Gamecocks, Tigers collide in annual Palmetto Series

tigandchickenThe rivalry between South Carolina and Clemson has always been intense. Whether it’s on the football field, basketball floor, baseball diamond or even a game of tiddlywinks, fans and student-athletes from both institutions have an enormous sense of pride when their respective school defeats the in-state rival.

On Tuesday at the South Carolina Statehouse, the two universities announced a year-long competition with the launch of the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

“We’ve been keeping score for a long time,” said South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “Not only will people understand what happens on November 28 (date of South Carolina/Clemson football game), but now you’re going to keep score with what happens on August 28.”

August 28 marks the date of the first event in the series when the South Carolina women’s soccer team travels to Clemson to play the Tigers.

“We certainly highlight our football, our baseball and our basketball games,” said Clemson Athletics Director Dan Radakovich. “But there is a lot of great competition with some of our Olympic sports as well. So each of one of those sports, when we play each other, they will count for a point. At the end of the year, we’ll tally all of that together, and we’ll have another great celebration for the winning program.”

“It’s important to recognize that the passion exists in a soccer game between those two schools just as it does in a football game between the two schools,” said Eric Nichols, South Carolina’s Associate Athletics Director/Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s like that for every sport. We’re all at the threshold for passion in every one of the sports.”

The respective broadcast and sponsorship rights holders for each school, IMG and Learfield, helped do a lot of the leg-work to put it all together. A trophy will be awarded to the winning school each year.

Fans from either school have been known to puff out their chests or hold their heads a little higher after particular head-to-head meetings between the Gamecocks and the Tigers. That’s not likely to stop, but now the true bragging rights for a Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series champion will be based upon the following criteria each academic year:

Every sport in which both schools field a team can receive a maximum of one point for its success against the other.
Points will be distributed for baseball, football, men and women’s basketball, men and women’s soccer, men and women’s tennis, men and women’s golf, women’s cross country, women’s diving and volleyball. The only mutually offered sport excluded in the series scoring is track and field.
At the end of the year, those points are tallied up to determine a winner.

There are a few other details for certain sports that allow the two teams to play multiple times per year:

If a sport does not have a head-to-head matchup in a particular year, then a point will not be given for that sport. (For example: If the golf teams of the two schools do not play in the same tournament at any time, no point will be given.)
Due to the possibility of golf playing multiple tournaments together with varying lineups, one tournament will be designated for the purposes of scoring in the Palmetto Series.
If the sport plays once during the regular season and then they meet again in the post-season and split those two matchups, then each school receives one-half of a point. (This was the case for women’s soccer last year with Clemson winning the regular season meeting and South Carolina defeating the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament)
For baseball, the school that wins the regular season series would receive one point. (That scoring could be reversed if post-season meetings tilt the series in favor of the other school.)

There is also a community service portion of the series in which the winner of a food drive between the two schools to feed the hungry will receive one point, and the school whose student-athletes register the highest cumulative grade point average for the fall and spring semester will also receive one point. For the academics portion, Clemson’s Office of Institutional Research and the Registrar’s Office at South Carolina will be calculating the GPAs.

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