University of South Carolina sophomore Jay Selesky has started a petition to change the noon kickoff time for the USC/Clemson football game on Nov. 28th. The game would be USC’s sixth noon kickoff of the season. “Noon games can be fun,” he says. “You can only eat so many pancakes, though, at a tailgate. They require you to get up early.”
He says the early kickoff will also be difficult for Clemson fans who have to travel to Columbia so early. He thinks Clemson deserves a better start time since they’re the top-ranked team in the nation. And he says since so many fans on both sides have family members and friends who root for the other team, having plenty of tailgating time before the game so they can spend time together is more important at this game than most.
The petition took off quickly, gaining more than eight thousand signatures within 24 hours. “It started off on a whim, and then I started writing it and I was like, ‘Hey, maybe we can actually change something’,” he says.
Tom Regan, a sports management professor at USC, has studied the economic impact of USC’s football program on the state’s economy. He says noon kickoffs mean at least $100,000 less for the economy. “Evening games, people usually stay out later, they have more eating and drinking at the establishments downtown, Five Points, Vista, or in the other areas of the metro area, but then they also usually stay overnight. Many people who come for a noon game will stay with friends or family instead of a hotel,” he says.
USC fan Logan Slaughter agrees with Selesky in not liking the noon kickoff. “It’s not fun because we’ve had several, and it’s nice to have a night game here and there, especially for home games where you don’t have to tailgate first thing in the morning,” he says.
But the petition is unlikely to have an impact, says Charles Bloom, USC’s Senior Associate Athletics Director/External Operations. He used to work for the SEC. “The television networks, who have a contract with the league, determine those game times,” he says. They base their decisions on the game match-ups, the records of the teams, and the anticipated ratings for the games.
He says, “Very doubtful the game could be moved.” Moving one game would require moving at least one other one to take its place and make a slot for a later kickoff for USC and Clemson.