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Donor Response to Seat Equity Creates Changes in Parking Assignments

July 18, 2008

There are few things that can bring the kind of anticipation and excitement than the kickoff of the 2008 football season. The excitement is on the field, the stands and in the parking lots as donors eagerly await their assignments for the 2008 season. For the first time in Clemson football season ticket history every donor to IPTAY will be contributing the same per seat amount that their neighbor has contributed to the scholarship fund that supports all student athletes at Clemson University. When the plan was introduced to the IPTAY Board of Directors, Clemson University Trustees, athletic department officials, state legislature and IPTAY Representatives no one could predict the response that has been received during this process. Although there is never 100% agreement with any change, IPTAY donors as a group decided that being second best was no longer good enough for Clemson and its athletic programs. The response has been tremendous. It has been said over and over but once again IPTAY donors showed their commitment to excellence as the scholarship fund has never been stronger than it is now that the books have been closed for IPTAY 2008.

While this level of fundraising success will create opportunities for continued academic and athletic achievement, it does create challenges when it comes to the benefits that each donor receives for his or her giving decision in 2008. As a season ticket holder if you enjoyed your current seating in Death Valley and you contributed the necessary amount to IPTAY to maintain those seats then your anticipation of seating assignments is over. For those that increased their IPTAY contributions and/or requested seat changes the wait continues. The final piece of the puzzle as we head into the 2008 season is each donor’s parking assignment. For many donors this is equal to or more important than their seating assignment. Similar to the Seat Equity Plan the IPTAY staff works to apply a system that is applied equally across the board while creating opportunities for those donors that increase their contributions to the scholarship fund. With such an emphasis being placed on the Seat Equity Plan in 2008 the parking assignment process proved once again to be a difficult task when the available space for parking at Clemson decreases and donors like you continue to increase your support for all student athletes.


It bears repeating that each year the amount of available space to park IPTAY donors decreases. For 2008 the losses were significant but thanks to collaboration between athletic department officials, IPTAY staff and University parking services parking is still a benefit to all donors at the $350 level and above that order at least 2 season football tickets. The loss of 700 spaces behind Earle Hall and the Fluor Daniel building prompted the assignment of parking to IPTAY donors at the Strom Thurmond Institute and the Brooks Center. The removal of on-street parking from Gate 1 to Gate 5 prompted the relocation of 60 donors into the grassy lot directly behind the East EndZone. This area will be further impacted in 2009 as the construction of the Military Scroll of Honor project will relocate all donors in the grassy lot and those street spaces remaining on Williamson Rd between gates 1 and 5. Over 80 spaces were relocated due to the construction projects at the West library lot and the Lee Hall cul-de-sac. Reductions to the number of cars in lot 4 (-1000) and the layout of motor home parking has been affected by the newly constructed infield baseball practice facility located directly behind the batting cages in right field of Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Other changes include the division of lot 4 into two separate lots (4 and 14), the relocation of all handicap patrons to the Hendrix Center and the numbering of all spaces in lot 10. To avoid the overcrowding issues in lot 4 in 2007 the lot has been decreased by almost 1000 vehicles. Lot 3A has also been reduced by 50 cars to avoid the over-assignment issues of 2007.


However, the physical changes to the parking available to IPTAY donors pales in comparison to the challenges created with an almost 30% increase in contributions from 2007 to 2008. With an over 11% increase at the Champion level ($700), 120% increase at the Howard level ($2100), 64% increase at the IPTAY level ($2800), 209% increase at the McFadden level ($5600) and well over 50% increases at the Fike and Heisman levels ($7000 and $10,000 respectively) it can be difficult to meet everyone’s first parking request. Keep in mind that the $1400 level is the minimum level for numbered parking. This level as little as 4 years ago gave donors the benefit of parking in some of the most premium areas available to IPTAY donors. Similarly, area lots such as lot 1, 12, 3J and 7 were available to $350 donors as little as 4 years ago. These lots are now assigned to $1400 donors that prefer these locations over their options in lot 10, Calhoun Drive, etc. In fact, lot 1 was completely full when the $1400 donors with fewer than 90 points were assigned. Another high demand area was the area motor home parking which was full before any $700 donors could be assigned. As donors have increased their support, as illustrated by the percentage increases above, donors have been reassigned to create equity in our parking lots so that your parking assignment reflects your level of annual giving. Specifically, the increase in contributions has changed lot 3A to a $1400 area lot where many donors at this level with fewer than 50 points are assigned. Many new donors at the $1400 level were assigned to lot 4 when there 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices were not available.


Over the past 3 years the biggest complaint received once parking passes are sent to donors is that they would have contributed at a higher level if they knew that they needed to in order to maintain their parking space from the previous season. This is a fair request and in the fall of 2007 that request was granted with information that was printed in the Orange and White. This information was reprinted throughout the spring and included in the season ticket order information as well as being available on-line through . The chart of parking options available at each donor level are simply an estimate made long before each IPTAY donor makes their contribution. It does not guarantee that an assignment will remain the same by simply contributing at that suggested giving level. The reason for this movement within a certain lot even if you contribute at the level suggested is a domino effect when donors receive side-by-side parking. This domino effect also occurs when donors at higher levels request to park next to each other in a certain lot. In both examples a donor can be moved only a few spaces or to other locations within a lot, depending on their priority level, to accommodate these requests.

Similar to the ticket assignments of the Seat Equity plan, IPTAY cannot guarantee that by contributing at a certain level that you will be improved to the parking lot of your choice. A great example is lot 3 around Littlejohn Coliseum. There are 248 spaces around Littlejohn that is listed as a $2800 lot for 2008. There were more than 400 donors at or above the $2800 level that requested lot 3 this year. Obviously not everyone can be assigned to their first choice. This is where your priority points accumulated through your years of support and cumulative giving come into play. Remember that parking and tickets for events at Clemson are assigned based on level of giving and points within that level.

The next question received in the IPTAY office is can I swap my pass for another lot if I increase my contribution now? The answer is no because every single parking is assigned that IPTAY uses for football parking. IPTAY is at a point now where there are no available spaces in any area or numbered lot. You obviously have the option of exchanging with someone you know but there are no open spaces in the IPTAY inventory.


Now that all parking assignments are complete, IPTAY and the athletic department can turn its attention to the logistics and the management of game day parking. More details will be available in the coming weeks about the implementation of a zone parking plan and the parking management officers that will be assigned to each zone to provide customer service and a physical presence that will increase the safety and continuity in all football parking areas. The athletic department employees will be assigned to each zone with the responsibility of handling parking issues, enforcing tailgating policies and ensuring that all donors can enjoy their afternoons at Clemson during the football season. Included in this initiative will be a new signage plan that will better direct you and visitors to our campus each Saturday for home football games.


This year, like every other, has been a challenge to provide the benefits that are congruent with each donor’s annual level of support. It would be much easier to simply maintain the status quo and ask donors at higher levels of contribution to simply wait and allow attrition to improve their parking assignment. However, this would be an injustice to each donor and to the student athletes that rely on the increased support from IPTAY’s over 16,000 donors. IPTAY will continue to improve and take the necessary steps to continue to provide the scholarship support to Clemson students as it has for 75 years. As these steps are taken towards excellence there is no doubt that IPTAY donors will continue to increase their support and make certain that they are doing their part to support our student athletes academically and athletically.