Football coach adamant Tigers will not give up a home game to play in a neutral site game
There is a reason why Clemson fans and everyone in the Clemson Community and the surrounding areas love Dabo Swinney so much. He always has their back.
In recent years, organizations that run neutral site games to open the college football season have approached Clemson on more than one occasion to move a home game in order to play a non-conference Power 5 opponent in a marque game.
Clemson has turned them down every time. Why?
Swinney and the Clemson Athletic Department do not want to take away from the city of Clemson and the surrounding areas.
“Even though a lot of times the T.V. people will say, ‘we will make sure you make more (money) than what you will make in a home game.’ Well, that is great for us, but that is terrible for our community. It is bad for Clemson,” Swinney said.
Per capita, Clemson Memorial Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in the country. On game days in the fall, more than 150,000 people travel to Clemson to tailgate and watch the games. Just 81,500 of those people actually get into the stadium.
The city of Clemson has just fewer than 14,000 residents, according to the 2010 census.
“We are in a unique situation here at Clemson,” Swinney said. “I don’t mind a neutral site game as long as it is a road game for us. But, I am not giving up a home game to do a neutral site game.”
“A lot of those people make their (money for the) year on those seven Saturdays so I have always been against that,” the Clemson head coach continued.
Swinney also said it is important to the football program and to other Clemson sports that the Tigers host as many home games as they possibly can. He said it is good for recruiting, not for just the football program, but for the rest of the athletic department and the university as a whole.
“A game day in Death Valley is special,” he said. “You can’t simulate that in one of these other places. So, I don’t mind it if somebody else wants to give up a home game on one of our road games. Then we will go. That’s great!
“I’m adamant, and believe whole heartedly, that we need to have our maximum number of games at home here every year. That is for our program, for recruiting and most of all for the community of Clemson and Greenville and Anderson and Seneca because everybody benefits from that. It is not like we are in Atlanta where they got Super Bowls and you name it coming in there.”