Since the loss to Vanderbilt, a part of the frustration we've heard from fans is related to the ticket price increases at Williams-Brice Stadium. Specifically, the new seat "donations" (USC's term) or "licenses" (the most accepted term), which add a huge amount to the cost of being a fan.
Some fans, fearing another mediocre football season, have been asking the basic question: What am I paying for here?
USC athletics director Eric Hyman said he's heard that too.
"I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails, and a couple of calls," Hyman said Friday, during a media availability at the new baseball stadium. "Remember after the N.C. State game? People were so excited. The stadium looked good. The baseball stadium. The academic enrichment center. The Champions Club. All those things, everyone was real (excited).
"And then we didn’t have the success we wanted against Vanderbilt, so then what happens, the excitement draws down a little bit. So we turn around on Saturday and have success against Georgia, what do you think is gonna happen?”
I asked Hyman whether he was worried whether his plan could get derailed by more football losses.
“I’m not gonna worry about it. I think the passion and the level of loyalty at South Carolina has been well-documented," he said. "In my judgment through the years you can’t get drunk on the highs because the lows are gonna kill you. You’ve gotta take an even keel."
Then Hyman turned it back to the entirety of fundraising and the facilities plan.
“This is a process. The dollars haven’t even come in yet. None of it’s come in. So what we’re trying to do is build the in-frastructure. It’s hard to say what produce do we have, we haven’t even started yet. We haven’t even gotten the feasability study on Williams-Brice yet. We haven’t finished the baseball stadium yet. So we still have a ways to go.”
This will be interesting to watch, especially in a tough economy. Will fans still pay the extra cost if Steve Spurrier's bunch doesn't do better this season? Hyman and USC are banking - pun intended - on the answer being yes.