The tradition of rushing onto the field at the end of Clemson football games is going to be a little more carefully controlled beginning Saturday to try to avoid anyone getting hurt, which happened last week.
Clemson officials reviewed the past three home games and decided some guidance was needed to keep fans safe for the celebration.
“We’re not looking to remove the ‘Gathering at the Paw’ from our football games, but uncontrolled rushing of the field can lead to potentially dangerous circumstances,” said Almeda Jacks, vice president for student affairs.
“Last weekend three students were knocked down and injured, with one suffering significant injuries. We are asking for everyone’s compliance with our policies so we can preserve this uniquely Clemson experience.”
Beginning with Saturday’s homecoming game against N.C. State, the following rules will be enforced:
Fans will have to wait 30 seconds after the end of the game to enter the field. The 30-second clock will be displayed prominently on the video boards.
Fans will be allowed to get onto the field only from access points in the West Endzone, the student section and from The Hill.
No fans will be allowed to enter the field by jumping off the retaining wall surrounding the field.
When on the field, fans should stay out of the visitor’s bench area and the pathway to the visitor’s locker room.
Parents must accompany their young children onto the field.
“We’ve heard not only from opposing teams, but from our own coaches and student-athletes, about the unfortunate consequence of fans storming the field preventing them from exchanging appreciation between competitors following the game,” Athletics Director Dan Radakovich said.
“By waiting 30 seconds, and entering the field in an orderly fashion, hopefully we can continue to promote the kind of sportsmanship for which Clemson has been historically known while also providing our fans and students a safe way to continue ‘Gathering at the Paw’.”
Additional security positioned throughout the field will be instructed to stop anyone trying to hop the retaining wall and direct fans to the entry points near the end zones, according to the university.
Ron Barnett, The Greenville News