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Clemson Declines Bowl Bid

Nov. 22, 2004

Related: Dr. Terry Don Phillips Audio

Clemson University officials announced today that it will not accept a bid for its football team to play in a post-season bowl, after several student-athletes were involved in a fight during Saturday’s game with the University of South Carolina.

“This is more than just a football issue. The circumstances surrounding Saturday’s game have impacted the perception of the character and integrity of the university. We expect all of our teams and student-athletes to act with class and dignity, and for the most part, we are very proud of our student-athletes and teams. We have outstanding coaches and student-athletes, and we understand that fighting in athletics is not acceptable,” said Clemson Director of Athletics Terry Don Phillips.

“I know that this decision is not fair to the clear majority of our players or coaches. But given the circumstances, I believe strongly that it is the right decision so that our university, our student-athletes, supporters and all people that love Clemson know without question what our values are,” he said.

“Football is a team sport. Sometimes there are individual breakdowns within games that affect the outcome for the entire team. This is no different. I feel horrible for our team and coaches, but again, I believe this is the appropriate action.”

Clemson President James F. Barker endorsed the decision and said the university would not take further action against the student-athletes involved.

“But that does not mean this is the end of the discussion,” he said. “We need to learn from this incident and others like it that are tarnishing the image of athletics. I pledge to our students, faculty, staff and alumni that we will do all we can to restore sportsmanship to college sports.

“Attending a bowl game is important to the Clemson family, but nothing is more important than the integrity of the university. What happened Saturday does not reflect the values and character of Clemson, and we need to take whatever steps are necessary to make sure it never happens again,” Barker said.