One of Clemson’s oldest traditions has come to an end.
According to a Clemson student, who is Clemson’s Balloon Director for Central Spirit, Clemson will no longer release balloons at Death Valley when the Tigers come down the hill prior to kickoff.
The balloon director originally posted on Facebook Friday evening Clemson’s Board of Trustees, after the school received outside pressure from PETA and other environmentalist groups, approved Clemson will no longer be releasing balloons at football games during their quarterly board meeting last week.
However, later in the evening, the student removed the sentence from their Facebook post where they said the board of trustees was responsible for approving the action.
TCI confirmed from multiple sources the decision to remove the balloons was a university decision and the BOT was updated about the situation at its quarterly board meeting.
“This has been one of Clemson’s most famous and loved traditions for over 30 years and ‘The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football’ will never be the same,” the balloon director wrote. “This has been such a big part of not only my Clemson experience, but many others as well. I am heartbroken to see it go.”
PETA has been fighting Clemson’s tradition, along with South Carolina’s, for the last several months. You can read PETA’s argument to stop the tradition here.
Clemson’s balloon tradition began on November 12, 1983 when 3,000 Clemson students arrived at Death Valley at 7 a.m., to blow up 363,729 balloons a Guinness Book of World Record at the time.
The 80,000 fans released the balloons as the team ran down the hill. On the field, Mike Eppley was outstanding with three touchdown passes, and Kevin Mack rushed for 186 yards in his final game in Death Valley.
Mack scored his final touchdown with just one shoe on, as he had lost it during his 56-yard run for a score. Clemson downed the Top 20 Maryland team and Boomer Esiason, 52-27.
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!