What Will Football Look Like at Clemson?

Zach Lentz

Clemson University announced Tuesday a plan that has football and basketball student-athletes returning to campus for voluntary workouts on June 8.

With student-athletes being allowed to return to campuses around the country, it is beginning to become more and more likely that there will be a football season—in some form or fashion that has yet to be determined. 

"I have to remind myself that though it feels like a long time, we still have 89 days to go before classes begin in the fall, and 100 days until the football season is scheduled to begin," Athletic Director Dan Radakovich wrote. "We’ve focused a lot of energy on looking ahead to the 2020-21 academic and athletic year, and while we don’t have all of the answers yet, some pieces are beginning to come into focus.

"One thing I can say definitively is how thankful I am to our fans and members of IPTAY. As it relates to football in the fall, we remain optimistic about the ability to play our scheduled games"

But what has yet to be determined is what the sport will look like. College football has made its living on the fans of the school, the alumni returning to campuses each fall and the thousands upon thousands of people who show up to tailgate before, during and after games.

"Our continued focus is on the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans," Radakovich wrote. "To that end, we have many working groups planning for a return to football this fall under varying scenarios, including a limited capacity within Memorial Stadium. We are modeling how our stadium would handle a limited capacity situation, relating to priority, potential refunds and associated issues.

"Other modifications include the full transition to mobile ticket delivery, as well as potential adaptations to tailgating, parking and concessions operations."

According to sources, Clemson is currently looking at three possible scenarios for the return of football.

The first one follows the plan recently put into place by Iowa State, which would only allow IPTAY/ season-ticket holders to attend games.

The plan at Iowa State, released Tuesday stated:

Attendance at Jack Trice Stadium would be limited to approximately 50% capacity in order to meet the current guidelines established by state and local officials. Those guidelines may be adjusted as time passes. Right now, we are planning as though the capacity of our stadium would be limited to 30,000 spectators.

As of today, approximately 22,000 season tickets have been renewed for this fall. That leaves us approximately 8,000 seats to be filled.

The plan also adds that "the only fans who will have the opportunity to be in the stadium this fall are those who renew their season tickets and their required Cyclone Club donation" and "because we expect to reach the 50% capacity limitation through season ticket sales, we do not anticipate selling single-game tickets unless the capacity limits are raised."

The second plan is simple: no fans will be allowed to attend the games—none, zero, zilch, nada. No tailgating. No cheering from the stands. Just guys on a field, playing what many would view as a glorified scrimmage.

The final plan the Clemson Athletic Department is currently exploring is the status quo remaining.

That means that when the Tigers run down the hill for the first time Sept. 12 against the Louisville Cardinals, there will be 85,000 screaming, rabid fans cheering at the top of their lungs—social distancing be damned.

Radakovich made it clear that the first two options are not "ideal," but that any and all options are currently on the table.

"We’ve looked at many scenarios so far, but have chosen to refrain from speculating about numbers, capacities and policies, as we feel we need more information to make such impactful decisions," Radakovich wrote in a letter. "We must continue to review and then do what’s best for Clemson.

"It’s no secret that a modified fall would be less than ideal, but Clemson is prepared to handle many of the scenarios ahead of us, in large part due to the generosity of our donors and partners."

Comments (1)
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Christopher Hall
Christopher Hall

I'd hate to see a college football season without the fans but honestly don't see how it can actually work even at limited capacity. And what happens when the "golden ticket" folks decide hey I don't want to go to the game this week, I'll sell my tickets for the weekend. Price gouging is already at an all-time for the blockbuster games. What happens when there are only half the amount of tickets now available? Whew. I think it all leads to other layers of issues with any decision you make. I don't envy the powers that be for a single second. Good luck.