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Jul 27, 2020

From The Desk of Dan Radakovich – July 27, 2020

Clemson Family,

Thank you for your continued support of Clemson Athletics and IPTAY, especially during this unprecedented time. I want to acknowledge our Department staff, our University leadership, our medical personnel and staff, who all have been working tirelessly to provide a safe environment for our students, visitors and staff this fall.

Of course, much of our time—and fan interest—is focused on the fall sports season. We continue to partner with our University leaders and our fellow ACC members to evaluate the options ahead of us. I meet with the other ACC athletic directors at least twice a week via Zoom, I serve as the current Chair of the Board of LEAD1, the Division I athletic directors association, and Coach Swinney and I have both served on the ACC football competition committee, so I am well “in the weeds” on the various factors and decision-making process.

Student-athlete safety has been—and will continue to be—the top priority. Clemson continues to be among the most aggressive schools in the country in our testing and identification of cases to limit transmissions.

As you may know, the ACC was one of the first conferences to announce the cancellation of fall events prior to September 1, which we believe allows us a better chance to have a season without interruption. As of today, there has been no change to our fall football schedule and key decisions have yet to be made regarding stadium capacity, concessions, tailgating and some of our operating procedures.

The ACC Board of Governors has two upcoming meetings on July 29 and August 5 and we hope to have more clarity around fall sports and the football season shortly after those meetings. We will continue to model various scenarios for capacity in Memorial Stadium, and the month of August will be filled with communications from athletics and IPTAY.

During my presentation to the Board of Trustees last week, I made mention the incredible response on the survey we sent in early July. Your responses will be considered here at Clemson, as well as referenced at campuses across the nation. The online survey was sent to more than 11,000 IPTAY donors has been very informative as we plan for a football season. The 23-question survey was completed by 8,575 donors, who are the lifeblood of our department. This type of a response is unheard of in the marketplace and we thank you again for your engagement. Among the most interesting takeaways from the survey:

  • 84% of fans noted that they are comfortable coming to games this fall if social distancing is implemented.
  • Overall, regardless of operations, 49.1% would be comfortable in games in September, 58.3% would be comfortable in games in October and 62.8% would be comfortable in games in November;
  • 39.9% of respondents cited being in a crowd as their biggest concern for not attending games.
  • 21.0% of fans are willing to tailgate if they do not receive tickets to the game.
  • Where ‘2’ is an expectation and ‘3’ is a must, fans in Memorial Stadium expect CUAD to provide hand sanitizer stations (2.6/3), require staff to wear face coverings (2.35/3), require all fans to wear face coverings (2.17/3) and facilitate physical distancing (2.07/3).

Full data and results from the survey are available here: [Clemson Fan Survey Responses]

We’ll continue to consult with the best experts in the university, state and nation on each of these items – from safety to stadium operations and everything in between. In the meantime, I ask for your continued patience.

There are other important areas of concern over the last several months. Our staff and student-athletes engaged in meaningful conversations and learning opportunities around racial inequality in America—and here at Clemson.

Our Diversity and Inclusion planning is ongoing and we’ve had the chance to share this with our staff. We appreciate the University’s ClemsonForward initiative in this area, and we have gotten valuable feedback.

We have also partnered with Dr. Rhondda Thomas , who serves as an English professor at Clemson, for a staff and student-athlete series. She is the leading scholar on the history and stories of the Black experience at Clemson University, and has been instrumental in the University’s commitment to recognize a more complete history of Clemson. Dr. Thomas’s Call My Name project, which details the history of Clemson University, is incredible and important to our community. Read more about Dr. Thomas and her work from Clemson World.

We have also begun Clemson Voices, an initiative which highlights student-athlete and staff feelings and concerns regarding racial inequality and other social issues. I recommend you take a few moments to hear from some of our incredible students and staff: Clemson Voices.

We continue to engage in important discussions on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) legislation. Recently, I had the honor of representing the ACC and athletic directors across the country in a productive conversation with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing regarding NIL. At Clemson, we will continue our partnership with Opendorse, which includes participation in the Opendorse Ready program. Opendorse is a technology platform for content and social media, and the team has been key in helping create educational programming. Whenever NIL legislation goes into effect, our students will have the best tools at their disposal.

The month of August is coming upon us quickly. I urge you to wear face coverings in public, wash your hands and keep distancing whenever possible. We all want to see the Tigers take the field in front of a full house, but it can’t happen unless each of us commits to doing what it takes.

Thank you and Go Tigers!

Dan Radakovich

Director of Athletics