?
On a limited basis, yes. As a matter of policy, team sites across the Rivals.com network (such as GamecockCentral.com) do not allow reading or participating on premium (subscriber-only) forums without a separate subscription to that particular team site. That helps keep our communities a little more exclusive.
There are certain premium front-page items on other team sites that you will be able to access as a member.
Plus, we work closely with other team sites across the large network, gathering scoop and analysis on other programs that we can pass on directly to you.
How and when am I charged?
Like many other membership programs, our billing system (administered through the Rivals.com network) charges subscribers on an auto-renew basis, meaning you don't have to worry about losing access or remembering to manually renew. Your credit or debit card will be charged each billing cycle, whether it's annually or monthly, depending on your subscription.
If you see a small (extra) charge on your statement, it's likely just the billing system verifying your card with the bank and that small charge will be refunded.
If subscriptions are not cancelled 48 hours before the next renewal date, you'll roll over as a member once again for the next term automatically. Be sure to check out Rivals.com billing and general terms of service for more information, or ask us and we'll help!
Are there any upsells?
Absolutely not. Once you subscribe, you get access to every bit of content we produce on a daily basis for as long as you're a member. We literally don't have a way to charge you any extra! The only instances in which you are charged again - or an amount different from your original promotional charge, if you signed up under one - are when your subscription automatically renews.
What if I have a problem, trouble utilizing the website, or another question not covered here?
We would be glad to answer! Email us: team(at)gamecockcentral.com and we will do whatever we can to help.