Aug. 6, 2003
Clemson University will modify its football post-game traditions in an effort to improve safety while maintaining fan access to the field, starting with the Georgia game on Aug. 30.
Called “Gathering at the Paw,” the new post-game celebration will begin at the conclusion of home games when Tiger Band plays the Clemson Alma Mater. Coaches and players will gather at the tiger paw at the 50-yard line to meet with fans for autographs and photo sessions while the band performs. Event staff will be on hand to direct fans to designated field access areas near the east end zone.
“We believe this celebration will enhance the fan-friendly atmosphere that Clemson is known for,” said Terry Don Phillips, director of athletics. “We want to thank the team, coaches and Tiger Band for agreeing to be part of the Gathering at the Paw. Their participation will help create a celebratory environment.”
Gathering at the Paw was one recommendation made by a task force created after last year’s University of South Carolina game, when fans stormed the field and tore down a goal post, leading to several injuries. The task force, comprising officials in university security, student affairs and athletics, as well as fans and students, was asked to find ways to improve safety and maintain traditions important to fans.
“Our highest priority is ensuring the safety of everyone attending and participating in the game,” said Almeda Jacks, vice president for student affairs. “At the same time, we want to maintain the traditions that make Clemson football a treasured family experience.”
Other safety enhancements include reducing the number of people with access to the east end zone area known as “the hill,” increasing bike patrols and security personnel, and increasing enforcement of alcohol statutes, including the university’s existing ban on kegs.
Clemson plans once again to allow pass-outs, which means fans can leave and be readmitted at designated entrances. However, those fans will have to go through the same level of security screening as they did upon entering the stadium. If the nation’s law enforcement agencies are placed on high alert, the pass-out policy may be suspended.
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