Friday Email Bag

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Friday Email Bag

Each Friday I publish your comments and answer your questions.  To submit a comment or questions please email me at

Hi Mickey,

I'm a 40-year-plus football season ticket holder and alumnus with great sideline seats; so, obviously, I have been around a while and enjoy every game. 

At the Spring game, for short time, I sat in the end-zone section where the recruits sit during the season.

I honestly didn't like the view.  I couldn't appreciate the angle for watching the action on the field; i.e., not being able to interpret or appreciate distances of gains for runs and passes or clarity of tackles or coverage.

My question is why were the recruits moved some years ago to their current location from where they used to sit on the south side near the students in great visual seats? I understand that these are valuable seats, but don't we want the recruits to enjoy the game at its maximum?  Don't we want the recruits clearly to see how their individual positions are used in our offensive and defensive schemes?

Since recruiting is so extremely important, why do we not maximize the recruit's viewing experience?

Am I wrong?  Please tell me what I a missing.



I don't know the reason but in thinking about it I think the location of the West End Zone may have something to do with it. It seems easier to get the prospects in and out of the West End Zone facilities since they are closer. I do know that years ago prospects used to be allowed inside luxury boxes but the NCAA changed the rules and that is no longer allowed. I also know that at South Carolina they also sit in the end zone area close to their football offices. I don't know why but I can assure you that the process has been thought out with great reason.


I just read your blog on security at sporting events and totally disagree with your assessment about games at Clemson.   The last time that my wife's bag was checked before entering the football stadium was probably 10 years ago and this is sad to say but after the short term memory of 9/11 had been erased.   Yes there are law enforcement members around the gates and no doubt plan clothes officers but nobody is seen searching a bag.


When I went to The Masters last week, everything metal had to be removed from your possession and all those that entered had to go through a metal detector.   The huge difference is that while there are probably as many spectators at Augusta (The Masters will never tell us) as there are at a Clemson game, everyone does not go in at the same time at Augusta.   I am sure you will remember the long lines and bag searching for example at the Chick-fil-A bowl and even at Clemson after 9/11 and we all hated that but we all wanted to be safe. 


We assume we live in a safe area and believe the atmosphere at a Clemson football game is a family friendly one but being able to walk in the stadium without bags being looked at just does not make me feel good.   Another valid reason to search bags at Clemson or any other stadium is it would hopefully stop some people from bringing in the liquor bottles that we all see at most of the games.  It is a sad day when bad people affect the lives of so many but unfortunately the bombing in Boston yesterday is just another reminder that we live in a scary world. 




Thanks for the email. I think security at major sporting events will change. I think the time has come to search all bags for those entering a major sporting event. I keep going back to how air travel safety has increased in recent years. I think this may be our model at major sporting events.


I just read your blog today, and you are catching some heat from a few folks.  I have to say, I wholeheartedly disagree with the entirety of your blog, especially your producer's quote "life comes before liberty."  You opened up a political can of worms with this one.  It was with that same idea that the first fascists and communists took their first step towards oppressing their people.  Are the intentions good?  In most cases, probably.  In some cases where power is the motivating factor, no.  You cannot use the argument that life comes before liberty unless you are willing to take away an individual's right to live his life as he sees fit.  Life before liberty is what Bloomberg uses when he tells restaurants what size drinks they can serve and that they have to have a trashcan for food waste so that it can be used as compost for some hippie's garden.  Life before liberty means that you (the oppressor) know more about how I (the individual) should live my life and you will see to it that I do what you say.  So, let's be real.  I know the quote was meant to apply only towards pass-outs at the football games and extra security at all gates around the stadium.  The reaction to such an event must never be overly emotional, and it almost always is--case in point, the Newtown School shootings.  We do things immediately to make us FEEL more secure.  Gun restrictions?  Less ammo?  Please.  Now the only people with guns are the bad guys.  And guess what?  Now they have guns that hold more bullets than the gun I used to have.  It is amazing that people react with pure emotion and no reason in these situations.  If one examined the two cities with the strictest gun laws in the country--DC in the 80's and 90's, and now Chicago in the last 15 years, you just have to look at the stats.  Look at them.  DC was the murder capital of the world 25 years ago, and now Chicago has replaced it.

So in reality, extra security at gates and no pass-outs will not stop any terrorist from doing exactly what they just did at Boston.  If a terrorist wants to kill a group of people, they will find a way to do it, and no amount of security is going to stop them.  Heck, there are so many people crowded around a gate just trying to get in, that if someone wanted to hurt people outside the gate before the game, they could hurt hundreds.  A better quote would have been, "With liberty comes responsibility."  I don't have the answers--we need better immigration security and background checks and counter-terrorism research efforts by the governmental groups in charge of such things.  But in the end, if more instances like these happen, it is going to be up to us as individuals to protect ourselves and our freedom and I have no doubt that you would start to see average citizens identifying terrorist threats themselves if something seemed out of the ordinary.  And yes, things like this will continue to occur and there will be no way to stop some of them unfortunately.  Take away pass-outs?  Go ahead if you want, if it makes you feel more secure.  The reality and complexity of the situation is quite different.  



I agree that this is a complex issue. I also agree that we will never be able to eliminate all threats. And I admit that I don't like the pass out policy for football reasons. But why is Clemson one of the few stadiums in the country to allow pass outs?

I am not for any more gun control. I believe in the right to bear arms.

On the idea of liberty, I want to keep all liberties but we already give many up each day. I don't want to be to the airport an hour early to get searched. However, if it is for the betterment of the entire group then count me in. I am willing to give up some conveniences for others to feel safer.

I don't have the answers but I am willing to give up somethings if we can increase our odds of deterrence.


Always enjoy the blog, and keep you and Ryan in my prayers.

There is an old saying that "locks only keep out the honest people", which basically means that if someone wants to break into your house, then they are going to do it regardless of whether or not you have a lock on the door. In respect to Clemson, dis-continuing the pass-out policy would definitely make the game-day experience less enjoyable for many fans, but it would not stop a terrorist act from occurring. Maybe it would keep a terrorist from coming in after halftime, but there are countless other ways they could do something horrible, which might even be easier to pull off. Unfortunately, the only way to completely avoid the risk of being the victim of a terrorist attack at a sporting event is to watch it on television.

What a sad world in which we live where going to a sporting event could be dangerous.



When I was a kid we never locked our doors at night. Now I have a very complex security system at my house. This is a perfect example of my point. I have video cameras, glass breaking technology, motion sensors and smoke detectors (not to mention two dogs that will rip your head off). I can never eliminate the threat of an intruder but I have two signs in my yard that warn intruders of the system in place. Will the deter them? My point is that I am playing the odds with my new security system at my home. I think sports venues will do the same by increasing their security.


I can appreciate the follow up blog on this one.  Since you clarified a few things, I would like to clarify a few things in my previous email.  First, I am sticking by what I said.  I do not think pass outs should stop.  I think the tailgating atmosphere amongst the greenery at Clemson is unique and helps to create that wonderful friendly environment, and although I often stay in at half time, I do not think this tradition at Clemson should stop in an emotional response to a tragedy.  I believe the sole responsibility of government is the protection of and adherence to our constitution and our bill of rights and also the defense and policing of our citizens.  That's it.  I even believe infrastructure could be better run by private business.  That's a subject for another day.  So, I am in agreement with you that we could beef up security at the gates.  If the police are checking every bag coming in, that would certainly deter a terrorist from bringing in a bomb in a bag.  We have to do this at the ACC Championship game in Charlotte and the bowl game in ATL for example.  I still believe that a terrorist will find a way to inflict damage, whether that's bombing a bus of spectators, players, a crowd outside the gate, etc.  No amount of beefed up security is going to stop some threats.  The argument since the beginning of modern man has been, "Where do you draw the line?" Like I said in the previous email, some leaders overstep the basic defense and policing of the state and become dictators, moving that line farther in favor of the government, ruining the economy and ruining liberty and basic freedom.  The more power you give to the state for whatever reason, the more freedom you lose and the more it hurts an individual citizen's quality of life.  This is fact.  All a person has to do is open up a history book and look at current events to see that I am correct, but so many in our country ignore history and ignore facts and think, "It will be different in this case." No it won't.  Ever. I am fine with a few more officers at each gate.  Just don't stray too much farther in that direction... 



Thanks for the second email. I don't think we are in total disagreement on the subject. I hate that we even have to have a conversation about this because in theory I agree but in practice this is difficult. Unfortunately we have to give in some things. I feel conflicted because I want less government but I also want our country to be safer. Are these mutually exclusive? I am not sure.


I enjoy the show and blog.  Thanks. 

Wake Forest has allowed pass outs at half in the past.

I am in favor of the pass outs.  Maybe a compromise would be to limit re-entry only at one gate each side.  Gates have to stay open in case of emergency.  So they cannot go unmanned (without physical presence of people in control -i.e. police).

After 9/11 when pass outs were not allowed it was very miserable under the stands with so many people and lots of smokers (not allowed anymore, but they can go outside to smoke and come back in).  There were so many smokers that was awful since the university bricked the entire outside wall of the North Stands (lower level), which lead to zero air movement.  It could be unbearable for a 1 pm game (temperature in the stands or smoke under the stands).




I did not know Wake still allowed pass outs. Thanks for the info. I wonder why more stadiums don't have the policy? There has to be a reason, right?


Timely article on Tiger Net on Security.

Please place me solidly in the Keep the Tradition at halftime.

Bad people will take aim at all that is good. The Half Time Exit is not one of them.

The Half Time Exit is one more rock in the foundation of Clemson as a community as compared to being held hostage to a corporate event, like the Yankees and in fairness anywhere in MLB. They are happy to let you back in if buy another ticket; same goes for the NLF (Charlotte BofA Stadium & Orange Bowl). Seriously, this is about local dollars not security. Always has been for decades! This is one of the cool things about Clemson Football. I am in no hurry to conform to mindless political correctness...just because everyone else does it?

Usually your analysis is thoughtful and well reasoned, this article is uncharacteristically emotional and reactionary.

Exit and Reenter is not a security risk.

Massive queues prior to game time are.

Early access to the stadium is.

Vendors are a big risk.

Security is a bigger risk.

85,000 people in one place is a huge risk.

Not controlling the radio frequencies during game time is a real threat.

Parking under the North Stand. Are you kidding me!?!?

Mostly the students leave and return and some nearby tailgaters. Security is there for the entire game. Rescreening is much more thorough with smaller lines....just watch TSA at any airport. This also keeps security engaged as the process of screening is tedious, boring and when something is found generally there is an argument over interpretation (I did not know I could not bring this...) ruining the experience for everyone.

While "Life" comes before "Liberty", life without liberty is a place in history that is well documented, destitute and should never be advocated even for the illusion of safety. Thousands of us have gone through ROTC choosing to defend yes, "Liberty" home and abroad at the risk of "Life".

EVERY Totalitarian regime is bolstered with the maxim "safety before liberty".

Sacrificing a tradition that does not increase risk is reactionary. Unilateral surrender of Clemson's traditions renders Clemson's identity moot. Evil triumphs.

Clemson is a family and a community not a herd.

When evil invades our lives, let us be vigilant, not hasty to stop living. Those who seek to deprive us of our liberties succeed when we follow their desires.

Let's not, and be Clemson.

C'ya at halftime of the Georgia game outside the stadium



Thanks for the very well though out email. I learned something from your email. Just as a follow up, would you be in favor of a TSA-style search at sporting events? I don't like the tactics but I fee safer on planes. Am I wrong in thinking air travel is safer as a result of increased security? Have we given up our liberties when entering the Super Bowl when we are searched? Why are pass outs not allowed at the Super Bowl?

I agree Clemson is a family but is everyone in that stadium a part of our family ever game? Could an outsider get in our stadium?

I don't have the answers but think the specifics of this hypothetical situation bring interesting questions. I would love to sit here and tell you how liberty is more important than life without liberty but as much as I believe that, if I want to get on an airplane in this country then I am giving up something.

Some are not willing up anything. I respect that kind of commitment. In this case I am willing to give a little for the good of all.

I wonder if eliminating the pass out policy is the next step to totalitarian? Ben Franklin has been quoted several times this week but Alexander Hamilton had some interesting thoughts too. Hamilton said, “Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to the few, they will oppress the many." He had interesting thoughts on the polar opposites of totalitarian and anarchy. Hamilton said both would mark the end of our country and that a why each side has to compromise.

I enjoyed your thoughts and learned from them. Thanks.

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