Everyone seems to be talking about the athletic situation as it pertains to the return of students in response to the Coronavirus pandemic as many continue to watch it very closely, but there are numerous other factors in play dealing with Clemson’s decision to or not to welcome students back to campus this fall.
One that not many are talking about is the economic impact to the city of Clemson and the role that plays for not only the city, but for the university as well. Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce president, Susan Cohen, had some strong words about the possible negative impact if students are not allowed to return in the fall this week. These comments were given by Cohen in an article with The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Cohen this to say about the situation…
“We’re just kind of an anomaly, because we are completely a college town,” Cohen told them. “If the students don’t come back, we’re dead in the water.”
Cohen Also estimated that one football game brings approximately $2 million to $2.5 million of economic impact to the city of Clemson. As for the national picture, the NCAA has stated that they plan to leave possible start dates for athletics up to individual state officials and university presidents.
NCAA president, Mark Emmert, has had this to say about the situation on Tuesday:
“These are localized decisions. Local campuses have to decide: Are we opening up and are we bringing students back to play sports? The NCAA doesn’t mandate that, nor should it. The schools themselves have to make those choices.”
As for the start of football, that is still unclear and up in the air. The Big 12 has had a good bit to say about the situation over the last few months and the conference’s commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, told ESPN that a clear football start date isn’t available yet. He stated that…
“The Football Oversight Committee will have a role in putting a date on the calendar eventually, to say you can start some sort of return to play on this date, but that may be on three days’ notice. It may be on two weeks’ notice. It may be more than that. It’s a constantly evolving environment, and forecasting around it is a fool’s errand.”
So, it is still unclear as to when everything will get back to a functioning level but it is very clear that there is more at stake than just another possible playoff appearance, a chance at a fourth National Championship, or the possibility of the Tigers first Heisman award. The City of Clemson needs the university as much as the university needs the city and the longer this goes on the the more issues like this will most likely start to emerge.