Friday, February 21, 2014
Virginia Tech AD opines on midweek games
By Andrea Adelson
Virginia Tech is well known for its Thursday night football games, a tradition that picks back up in 2014 after a one-year hiatus this past season.
Now that the Hokies have a new athletic director in place, will Thursday night games remain the norm in Blacksburg? I had a chance to ask athletic director Whit Babcock to weigh in on the possibility. Babcock cautioned he has only been officially on the job for a week, so he does not quite know the logistical demands midweek games entail.
Former athletic director Jim Weaver asked the ACC not to schedule any Thursday night games this past season as a way to thank fans who cannot travel during the week. Until this past season, Virginia Tech had hosted Thursday night home games for 11 straight seasons.
"My first response is I think Thursday night games really help the brand of Virginia Tech athletics and I would be in favor of it, but I haven’t sat down with enough people on campus to also find out that, 'Hey when we do this, here are all the issues that make it really tough.' I’ve been at a lot of schools that have done it and it really works," Babcock said. "It’s an exciting thing and national exposure."
Virginia Tech actually hosts two non-Saturday games in 2014. In addition to the Thursday night contest against Miami on Oct. 23, the Hokies host in-state rival Virginia on Black Friday. It will be just the fourth non-Saturday game in the series’ history and the first since the two schools played on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1996.
"I think it works," Babcock said. "I like playing a Friday game then on a holiday week, better than I do during the rest of the season when school is in session and you have high school football. But from an exposure standpoint, a national reach standpoint I’m in favor of that on that particular holiday weekend."
One other football-related matter, Babcock said the school is in the final stages of choosing an architect and construction company to build the already approved indoor practice facility. Ground is expected to be broken by May and the facility completed by Fall 2015. He added they still have to raise some more money to help with the costs, expected to be around $25 million. That includes renovations to the Rector Field House as well as track and softball enhancements.