Radakovich Q and A preview No. 2: Clemson's biggest need; student fee increase possible
A fresh Q and A with first-year Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich will run in the Post and Courier print edition Sunday (with a longer version posted at www.postandcouier.com the same day).
In the second of two sneak previews, Radakovich talks about the school's biggest facilities need and the possibility of increased student athletic fees.
What is Clemson's most pressing facilities need?
The biggest ticket item is dealing with the future of Littlejohn Coliseum, whether that goes through a renovation or we build new. We now have some data and have had conversations with members of the community, the board of trustees and our IPTAY (booster group) people to really see what might be the next best step.
And what is that?
There are only two answers. Well, I guess three: New, rebuild or do nothing. Not real sure that “do nothing” is an option.
Your resume suggests you're in the “build new” camp. Correct?
I'm not ready to say yet. There are some really, really positive things about building new. But there are questions that need to be answered. For example, what happens to Littlejohn Coliseum? It's a very valuable asset for the campus. We have to make sure that asset doesn't just sit idle.
How about converting Littlejohn into a massive, state-of-the-art indoor tailgating center with tiered fees?
Well, first of all, it might get really smoky in there because our folks really love to cook. Colleagues of mine say, “Wow, you have so much room to build things at Clemson.” In fact, we might not. If you put a building in one of our nice grass areas, that eliminates that area from one of our most important uses, which is tailgating. We have to be really smart.
At Georgia Tech, you raised student athletic fees, which was quite unpopular given rising tuition costs. Any plans to do that at Clemson?
At Georgia Tech they had gone an awful long time without an increase in student fees. We met with student leadership at the graduate and undergraduate level and had support of the administration and made our case. I met with students and did a lot of town halls and it was almost like a political campaign. Here, I think it's a little different. We're still looking at different alternatives about how to raise revenues. A fee, or finding out how students are engaged in our football program, is certainly something we need to study. But we're nowhere near the point where we would be able to make that recommendation.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff