|by David Hood|
Radakovich, who was hired away from Georgia Tech in late October, gave us enough information that we can do a three or four part series. This is obviously the first, and I figured we would start with the hot buttons of conference realignment and television money.
TIGERNET: How much of your job is monitoring television contracts and additional monies received from media properties, especially considering the current landscape of college athletics?
“We have to monitor it a lot. We are members of the ACC and we want to make sure we stay competitive - just as other schools that are members of other conferences look at the numbers. It’s almost a scorecard. A lot of us in athletic administrations don’t have the day-to-day competition that the coaches have. When Dabo plays a game, he knows at the end of the day whether he won or lost. As an administrator, sometimes you don’t know that. The value of television contracts has almost become a scorecard in that your conference and your members are winning. I think that we need to help the ACC be as successful as they can be.
“The era of collaborations and some things that may not initially be viewed of ‘well that makes sense to do that’ really need to be looked at from the conference level. We need to help spur that discussion between conferences and to make sure that we continue to be on as level a playing field as you can be. As hard as you try, you can fit 100,000 people in an 80,000-seat stadium. It won’t work the fire marshal won’t let you do that. There are programs around the country that are that have stadiums that big and create that revenue. There are some conferences and schools that have better television contracts than the one that we’re a part of, but what they don’t have- and you have to look at it from a positive perspective- they don’t have the great people that we have and they don’t have the loyal investors, fans, and alums that Clemson has.
“Sometimes you have to make your strides based on people. If it was just about money, Ohio State and Texas would win every championship. It’s not. It’s still about people. It’s still about working hard. It’s still about making sure that student athletes have a great experience and want to come here. You always have to play up to your strengths. That’s what we need to do here and that’s what we’re going to look to do.”
TIGERNET: Speaking of conference realignment – Maryland left the ACC and that left doubts about the stability of the conference. Is the conference stable and what other factors have to be considered when thinking about changing conferences
“I think Maryland did what they needed to do based on financial circumstance. They felt that they had an opportunity given their geography, their sport program offerings that would be good for the University of Maryland. The thing about conference realignment is the thing you say today, two months from now may not be the case. And, not because you are being devious or deceitful, but things change. What you have to be is vigilant. You have to understand what the priorities are on your individual campus and then as things move around that your priorities are still lining up with the people who are in your conference. Right now, those things are happening with Clemson and the ACC. We are aligned. We want to make the ACC better. The recent addition of Louisville was a great plus for the ACC. So we just have to continue to try and do the things that we can do here at Clemson to make the ACC better. Part of that is we need to win the Chick-fil-a Bowl game. That would be a great thing. It would be a great thing for Coach Swinney, the players, the fans, the alums, but it would also help the ACC. That’s part of what our next challenge is.
TIGERNET: How much are FSU and Clemson and some of the other football schools “tied at the hip?” And would one of the other football schools leaving the conference mean that Clemson would also look around?
“I think that’s all part of the monitoring of the landscape that has to continue. That’s part of being vigilant that I talked about earlier. If the landscape changed, you have to be able to go through a mental or physical checklist that is this still the right place for the institution. As we sit here on December 4, 2012 the ACC is a tremendous home for Clemson football and all of Clemson athletics and that’s where we want to be. Our job is to make sure the ACC gets better.”
David Hood can be reached at email@example.com