Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tar Heels schedule first Thursday home game

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina had never played a Thursday night football game at home because of the worry of disrupting classes and campus life.

But it has found a solution: hosting one over fall break.

UNC will face Florida State at Kenan Stadium on Oct. 22 — when classes are out, and most students are at home on vacation.

Because the arena is in the middle of campus, holding a game still causes potential challenges -- the hospital is nearby, and people will be trying to leave campus while 60,000 people are trying to get on campus for the game, for example. But athletics director Dick Baddour said the school has the support of the hospital, the students and public safety, and a plan will be put into place in the coming months to make the logistics as seamless as possible.

“I think it’s really exciting; I think it’s exciting for our campus,’’ he said in an interview with the N&O. “The advantage is, obviously, that we can showcase our football program and the university at a time when there’s no competition.”

It will also put a national spotlight on the team, since the game will be televised on ESPN.

“It’s the only game in town at that time,’’ Baddour said. “And with the improvement we’re showing, with the success in recruiting ... there have been programs across the country that have been productive from a recruiting standpoint from using Thursday night to their advantage."

The Tar Heels will actually play back-to-back Thursday night games, as they travel to Virginia Tech on Oct. 29.

“Our 2009 schedule is exciting and challenging,” coach Butch Davis said in a prepared statement. “The fans and student body have been a huge part of creating a great game day atmosphere and I’m thrilled we will play seven times at Kenan Stadium for the second straight year. I know our fans, players, and staff are excited about the opportunity to host the first Thursday night game against an outstanding Florida State team.”

-- Robbi Pickeral


Michael said...

The 'Noles will be excited about the chance to get some style points in on national TV. The only hospital intake will be all the heartbroken Tar Baby fans after an FSU blowout. Remember your last home game at Kenan? You'll be sad you couldn't keep it THAT close.

Anonymous said...

"The arena is in the middle of campus"? "Arena"? Are you kidding me? We are talking about football not basketball, right? How the heck do you have a job, when you can't even get the name of the venue right. "Arenas" are for indoor sports, smarty! Football is played outdoors in venues called "stadiums"!