USC, Clemson rivalry bill shut down

A subcommittee met Wednesday to discuss the advancement of a bill that requires USC and Clemson to play annually.

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH, AP) â?? A panel of lawmakers has rejected a bill that would create a state law requiring South Carolina and Clemson play football every year.

The House Higher Education Subcommittee voted down the bill Wednesday. Members say the government has no business scheduling football games.

Rep. Lester Branham (D - Florence), was against the bill.

"Some of the concerns expressed is that these matters should be handled by the administration and trustees of the institutions, and we're getting into things in which there is no end as you do this kind of thing,â?? said Branham.

He also said the university has contacted him saying if they believed the rivalry game was truly being threatened at any point they would let him know.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Nathan Ballentine (R - Irmo), was not surprised by the committeeâ??s decision.

He says he wanted to make sure Clemson and South Carolina played every year, even if college football conferences undergo more realignment. Texas A&M's recent move to the Southeastern Conference ended its long rivalry with Texas.

"The universities feel that they are not in jeopardy of losing this rivalry, but I stand ready. If for some reason I feel and others feel that if the conferences start to lean on them later on, I want to be there to help to protect our state,â?? said Ballentine.

Athletic officials at both Clemson and South Carolina also opposed the bill, saying lawmakers should stay out of their scheduling.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)