Lawmaker trying to force Clemson and South Carolina to keep playing each other
With conference realignment comes changing schedules. Altering schedules can threaten rivalries. That’s the nature of the beast. Annual rivalry games like Pittsburgh-West Virginia and Texas-Texas A&M could become extremely rare with the way conference expansion and realignment looks across college football. With the ACC set to add Pitt and Syracuse within the next couple years, ACC teams will only be allowed to schedule three non-conference games. That would make it extremely difficult for the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry to continue annually.
That is, unless, Republican state representative Nathan Ballentine has something to say about it. According to The State, Ballentine has put forth a proposal that would essentially force Clemson and South Carolina to continue their 103-year rivalry after realignment.
“I had a constituent bring it up to me, asking whether it was state law that these two teams play. It’s not,” Ballentine said. “With all the conference realignment, we just wanted to make sure this annual game continues. You saw Texas and Texas A&M. That rivalry went by the wayside. … No one wants to see that happen here to our two universities where families enjoy the annual game, and it’s great for our economy.”
He may be right about everyone wanting the tradition to continue, but does legislation have any place in the scheduling of college football games? If both schools want to play each other badly enough, the game will continue. Ultimately, it is up to the universities to determine their non-conference schedules.
“Clemson would prefer to not have to legislate this issue as I cannot conceive of a realistic scenario that would prohibit Clemson and South Carolina from continuing our football series,” Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said.
A USC spokesman echoed those thoughts: “Athletic schedules need to be decided by athletic directors and coaches.”
In other words, Ballentine needs to find a more useful way to spend his time.