Some of you have found this site through another site called Clemsondeservesbetter.com, and what you’ll be hearing about very soon is the various billboards that are going to be put up in and around Clemson. I don’t know what the boards say, so I don’t know that I approve of every message they contain or how they are worded. I do worry that they will cause the wrong impression to be made and incite anger in the fanbase against other fans. That’s certainly not the goal here.
We do, however, support the principle of getting people’s attention and enacting change within the administration and the athletic department by whatever means necessary. This has gone on long enough.
I believe that when you have problems, you look for the common denominators. Clemson has had problems with the Administration in Sikes Hall since 1985, when Max Lennon was introduced as President. Max wanted Clemson to be the Harvard of the South, and he took down the football program by himself to make it so. Tiger fans rioted but Lennon didn’t care, and that attitude has seemingly remained prevalent in the Administration since. The Board believed what he sold them, like a group of people who have their own businesses to run and not enough time to invest in, or take interest of, Clemson’s serious problems. There are people in Sikes Hall who are good people and do care, but there are many more who could not care less about our athletic programs. I worked in academia, so I know the type of people who gravitate towards it. They think they should do just enough to win 50-60% of the time, and hope for a good year or two to keep you off their backs. They grab the money you put into your athletic programs and use it to advance their own interests, even though they may say they support CU athletics fully.
The problem with Lennon was compounded with the insertion of golf coach Bobby Robinson as AD, who essentially did nothing for facilities improvements for 20 years with what money they did have. Whether Lennon made the CUAD impotent with personnel choices or it was Bobby, I don’t know. I just know that there are people in the AD who have been here all these years and we’ve done nothing with them, so they are part of the problem.
Jim Barker said after he was appointed that he was committed to winning the national championship in football, winning national titles in Olympic sports, and going to the Final Four. He also said he was committed to making Clemson a Top 20 public university. To date he has done nothing about the former, and even ordered Phillips to re-sign Bowden when Arkansas came calling. He takes money away that the CUAD makes to advance his Top 20 goal, money that would’ve paid for facilities improvements several times over by now. These goals don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and Barker tells you as much, but his actions show his priorities. If you don’t invest in programs you don’t get anything back from them. If you don’t give your athletic director money to spend on better coaching, then you end up with a department low in morale and victories. Many other schools invest in athletics, and it reaps great rewards for their academic foundations, but not at Clemson.
These statements don’t absolve the decision-makers below Barker of guilt, nor does it absolve the Board that signs off on them. They still made the decisions, and are also accountable. The athletic director is accountable for lack of vision and his decision-making, and the coach is accountable for his team’s performance.
It is these people who keep Clemson down. When your best years are a few 9 win seasons in 20 years, and you can’t even win a weak conference with arguably the best Clemson player ever, or arguably the best defensive end to put on a Clemson uniform, then the problems run deeper than just the coaching staff. We don’t deserve to be called out by a head coach for not giving 110% when we only get 60% back from this University for 20 years, and our players don’t deserve a coaching staff that gives games away with their decisions.
Clemson does deserve better, and only the fans can make things change.