Clemson University responds to Commission on Higher Education Committee action regarding university tennis facility proposal
CLEMSON — Clemson University is disappointed in the decision by the state Commission on Higher Education’s Finance and Facilities Committee to not recommend a new on-campus tennis center that would have been completely funded without the use of taxpayer funds or student tuition revenue.
The university presented a strong proposal to fund this project — which will be used by our student-athletes, the student body and the community — with $12.5 million in athletic revenue bonds. These bonds would be repaid using solely athletic revenues, which are privately generated. Clemson is the only university among the “Power 5” athletic conferences to neither charge admission to students for athletic events nor assess a student fee for athletics.
This financing plan was thoughtfully developed and thoroughly vetted by the university’s board of trustees. It would allow the facility to be built without any financial impact to the state or Clemson students and would provide important investment flexibility for the university.
As part of its comprehensive financial and capital plans, Clemson strategically balances its cash and debt financing of capital projects, with different projects requiring different approaches. For example, Clemson’s last two approved athletics projects — the Reeves Football Operations Complex and the IPTAY Center — were funded 70 percent with cash, totaling $45.5 million.
Given today’s strong investment climate the university felt the most appropriate course of action was to finance the full cost of the tennis project and invest its cash in a manner where greater returns are to be expected. Clemson’s financial strength, and the excellence of its financial management and oversight by the board of trustees, is demonstrated by Clemson’s historically high credit rating, which is among the strongest in the country.
Clemson remains committed to maintaining its standing as one of the nation’s premiere universities as evidenced by its ranking as the 23rd best public university in the country by U.S.News & World Report and among the 25 best values in public higher education by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. As part of that ongoing commitment to excellence, the university will continue to work to move this well-planned and important project forward.