CLEMSON, S.C. - Clemson Athletics announced plans today to sponsor intercollegiate softball as a substitute for the women's diving program, which competed in its final season in 2017.
"Softball is a tremendously popular sport among young women in the state of South Carolina and around the nation," Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich said. "We've evaluated our sport offerings over the past few years and believe this is our best path forward. Among other considerations, softball will allow us to provide an opportunity to compete quickly with the other 13 softball-playing schools of the Atlantic Coast Conference, for increased exposure with our television partners and allow for our continued compliance with Title IX participation ratios."
Women's diving has competed as a stand-alone program since the university discontinued its men's and women's swimming and men's diving programs following the 2011-12 season. Clemson's women’s diving program is the lone diving-only women's program in the ACC, and operates at a competitive disadvantage as championship scoring is based on combined swimming and diving points.
"Any time changes to sport offerings are made, it can be difficult for current student-athletes and coaches, as well as for our former letter winners. I want to express our gratitude to Coach Leslie Hasselbach-Adams and the young women in our program for the way they've represented our university and competed with integrity and class," Radakovich said.
Diving student-athletes can remain at Clemson with their current levels of financial aid and continue to receive academic support and other benefits provided to active student-athletes throughout the duration of their eligibility. Should they wish to continue their competitive diving careers, each of our student-athletes will be given their full and immediate release to transfer to any school of their choosing.
A timeline for the development of the softball program is being finalized with a potential first pitch in February 2020, coinciding with the linear launch of the ACC Network.
"Since I arrived at Clemson in late 2012, the most common question I've received from our fans, supporters and young women throughout the state has been, 'Are you going to add softball?' and I'm happy to now have a definitive answer," Radakovich said. "There's a lot to be done between now and the first pitch, including construction of a softball stadium and hiring coaches and support personnel, but I know there's excitement around Clemson and throughout our state for the launch of this program."