Lawmakers unanimously shoot down legislating Clemson-USC rivalry

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Well, that didn’t take long.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a South Carolina legislator had presented a proposal that would ensure the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry continues regardless of conference expansion.  A day later, that attempt at legislation went down to a resounding defeat.

According to The State newspaper, the proposal put forth by Republican state representative Nathan Ballentine was voted down 7-0 by a House subcommittee.  The decision seemed to align with that of USC’s stance on the issue: athletic schedules need to be decided by athletic directors and coaches.

“These matters should be handled by the universities and trustees,” subcommittee chairman Lester Branham told the paper.

Because Clemson’s conference, the ACC, has decided to go to a nine-game conference schedule when Pittsburgh and Syracuse join no later than 2014, there is some concern that out-of-conference games like Clemson-South Carolina could follow Texas-Texas A&M and Pittsburgh-West Virginia on the path to extinction.  The Palmetto State showdown is the second-longest consecutively played game at the Div. 1-A (FBS) level and, while both schools “cannot conceive of a realistic scenario that would prohibit… continuing our football series,” Ballentine said he’ll be ready to see that it continues.

“I still think there’s the possibility in the future that the game could be in jeopardy,” Ballentine said. “If that happens, I stand ready to help if the situation changes.”