For those of you who are confused, and you surely are, there is nothing NASCAR related in this article. But I do the blog, and 99.3 per cent of the time, I do write about NASCAR. Not tonight though.
This is a true story that I heard on one of my favorite radio stations tonight as I was driving home from Toccoa, Ga. The station is WCCP FM, which is the main sports talk station in Upstate South Carolina. The radio station is based in Clemson, SC, and is currently the voice of the Clemson Tigers sports teams. WCCP broadcasts Clemson football, baseball, basketball, and whatever else they can fit into their busy schedule.
Tonight, I listened to a show called the UFO Show, which features two good guys, neither of which is a professional radio broadcaster, but are entertaining in their own right. The shows hosts are brothers-in-law, and best of friends, and go by the names Tiger Jim and Carolina Tom.
To those of you familiar with college athletics in South Carolina, you have already figured out what schools these two gentlemen follow. For those of you who don't, Tiger Jim is a Clemson University Tiger fan, and his brother-in-law, Carolina Tom, is a fan of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. In the state of South Carolina, there is no rivalry as fierce as the one between these two schools. This rivalry has been going on since my parents were kids, and it seems to grow stronger every year.
Wherever you live, you probably have a college that you support, at least as a fan of their athletic teams, and it's pretty much the same all over the USA, and even all over the world. Georgia and Georgia Tech. Michigan and Ohio State. Southern Cal and Notre Dame. Texas and Oklahoma. Auburn and Alabama. You get my drift here, I'm sure. The biggest game of each year here in SC occurs when Clemson and South Carolina do battle on the field of honor each November.
As radio hosts in a major market in the state of South Carolina, Tiger Jim and Carolina Tom are members of the media, and therefore entitled to press credentials at sporting events, at least in theory, and in this state, it would seem.
Apparently Jim and Tom had no problems in acquiring press passes at Clemson University. They filled out the proper forms, submitted them, and were approved without any problems.
Carolina Tom applied for press passes at the University of South Carolina for both he and Tiger Jim, and had to provide their bona fides, such as the radio station on which they can be heard, when their show airs, and what the hosts' names are. Tom filled out the forms, and mentioned that the hosts were, indeed, Tiger Jim and Carolina Tom.
A week or so later, the hosts each received e-mails from whatever office at the U. of SC that handles such requests. Carolina Tom received approval, and even a parking space for events at Carolina sporting events. Tiger Jim was told, regretfully, that the University of South Carolina didn't have enough space for him to be included in the press corps.
Carolina Tom called whomever handles the press passes at USC to complain, and try to fix the problem. Tom was apparently told that there would not at this time, nor ever in the future, be a press pass issued to anyone who called himself "Tiger" anything. Oh, and by the way, nothing is going to change that.
Next year, Jim and Tom will maybe submit their real names, and not their radio show names to the University of South Carolina press office, and all will probably be approved.
Business will not get in the way of sentiments, I suppose, when it comes to giving the 'enemy' a seat in your house!
I wonder what would happen if Tiger Woods called the University of South Carolina and asked for a pass? Hmmm. Just wondering.
If you're ever in the Upstate South Carolina area, tune your radio to 104.9 on the FM dial and hear some great sports talk!
Oh, and by the way. Tiger Jim and Carolina Tom, you do a great job. I've listened before, and will be tuned in to listen to you again.