Oct. 4, 2005
One of the difficulties for a university president is to get all the pieces on and off campus to fit together and moving in one direction. That is a gargantuan task. I believe we at Clemson University are as close to moving together in one direction as any campus I have ever been on.
There is no question that (President) Jim (Barker) has provided the entire campus with a sense of spirit and leadership such that people are much more amenable to moving in one direction.
Are we hitting on all cylinders? No, human nature being what it is, every department on campus have their agendas based on the part of the world that we each live in. To make it work, there must be a studied approach regarding how our actions affect other units on campus. Nevertheless, under President Barker’s leadership, there is much progress being made.
I believe there is a willingness now to balance one’s agenda that we all have in our various departments with what else is happening on campus. Along with that is an understanding that we all are pieces to the total puzzle and not the puzzle itself.
With the university as well as the athletic department, you have islands with moats around them. What you try to do is build drawbridges between them. Toward that end, we encourage people to reach out to other people and have more involvement and participation.
Unfortunately, our coaches and staff do not always get across campus as much as we would like because they are intensively focused on their objectives. As a result, that is why there tends to be an inherent tension between athletics and academics at all universities, not just Clemson.
In the spirit of One Clemson, there is a need to reach across campus. We need to better participate in and support activities that may be outside our specific area of concern. That helps build those drawbridges and promote One Clemson.
That is why I teach a Sports Law class. That is small, but it keeps me in the academic sphere.
Additionally, we want to encourage our students-athletes the need to develop an affinity with our student body and the people who support us. The best way to develop that affinity is to appreciate and participate in our traditions.
That is why the Gathering at the Paw after our football games is so important, as well at all of our athletic events. With every opportunity that we have, we want to promote and enhance the One Clemson concept of unity because it is a worthy and very significant concept — difficult, but most worthy of our best efforts.
In One Clemson and Solid Orange,Terry Don Phillips
Postscript: I received an email this week from someone asking me: why do we boo and jeer at the other team when they come on the field? It is a good question.
It has been my experience that if you want to fire up another team, one of the best ways is to boo and jeer them. While it is understandable that our fans need not cheer for them, there is no need to boo. Players love it when you boo them. It gets their blood flowing and adrenaline pumping. It raises the question: why do we need to boo the other team?
We have momentum with our Sportsmanship Initiative that has resulted in more gracious and hospitable behavior in the parking lots and at our stadium. We have an opportunity to continue that momentum and carry it to even higher levels. Booing is absolutely unnecessary. It is counterproductive to what we are about – not to mention the motivating factor for the opponents.
We want to be loud, play tough and hard, and do so with class. Booing and jeering at our opponents have no place in this regard.
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