by William Moultrie
Indianapolis — The NCAA announced today that the annual football clash between South Carolina’s two biggest schools will be moved to Athens, Georgia, in response to the ongoing conflict between the state legislature and the NAACP over the confederate flag issue.
“We felt we needed to take a significant action to bring this matter to a close,” said NCAA political director Rosslyn Goode. “We’ve moved golf tournaments, tennis matches, sailing events, table tennis… and nothing, no response at all. Other than the players themselves and their parents — most of whom don’t live or vote in South Carolina anyway — nobody has noticed.”
“Earlier this summer,” Goode continued, “we moved the ACC Baseball Tourney that had been scheduled to be played in Myrtle Beach in 2011-2013 to North Carolina and still, nobody seems to care. We decided we needed to make a statement with a sport that people actually care about, and no sporting event is bigger in this state than the Clemson/Carolina game. Also, since it’s looking unlikely either of them will be playing in a bowl game, we’re going to consider this match to be a ‘playoff game’ and subject it to our standing policy regarding postseason play in South Carolina.”
The game is still scheduled for Saturday, November 28, and will be broadcast on ESPN. Sanford Stadium on the campus of the University of Georgia was chosen for it’s similar proximity to the two schools. Georgia will be playing their own in-state rival Georgia Tech that day, so the field was available.
“I have no problem with them playing on our field,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt. “The only thing that bothers me is that I won’t be able to watch South Carolina lose here for the second time this year.”
“Mark is crazy,” said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson. “Clemson can’t beat Carolina. Hell, they can barely read the numbers on the field much less play the game… and who knows who their coach will be by late November anyway. Personally, I think it’s all a setup by the schools — they must have figured that it’s the only way either of them can win a game in the state of Georgia.”
The NCAA has been working with the coaches from Clemson and South Carolina since earlier this summer to work out the details so they are satisfactory to all parties.
“Since this was supposed to be our home game, they told us if we agreed to do this, the next two meetings will be in Columbia,” said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. “I think it’ll be fine, it’s an SEC stadium and we just played there a few weeks ago, so I think we’ll have the edge. I’m a little bit worried about our fans making it there, but at least our fans have cars — I don’t think they’re gonna let those tractors coming from Clemson even cross the border.”
“This is going to be great,” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. “We were going to have to play in Columbia and now we don’t have to, and the Gamecocks are going to have to play in a stadium where they’re used to getting spanked. Hell, they’ll probably just go out to the middle of the field and bend over out of habit. I did have to agree to have the next two games played in Columbia, but between you and me, I’m probably not going to be here next year anyway, so I’m not too worried about it.”
The news was just leaking out this morning and the students at the two campuses had mixed reactions.
Frankie Glazer, a Junior at USC, was not happy about the switch.
“This is outrageous,” declared Glazer, “this was our home game, it’s just not fair. Sure, I’ve always wanted to visit Athens, but how are we supposed to find tickets to Greece with this short of a notice? I guess the school will get some buses for us, but man, that’s gonna be a long drive.”
Bob-John Tillman, a Senior at Clemson, was more upbeat on the news.
“Well first, it’s nice that we don’t have to play in Columbia, ’cause that’ll make it a bit easier on us,” Tillman said, “but mostly I’m excited about the hedges they got there. I’ve been hearing about them hedges for years and being a hedge maintenance major, I’d love to get a chance to see one in person before I start on my masters program.”
The NAACP declined to comment for the story.
No legislators would go on record about whether or not this would impact the debate about the Confederate Flag on the Statehouse grounds, but several of them indicated that they would have strong opinions once the game was over.