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Clemson AD says Clemson is committed to playing, details how gameday will work


by - Senior Writer -
Game day will look at little different at Clemson this season.
Game day will look at little different at Clemson this season.

Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich met with the media Friday morning to discuss a variety of topics, from student tickets to the band to pods to tailgating.

Clemson announced Thursday that Clemson Memorial Stadium’s capacity will be reduced to approximately 19,000 fans, based on six feet of social distance among outdoor seating pods. Death Valley’s regular capacity is 81,500. Fans will be seated primarily in pods of two and four affiliated guests throughout the stadium. Parking areas will open three hours prior to announced kickoff times and fans are asked to refrain from tailgating during the 2020 season. Tents and trailers are prohibited.

Here are the highlights from the call:

*Clemson is committed to playing sports this fall.

*The athletic department ended the 2020 fiscal year with a positive balance but understands there will be issues for 2021. “We are now facing a year of diminished revenue and challenges are ahead. We must remain vigilant,” Radakovich said. “We remain optimistic about our long-term viability and success but understand this year is going to be different. But I am confident we can continue to compete in all of our sports this year.”

*In regards to tailgating: A lot of conversations led to the announcement of the plan. The school wants to protect the “environment of campus. We have students who will be here once we have our first opening and we want them to be safe on campus, and we don’t want athletics to be the cause for a potential closure of campus because people are out and about.”

He said it doesn’t mean you can’t eat with the people you came with, they just don’t want large gatherings -- that that will not be able to happen in 2020. People do need to wear masks during entering and exiting (and on the concourse) but not during eating and drinking in the stands.

*On playing a full season, it's "all systems go" at this point. But the schedule allows for flexibility if games have to be moved.

*Of 58,000 season tickets sold, 5,000 accounts (23,000 tickets) are looking to sit out the 2020 season. With that number, the ticket office is now allocating tickets to those who chose to opt-in. Once those seats are confirmed, gate times and individual gates will be assigned. Gates will open two hours before kickoff. Entering the stadium will be much like last year except the utilization of mobile ticketing.

*There will be no public sale of tickets for away games, a league-wide decision. Clemson will receive 200, which will account for player families.

*He still believes in the processes the ACC has in place going forward.

*The school is taking a $40 million hit due to decreased attendance at football games this season. Number could go higher if circumstances say no fans will be allowed -- could get as high as $65 million.

*Suites and boxes in the stadium: Club areas will be the same type of capacity number (22-23 percent). Socially distanced in the club seating. Might be a slightly higher percentage in suites if families that are together during the week attend the game. But nowhere near 100 percent capacity.

*In regards to tickets: They will be given in priority that donors are used to. But at some point in time, those who have opted in will get the chance to attend all or at least half of the games. That process is ongoing right now, and IPTAY is sending out info to donors this morning. Will mirror how the school has handled high-level postseason games in recent years. All fans who opted in will have a chance to attend a game either on a season basis or half the games.

* Radakovich said that they will have "somewhere in the neighborhood of" 2,200-2,300 student tickets available under the new regulations for football this fall. They will be in a students-only South Upper Deck, while Tiger Band will be on The Hill.

"Part of the reason for not having the students on The Hill and keeping them in the South Upper Deck is the band kind of stays in place during the entire game and doesn't walk around the stadium," Radakovich said. "We didn't want to have students on The Hill because at that point in time they would be interacting with the fans in the lower deck. Given the way that the stadium is pulled together -- it looked like a great opportunity and option for us to place our students in the South Upper Deck. It will only be students there."

*There were no positive tests with student-athlete COVID-19 tests this week.

*Football will have three tests per week when the season begins. The protocols are through the ACC, looking at a Friday test so they can have results available the day of the game. The visiting team will be tested on arrival at the stadium. There will be another test 48 hours after the game and then a mid-week test followed by the Friday test.

*There have been no issues with myocarditis at Clemson. The school has been giving echocardiograms and EKG’s since June.

*The team will still load up on buses and circle the stadium and then run down The Hill.

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