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May 10, 2000

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Mark Byrd, Simpsonville, S.C.

Please justify the Athletic Department’s decision to continue to schedule Division I-AA teams (particularly Furman) for Clemsons athletic programs (more specifically football). Plain and simple, the Tigers have no business playing a I-AA opponent, now or ever, in any sport, particularly football. Scheduling this type of opponent in no way, shape or form, benefits the program. There are over 114 division 1-A teams in college sports, and even playing a cup cake Division I-A team like Rutgers, Rice, Memphis or Ball State would be better than a Division I-AA opponent. The BCS points system is just too demanding on teams’ strength of schedule, and the days of playing Division I-AA teams for short or long term benefit (whatever they may be) has long since lost its luster. The administration should be sharply criticized for not attempting to back out of the ridiculous match-up with the Citadel on 9/2/00.

 

Bobby Robinson’s Answer

I assume this really goes back to football. The only area you have anything regarding I-AA is football. The schools that you mentioned are specifically Southern Conference teams and they are all Division I in basketball, soccer and everything else. We play those teams in all of our sports because we have to play a certain number of opponents and some of those are natural opponents. We will continue to do that. When you play 56 baseball games you are going to be playing a lot of schools like that.

But, specifically to go back to your question regarding football and I think that is the question that you are really asking. It goes back to the BCS. Who we play will have almost no determining factor on our participation in the BCS unless it is to play for the National Championship game. That is the only thing the BCS does is set up a one versus two. There are other BCS games, but the point system does not enter into it at all. The bowls pick after you go past one versus two. To be honest with you, for us to get into the one versus two you have to win your conference championship and you basically have to go undefeated. I think North Carolina went 10-1 and did not get in a BCS game much less the National Championship game. I think Georgia Tech was in the same situation. I don’t think it will affect you at all in the BCS. We do that basically for a lot of reasons, one we have to maximize our home schedule. When we play South Carolina at home and we have four conference games at home and South Carolina makes five, we have to buy a sixth home game because we can’t go on the road and return it. When the 12th game comes in, that gives you a little bit more flexibility. But also you are required in a 12 game schedule to win seven games to go to a bowl game. A lot of people don’t agree and I certainly understand your point of view. To be honest with you, our coaches feel like the schedules are realistic. As we go through the future where we have Texas A&M, Auburn, Georgia and some other schools coming in like that, I think our schedule along with the Atlantic Coast Conference teams and South Carolina are very representative.

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