It’s hard to believe college football is all about money. Somewhere along the line, the sanctity of the sport was dropped for a chance at a few extra bucks. I’m just happy it’s an amateur sport because I couldn’t sleep at night knowing these kids received a salary.
Back in mid 20th century, the Clemson Tigers had a longstanding rivalry with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The annual matchup took place in Atlanta. Georgia Tech wanted to end the rivalry in 1977 because Clemson audaciously asked for the series to be home and home in the future (this was before the ACC days).
Georgia Tech had the upper hand back then because they were a bigger and better program. Clemson couldn’t afford to lose the lucrative matchup. That’s when IPTAY Executive Secretary George Bennett stepped in to remind Georgia Tech that playing the Tigers every year pays off.
What is Clemson’s $2 Bill Tradition?
Bennett needed a way to distinguish Clemson’s impact on the local economy. He thought of the most unique currency he could: the $2 bill. He asked Clemson fans who were making the trip to Atlanta to pay with $2 bills to show how much money Tiger nation brought in.
“We want to make a big impact on Atlanta this weekend,” Bennett said. “I would like to ask that every Clemson fan take as many two dollar bills as possible and use these rare bills for every expenditure.”
The exact figure of $2 bills spent that weekend is unclear, but it went to prove Bennett’s point. Also, Clemson walked away with a 31-14 win. In a twist of irony, Clemson would end up getting its home-and-home wishes granted when Georgia Tech joined the ACC in 1983.
Bennett’s idea has become tradition whenever the Tigers travel for a big road matchup or bowl game. These days, Clemson’s economic impact can be directly tracked thanks to fans stamping orange tiger paws on the bills. Banks around campus make sure to stock up on Jeffersons before fans head out of town.
No matter if the Clemson football team is playing in Miami, Florida, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Chapel Hill, North Carolina or Tampa, the city’s bars and restaurants will see a massive influx of $2 bills.