Clemson Athletic Director frowns on banner taunting USC fans - - Columbia, South Carolina

Clemson Athletic Director frowns on banner taunting USC fans

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - When some Clemson fans decided to stick it to the Gamecock nation, the Clemson backers used one of the new electronic billboards to torment their rivals. Reaction poured in from both sides since it went up.

The message to Carolina football fans is on an electronic billboard near the Jamil Temple and I-26.

For the last three days, the billboard has been flashing the score to frustrated Gamecock fans every 36 seconds.

Although the latest version has been toned down, the original message, paid for by a North Carolina family named Jackson, went up at midnight Tuesday.

The billboard said at the top "'He (Coach Spurrier) told me that they aren't going to lose to Clemson again.' -Rodney Paulk USC Linebacker."

The billboard then said "The chicken curse lives on," also listing the recent football score of Clemson 23, USC 21.

The bottom of the billboard read "Paid for by the Jackson family." The entire billboard is in Clemson colors, purple and orange.

Scott Shockley of Lamar advertising says, "I think that they are just ardent Clemson supporters that were perhaps a bit riled that they lost a recruit to USC."

The sign brought a sharp response from Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips, who called the taunt "over the line" and asked to have it removed.

Some USC fans agreed. Bruce Woodcock says, "You know it's kind of a rivalry thing but you can take certain things to the extreme."

Shockley says the company and the Jacksons decided to make a change Thursday evening. "We had several nasty e-mails yesterday. I think that the family also got some negative feedback on it. And we both concluded that it was wise to tone down the message."

But fans of both teams also sided with each other. USC fan Allen Farr says, "The new one is definitely in better taste, I would think. But the old one, I could live with it. That's what you got to live with when you lose."

Clemson fan Dale Birchmore says, "Like I said, I don't think it would be appropriate if they did that to Tommy Bowden. I'd be ticked off if I was a Carolina fan."

Friday afternoon Phillips also issued a second take on the sign. The Clemson Athletics Director is apologizing to the Jackson family, and saying he made a mistake in his handling of the issue. Phillips says in a rivalry like this one - both sides are going to take shots at one another.

This comes less than a week after a Chapin man says his dog was spray-painted orange the night after the Clemson win. Orange tiger paw prints were also painted on the man's road.

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Updated by Chantelle Janelle

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