From The State – Don Barton
In ‘ 52, game was matter of law
South Carolina and Clemson played their Big Thursday football game on Oct. 23, 1952, only because the South Carolina State Legislature had enacted a law requiring it.
Otherwise, the legendary rivalry would have been interrupted for at least a year.
The 1952 game is especially vivid in Fulton’s mind. It ws his first year on the job, and there was plenty to talk about. Tne big story was Clemson ignoring a Southern conference bowl ban and getting penalized for playing Miami in the Orange Bowl. The Tigers were prohibited from playing any other league opponent. But there was a loophole.
“They could play another conference team if the game was decreed by the state legislature,” Fulton says. “The south Carolina legislature promptly passed a law requiring the two schools to play. The game was on, and South Carolina won (6-0) on a 19-yard pass from Gramling to Wilson.”
Late last year, a constituent asked “is it law that South Carolina and Clemson play every year?”, I checked with research at the State House as well as other areas. I learned it was not law for these two teams to play; but that a law was passed in 1952 for only that particular year when the Southern Conference was threatening action that would have stopped the rivalry.
Like my constituent (and others across the state and country), I too noticed how recent conference expansions and scheduling conflicts were causing the landscape of rivalries to change as we knew it. It seems that conference alignments (and the scheduling conflicts they create) are putting generational rivalries at risk.
While I’m often a proponent of limiting government overreach, I don’t feel our state or our citizens should be at risk of losing this rivalry, the tradition of time spent with families, and the economic value it brings to both institutions.
For that reason, I filed H. 4525 and look forward to the House Higher Education Subcommittee addressing the bill this Wednesday morning and hopefully sending to the full Education Committee and House Floor in the next two weeks.
The bill simply gives both universities legislative backing if/when they face future pressure to change schedules to accomodate outside entities instead of the wishes of our state. This rivalry is currently the 2nd-longest-consecutively played game in the country and that is something all Palmetto State residents can take pride in. With continuing moves, we might very well become the longest-consecutively played game in the country, through the help from this bill.
The bill should not require much debate and will hopefully pass quickly so we can focus on other pressing issues our state faces – jobs, education, pension and tax reform.