Football games may trump Nov. 12 GOP debate in South Carolina

Paul Conner | Executive Editor

In South Carolina, football borders on a religion.

So when CBS and the National Journal partnered with the state Republican Party to schedule a GOP presidential debate on a Saturday in November, some in the Palmetto State were quick to point out the conflict.

Clemson and South Carolina both have home games on Nov. 12, with the Tigers hosting Wake Forest as they aim for the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, and the Gamecocks hosting Florida in a key Southeastern Conference East match-up.

The site of the debate, Wofford College, will also be buzzing. The Wofford Terriers are scheduled to take on Georgia Southern in a match-up of Southern Conference contenders. The athletic department moved the kickoff to 1 p.m., and fans attending the game have been instructed to work around the debate.

“Due to the GOP Presidential Debate taking place the same night inside the Benjamin Johnson Arena, fans are asked to enter the campus area using PINE STREET not Evins Street to alleviate potential traffic issues,” the athletic department wrote on its website. “All parking areas will be cleared 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game.”

Although the Clemson and South Carolina gametimes have not been determined, gamedays are usually all-day experiences, complete with tailgating and post-game get-togethers. So will anyone in the state be paying attention to first nationally televised presidential debate?

“Things not to do in SC include scheduling presidential debates during Clemson or USC home games,” Wesley Donehue, a South Carolina political strategist recently hired by Rep. Michele Bachmann, tweeted. “Or away games for that matter.”

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