Bobby Robinson Answers Your ‘Ask The Tigers’ Questions

Bobby Robinson Answers Your ‘Ask The Tigers’ Questions

May 17, 2001

Below are Bobby Robinson’s answers to the selected questions that you submitted this past week to “Ask The Tigers”. would like to thank you for all of your questions submitted. We would also like to thank R.W. for his time and sincere effort with “Ask The Tigers”. ___________________________________________________________

Mr. Robinson, Why was College Sports Southeast chosen to televise Clemson sports when there is only one cable company in SC (Charleston) that carries it?Candy Herron Clemson, SC

College Sports Southeast was chosen mainly because they were the highest bid. We went through the state purchasing process and we advertised for bids. We had a committee that did it, and they basically went through every avenue. They really weren’t chosen for the cable television, that had nothing to do with the bid, that was add on where they have a separate company that agreed to do certain things for us, it had nothing to do with the regular contract, per se.

We knew that they had only one outlet in South Carolina, but they wanted the bid to try and expand in South Carolina, and they have. They’ve gotten it in Rock Hill, and they are about to get it in some other places. But it does get us in some other areas outside of South Carolina, specifically Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, some in Louisiana and Florida. So where it hasn’t been exposed so much in South Carolina, it has been exposed to other parts of the country.

Mr. Robinson, When is the University going to provide clear information on the alleged NCAA investigations? It would be a shame to see the progress made in the past few years all disappear.Travis Hill Simpsonville, SC

The process has not yet been completed, which is why no information has been released to date by the University. As we have always done with compliance matters, when we have full and complete information, we will release it externally, and we will share it internally as well.

Mr. Robinson, We hear about our facilities being behind GT, UNC, FSU, and even NCSU, how did we let it get into this condition when we have been told we have one of the few programs that have been able to operate in the black. I would appreciate your reply.Joe Pearson Greenville, SC

This is an interesting question. I’m not sure we are that far behind. We went on a building program from ’86 to ’91 and in that time frame we built Vickery Hall, did renovation work at Death Valley, the soccer stadium, the baseball stadium, track, IPTAY ticket office building, and after that we built McFadden. So I don’t think we are as far behind as some people are indicating.

I think that people have spent a lot of money in the past few years to upgrade facilities. We don’t have a debt, and I think our facilities are basically good. They are not the most glitzy facilities in the country, but I think they are very functional. But as people have taken it to a new level, such as North Carolina, Texas, and a few others, people have gone the more glitzy route and self-contained facilities. That is why we are now looking at the Heritage Building specifically for football and we are spending 63 million dollars in our capital campaign.

I think that if we didn’t do anything, we would still have good facilities, but we need to have the best facilities or at least equal to our competition. Or better. Which really what we are getting into.

I really don’t think that there is any way that we are behind Georgia Tech or the others that you mentioned for that matter. But everybody is in the same mode, they are spending a lot of money to have the best facilities that they can possibly have, and that is what we are going to do.

Mr. Robinson, Please comment on the possibility of the football team going up against more demanding opponents in the coming years. Also give mention to some of the schools that you would like to see the tigers face.Tyler Palmer Greenville, SC

We are trying to do that. We’ve got Georgia on, we’ve got Auburn on for four games, and we’ve got Texas A&M on. We are talking right now to some teams from the Big 10 plus Oklahoma, Miami, and we have talked to three SEC school. So we have the same philosophy, we would like to improve our schedule, but we would also like to keep it balanced.

Part of the problem is not so much whether we want to play somebody, but whether they want to play us. Everyone seems to think that when we say that we want to play a certain school, that they are automatically going to want to play us. For example, we are currently trying to schedule a home and home series for ’08 and ’09, and the type people we are talking to are the type you are referring to which are the top 15 programs year in and year out.

We are having a very difficult time getting someone to agree to a home and home series for a number of reasons. One is that a lot of people don’t want to play that caliber of an opponent. Also, they often don’t want to come to the South because of the heat and humidity, or their schedules are already balanced, so it is not as easy as people think. But we don’t disagree. We would like to get some high profile opponents in here and that is what we are working on.

Mr. Robinson, Could you please explain the reasoning in going back to 1:00 PM kickoffs for the early season non-televised games? The 6:00 PM start we had last year certainly made it much more bearable with the heat and I believe attracted a larger and more vocal crowd than that of a 1:00 PM kickoff versus the Citadel. It now looks like three of the first four games will be either 12 noon or 1:00 PM games.Jerry Hunter Simpsonville, SC

This is a good question. The reason we went back is that we have gotten some indications that two or maybe three of our remaining games could be picked up by either ESPN or ESPN2. If that is the case, then if we scheduled two or three early season games at 6pm, then we have a couple of ESPN or ESPN2 games at night, then we have between 4 or 5 games at night. We just didn’t think that was in the best interest of our fans. If I knew today that we weren’t going to play any of those games, we’d probably look at things a little differently. Also, the coaches specifically wanted the first game at 1:00. They felt like it is competitive advantage for us due to their conditioning.

Mr. Robinson, Clemson has had a long tradition of producing quality athletes and programs. In fact many outstanding females athletes have come from Clemson programs. When does Clemson plan on adding a softball program to the line-up?Jennifer Poulsen Homewood, AL

Well, we think that we are OK in our numbers for participation. But, we have formed a committee which was formed about a month ago, and they are to make a recommendation to me by December 1st that should we add a program, not saying that we are, but should we add a program to make a recommendation on what that program should be. Not only that, but to list all the programs that we could possibly consider and put them in priority order. This way, three years down the road if we want to add one or two sports, we would already have the homework done.

This process is really very time-consuming. We have athletic staff on the committee, we have faculty on it, and we have members of the Board of Trustees on it. We have a pretty broad base of input. We will then decide if we are going to do it. Softball is just one of the sports that would be considered. We have requests to consider golf, lacrosse, field hockey, and gymnastics, so they are looking into every sport that people have called or written us about.

Mr. Robinson, How does IPTAY money factor in to the annual budget. I read that it was around 30 million dollars this year. Is some of this IPTAY money? I am curious about how the IPTAY money is used by the AD. Facilities, salaries, etc.Mark Lavanish Denver, CO

IPTAY is a part of athletics. We basically have four revenue streams: football, men’s basketball, ACC distribution, and IPTAY. It is all one big pot of money, but IPTAY is separate in that it is basically used for scholarships, but we have also used it to do facilities. They also pay for all the operating costs of Vickery Hall and all the operating costs of IPTAY. We also have money that is deposited in an endowment. But it is included in the overall athletic operating budget.

Mr. Robinson, Why can’t we open Fike for 6 Saturdays a year so that the bathrooms can be used by the public? I just can’t imagine that any one in the Athletic Department would want their grandma,mother,wife, or daughter to have to go into those porto-potties to sit down and use the restroom.Charlie Jenkins Union, SC

Fike is not an athletic building, and we have actually asked for that, but it has not been granted by the University. It is going to really turn out to be a moot point after this football season, because Fike is going to be shut down for the next football season. But your request is something that I don’t disagree with and I think it would help us a little bit. We may go back and ask for that once Fike is renovated. But it is not an athletic building, so it is not really our decision to make.

Bobby, When you retire from Clemson University, what do you most want to be remembered for?John Caudle Columbia, SC

Just being honest, doing the best job you can do, and loving Clemson.

Go Tigers! R.W. Robinson

Next week’s guest on “Ask The Tigers” will be Clemson outfielder and Co-Captain Casey Stone.