UPDATE: Reply to Clemson Student Tickets at Football Games
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Clemson Students, we hear your calls for help (even though you conveniently abandoned your original petition). But, as Clemson fans, we need to help you realize some things that will assist you, not only during the football season, but in life:
1. Voting Is Important! Think about this: the reason you no longer have your block seating is because the Student Government, THAT YOU ELECTED, voted to end it. Why? Perhaps it was because those unaffiliated with an organization didn't have a chance to get tickets? Perhaps it was because those of you in the blocks never showed up? Perhaps it was because the true, dedicated student fans were being pushed away from a chance to suit up, wear orange (not lime green with pink bowties), and make Death Valley into the atmosphere we all know and love? Whatever the reason, they made the decision...not the athletic department. Want to affect some change? Maybe you should consider running for student government OR speaking to them about solutions.
2. Actions Speak Louder than Words! There are just over 81,000 seats in Memorial Stadium. Every one of them needs to be filled, not only to cheer on our Tigers, but to honor why it's called "Memorial Stadium" in the first place. Gamedays are a celebration for Clemson fans everywhere. But, as the 'The Band That Shakes The Southland' runs out, the Pershing Rifles present the colors, the benediction calls for peace worldwide, and Coach Swinney and the Tigers run down The Hill, only a few of you with tickets are actually present. When the stadium is packed with fans that have taken a good chunk of income to obtain a seat, the student section has giant holes of unfilled seats, and it used to be worse during the block seating days. Section AA used to get to 1/2 full before kickoff. There are MANY fans that would LOVE to have these seats, even in the top corners of the stadium (not to mention prime lower deck positions), but you have "the right" to them, and you aren't using them?! In the days before, Clemson students who are now graduates, had to camp out for days and days while juggling class and work schedules to obtain one of those precious seats. Do you think those students would miss ANY part of gameday? Forgive them when they fail to hear your whining and how you had to wait on your computer to load "for an hour."
3. Know the Difference Between 'Rights' and 'Opportunities,' and Don't Confuse the Two! We understand that "there isn't a university without the students." This is exactly why you [or your parents] pay tuition or receive scholarships, and you receive one of the finest educations in the world in return. You have a 'Right' in this country to invest in yourself (...and don't forget why you have that right...e.g. "Memorial Stadium"). You have the 'Opportunity' to go to a fine school like Clemson (ie. you got accepted, you received scholarships, you or your fine parents can afford it, etc.). You also have the opportunity for free tickets to see Clemson football games, unlike any other student in the country at an FBS school, but never were you told that you would be guaranteed a free ticket. In fact, you were also given the opportunity to buy season tickets without giving to IPTAY in previous years (ie. see what the Bridge Students get the opportunity to do at $308 per year), but your student government voted it down. Seems like a bad decision on their part, considering that the seats the students receive can cost as much as a $4,600 per season donation to IPTAY plus the season ticket price. Also, the opportunity for 4 people to sit together in a section comparable to the students at that donation level is unlikely. The students have a much better opportunity for 4 people to sit together, for free, than IPTAY donors shelling out thousands of dollars. Thank the athletic department.
4. Championships Come at a Cost, and Said Costs are Not Paid by Students. Do you enjoy having one of the top ten athletic departments in the nation? Do you enjoy seeing Clemson crush opponents on the athletic fields and compete for championships? Do you enjoy taking pride in the conversations that occur between you and others that went to other institutions after your school's football team just brought home a National Championship? If so, go thank one of the 16,320 IPTAY donors - many of whom did not even attend Clemson. When former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden came to Clemson, he immediately knew that Clemson was not going to compete on the national level without a significant change of pace. The change of pace involved the ability to finance and construct world-class facilities that would bring in top talent. With the supervision of former Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips and a multitude of IPTAY staff and donors, we now have facilities that even cash cows like the University of Texas desire; and the same can now be said about almost every other sport at Clemson. Why? IPTAY donors. We are able to waive off threats of getting our head and assistant coaches hired out from under us due to better pay at other institutions. Why? IPTAY donors. We have properly solidified ourself among the top in athletics because of the 16,320 people that put funding into our program. Don't get get us wrong; the student athletes have definitely had a hand in the success, but it all started with the funding that eventually brought them here. Now, those IPTAY donors that have forked out so much get to hear the students complain about not getting free tickets to sit beside their friends. Let's think about this. With just over 80,000 seats in the stadium, the athletic department gives away over 10,500 seats to students at no charge. That's 13% of the revenue! Instead of the $4,600 donation in some of those prime seats, the athletic department gets nothing. Talk about a tithe! Now, we hear students complaining? IPTAY members that pay thousands of dollars to sit in the top deck while students sit in the lower deck for free should be the ones complaining, but they are not. No; they just keep giving more while petitions circulate about the students wanting more giving nothing. If anything else, those IPTAY members should be petitioning for those tickets, and force the non-paying students to catch the game from the Esso or their 'block' tailgate!
5. Enjoy Success and Grow Some Resiliency. You are Clemson students in a time where Clemson athletics are expected to perform among the best in the nation. Many of us were students when bowl eligibility and regionals were a dream! There are Clemson graduates around the world that would give up fortunes to go back and be a student during times like these. The students prior to you had something that you obviously need to work on; it's called resiliency. Try being a football fan in the 1990s when Clemson had to earn every point on the board for the lack of talent it was bringing in. It's like being a Gamecock fan right now! Ever wonder why there are Clemson fans still in the stands when there's a 40 point gap on the scoreboard, whether we're behind or ahead? I bet you, to those fans, the phrases "give up" or "it's over" aren't taken lightly. No; they've got resiliency. They support their team to the sweet or bitter end. They're the ones supporting not only football, but men's AND women's basketball, volleyball, baseball, tennis, soccer, etc. When's the last time you've gone to a women's basketball or volleyball game, Clemson students?! Many of you want to fight your generation's stereotype, but instead, your actions reinforce it. You're weak. You can't handle adversity. You run from it. And you whine and do nothing to fix the issue. In times before, we had students taking on multiple jobs and school so they didn't have to have student loans when they graduated; now we have students that get upset when their parents won't pay for a new car. Before, we had students spending hundreds of study hours at fast food restaurants [and maybe dumpster diving] to collect cups for a free Spring Break trip; now, we have students whose world erupts when discarded fruit matter hangs from a sign. Really? Is that what you want people to think of you? That you're so mentally weak that your lives just stop when a little adversity hits? Take a note from the names that surround the small mound across from the stadium that you [think you] hold dear, and go find some resiliency. Then, when you locate it, go do something that will affect the change you want instead of confirming to people that you're mentally weak. You'll get much more satisfaction out of life. Do something that actually gets you to your goal instead of just complaining about it; do something that will POSITIVELY affect you and others instead of taking actions that divide us. Down the road, while others are laying on a couch when they're 40 years old talking to some psychologist about how their life has no meaning, you'll be a satisfied and fulfilled member of society. You'll be an asset to your community instead of a drain.
In summary, this petition is to call for Clemson students to be different than their peers at other schools, be resourceful and resilient, and come up with solutions that bring Clemson nation together! We have enough in the world dividing us. Ask yourself: Do my actions unite everyone or create more division?
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