When Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver told David Teel of the Daily Press earlier today that his request for the Hokies not to have a home Thursday night game in 2013 was to thank the fans by making it easier for some to attend, it opened the floodgates on Twitter.
Naturally, on a medium that caters to a younger crowd — and by extension, one that has grown up watching Virginia Tech play on Thursday nights in Lane Stadium each of the last 11 years — the reaction was largely negative.
Weaver said Tuesday afternoon that he had not gotten any feedback like that.
“I’ve not received any that I’ve seen yet,” he said. “If I have, it’s because I’ve been out. But it was done simply to help our fans.”
His reasoning for the request was this: the Hokies have played on Thursday night games in each of the last 11 years and on Labor Day night twice in two of the last three years. That puts a burden on Virginia Tech fans who work or have children who might have to miss school to attend.
“I just thought that we needed to have a night off for our fans, because it’s very difficult travel from the other part of the state and from the different areas that they come from,” Weaver said. “And so that was the request I made of the conference office.”
The request came from Weaver alone. He said it wasn’t based on last year alone, when the Hokies played only four Saturday home games, having hosted Georgia Tech on Labor Day night and Florida State on a Thursday night in November.
Weaver didn’t solicit input from athletic department officials or survey fans. He said he received only a handful of letters or emails from fans complaining about the number of non-Saturday games.
“I just felt we needed to give them a chance to have a season where it’s normal in terms of the fan participation,” Weaver said.
The Hokies are expected to host a Thursday night game again in 2014.
While some schools look at Thursday night games as a burden, Virginia Tech’s fans seem to be on the other side of the issue. Did he consider that some Hokies fans consider the Thursday night experience, having been so crucial to the program’s exposure over the years, to be a normal part of their participation?
“That’s another way of looking at it, no question,” Weaver said.
On some other scheduling subjects, Weaver had this to say:
– Virginia Tech has a time frame that it would work well to insert Notre Dame on the schedule when it becomes a partial ACC member, although it’s still waiting to hear from the league office for when that might be. Weaver declined to get specific with it, but looking at the Hokies’ future schedules, 2015 is the only year in the near future with three non-conference games. That would possibly give Tech matchups that year with Notre Dame either home or away and Ohio State at home.
– Weaver said a home-and-home series with Louisville had to be scrapped once the Cardinals were extended an offer to join the ACC. He’s still in discussion with one or two Big Ten teams about home-and-home matchups down the line.
– He said he’s pushing for home-and-home matchups with BCS-level foes in the future and not neutral site games, like the Hokies have played in the past (Southern Cal and Boise State in Washington, D.C.,; Alabama in Atlanta twice; East Carolina in Charlotte). “It’s just a preference,” he said.
– Weaver said Virginia Tech has only so much input on the ACC schedule. It’s up to the league office to make decisions. For instance, the Hokies have three repeat games in 2013 — at Boston College, at Miami, vs. Duke. “I think the conference office has done a good job with everything that they’ve had to deal with,” he said, noting the complications arising from adding new teams. “But I have no idea who caused or what caused the people to be on the schedule as it is this year. That would be a question for the conference office.”
– The league said in January when the matchups were announced that the repeat matchups were meant to balance the overall ACC schedule. While it did not elaborate, many assume it was to get Miami on a schedule where it didn’t have to play Virginia Tech and Florida State on the road in the same season, as it had done in 2011, ’09, ’07 and ’05.