- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 4, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Fans of Clemson and South Carolina have long kept score in the rivalry between the respective schools. Now, the state Department of Agriculture and both athletic departments are making things official.

State Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich and South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner were at the Statehouse on Tuesday to announce the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series.

“This rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina for 120 years,” Weathers said. “All we’re talking about ties the past to the present and to the future.”

Each school will receive points for wins by their teams in 13 contested sports between the schools. The series starts with a women’s soccer matchup on Aug. 28 at Clemson.

Weathers said points will also be awarded for better academics and food drives to feed the hungry in South Carolina. He said the winner would get bragging rights and a Palmetto Series trophy.

“It’s going to be a great, yearlong initiative,” Weathers said.

Weathers said Clemson won a coin flip, meaning Radakovich got to speak first. Radakovich joked that the winning flip should earn Clemson a point in the series.

Tanner, the former South Carolina baseball coach also joked that his school deserved a point for sportsmanship for letting Clemson call the coin toss.

Tanner said fans on both sides have long paid attention to who won in football, basketball and baseball matchups between the schools. He said those same fans will look to Olympic sports like volleyball, soccer and golf to see who has the edge in those as well.

“We’ll have a lot of fun with this,” Tanner said. “It’s an exciting time.”

Soon after the women’s soccer teams open series play, the women’s volleyball teams and men’s soccer teams will follow. Women’s volleyball will compete against each other on Sept. 4 in the Carolina Classic at Furman. Men’s soccer will play that same day at Clemson.

South Carolina baseball coach Chad Holbrook said the rivalry between the two NCAA Division I schools can’t be intensified any more “because it’s already at a high level. But I think it will bring great notoriety to the Olympic sports.

“Being a part of this rivalry is a gift,” Holbrook added. “That’s why some of our coaches coach here and why some of our players come to play here, to be part of one of the greatest rivalries in college sports.”

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