Clemson is laser focused on planning an on-campus experience in the fall. From an Atlantic Coast Conference scheduling standpoint, it is laser focused on a constructed schedule and calendar.
As for Clemson Athletics, and when it can possibly get its student-athletes back on campus and back to training at its facilities, it is working backwards from all those things above.
“I think, it goes back from our campus community when we know and understand when the facilities will be reopened. That is going to be a big trigger date,” Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich told The Clemson Insider. “There will be enough time to get people back here. That is not something we worry that much about. There will be a little bit of planning associated with that, but, I think, everybody feels like we will be able to do that.
“Really, it is making sure the facilities are operational and our student athletes can be in a safe environment. Those are things that we are working on, right now, within football and are other sports. The date in which we have the ability to bring people back on campus, it will not be made on a Friday and opened on a Monday. There will be sometime to get people pulled together and have them here.”
Last week, Clemson University Police Chief, Greg Mullen, told the university’s board of trustees that June 1 is the earliest they will bring students back on to campus to retrieve their items and clean out their dormitories from the spring semester.
Why is this important date? It starts the clock on when the athletic department can set a date to reopen its facilities to its student athletes.
“Those dates would work, now it is just a question on whether or not the other variables will cooperate with us to allow that to happen,” Radakovich said.
The Clemson athletic director indicated head football coach Dabo Swinney and the other coaches have been working with the ACC and the NCAA to come up with a return-to-play protocol for the fall sports season.
“That would allow for a safe movement to get to the starting point of the (fall) season, whenever that might be,” Radakovich said.
Of course, the earlier student-athletes can return safely to campus and begin training and working out, the better. It gives those who make the important decisions a better idea of when to begin football season, which will determine how long the season might be.
“The training is going to happen before you kick off the first game,” Clemson’s Deputy Athletic Director, Graham Neff, said to TCI. “So, when does and how do you equitably set a calendar so there is fairness of when there is a return to practice and gyms, etc. Then from there, you get into what the calendar looks like. So, my point is … the focus is on how do we manage practice sessions and a return-to-training calendar, first, before you get into a return-to-game situation.”
Regardless, Clemson is doing its best to get it fans set for the 2020 football.
Due to the impact from COVID-19 in the sports community, Clemson sent out an update to IPTAY and season-ticket holders last Friday. For 2020 football season ticket and parking requests, the deadline has been extended for a second time this spring, this time to May 15. As IPTAY previously communicated, the completion of the 2020 IPTAY pledge is now on June 30.
Clemson also altered its refund policy in case of a shortened season or cancellation. Should the 2020 season be cancelled, season-ticket holders can be refunded the cost of their tickets or receive a credit for the 2021 season.
If the Tigers play a shortened schedule, they will be refunded a prorated amount for the tickets to cancelled games. If the season is altered, IPTAY will reach out in a later communication with options regarding their IPTAY commitment.
“We are still here in April. We are just not there, yet,” Neff said in reference to when the football season could possibly begin or if it will be a shortened season. “Obviously, there is the recognition that everybody has, but with (different states) there are different levels of where the virus has spread and some of those are within our conference footprint. But I just don’t think it is there, yet. The league and each of the 15 schools are focused currently on the scheduled fall calendar.
“I don’t have a magic date, but there are live and very active conversations on our campus, within the ACC and within the NCAA. Certainly, they are often written about from a media standpoint. There are so many unknowns, as we get into summer, here, and the May and June timeline. Obviously, specific from a football standpoint … There is a training aspect to it. It’s not like we can just roll the footballs out in the first week of September, and the soccer balls out in late August and start playing. You have to start to work backwards, so our general thought is getting into June. We are going to know a whole lot more just from a social and welfare standpoint. Hopefully, there will be more apt decisions to be made. So, [the NCAA] is going to buy as much time as it can because this thing changes so much by the day for better or worse.”
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