Some big changes are coming to Clemson’s Death Valley, starting with this season

Big changes are coming to Clemson’s Memorial Stadium, including a major one that will be in effect throughout the 2019 season and beyond.

A year after Clemson experimented with metal detectors at select gates at its football stadium, the school has opted to use them at all of Death Valley’s entrances moving forward, beginning with its 2019 season opener against Georgia Tech on Aug. 29.

Tigers Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich told The State that the move was made for safety reasons.

“When you look at going to a Major League Baseball game, an NBA game, an NFL game, you’re going through a metal detector. It’s just where we are as a society,” Radakovich said. “And we want to make sure to give our fans the best experience and the safest experience that we can.”

With the addition of metal detectors at all gates, there will no longer be parking available on the Avenue of Champions behind the visiting team’s side of the stadium.

That area will now be used as an entrance, and fans will pass through metal detectors before getting on the sidewalk and walking up to their gate. The decision to remove parking was made to cut back on congestion.

“We’ll still have a pathway there for the bus to get through from the locker room over to the rock, and in certain times prior to the start of the game it will be a pedestrian walk, just as it was previously,” Radakovich said.

“We have smart fans, and I think that they’re going to find the best way and the most expedient way to get into the stadium. All that being said, leaving your tailgate five minutes early would be helpful as well.”

There are other changes to Memorial Stadium likely coming in the next few years, including a new video board and sound system, Radakovich said.

Clemson has been putting together a feasibility study for the past eight or nine months to present to the Board of Trustees and hopes to present plans for renovations to Death Valley in October.

“I think what we’re probably going to look at is really concentrating some time and effort inside Memorial Stadium. A new scoreboard and sound system, they’re about 10 years old and that’s maybe their useful life. Have that, maybe some additional premium areas that could be built, some infrastructure under the stadium to make it a better fan experience,” Radakovich said. “The scoreboard will be bigger, the sound system will sound better.”

One change that isn’t coming to Memorial Stadium any time soon is the sale of alcohol.

The SEC announced earlier this summer that its programs can start selling alcohol in their stadiums, and there is no rule preventing Clemson from selling alcohol. Still, the Tigers have had no discussions about changing their policy, Radakovich said.

The University of South Carolina announced Tuesday that it is going to keep its policy of not selling alcohol in general seating areas of football games for the 2019 season.