The ESPN contract requires the SEC to serve up two Thursday night games per season. The problem is that the volunteers aren’t exactly lining up in a hurry to serve anymore.
Aside from the usual hassles with traffic and parking and the fact that the road team gets paid nothing for the inconvenience, this really does seem to be one situation where the student-athlete is adversely affected and the coaches don’t appreciate the inconvenience.
“It’s very tough to play a road game on a Saturday, then turn around the next Wednesday and leave (for a Thursday night game),” Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said. “When we played a Thursday night game at South Carolina a couple of years ago, we didn’t get back to Oxford until four in the morning. Our players had to be in class just a few hours later.”
Spurrier’s got a good point about opening the season on a Thursday night, and I suppose it can work equally well for a game played over a holiday like Thanksgiving, but this may be a case to watch where resistance isn’t necessarily futile. ESPN may wind up with two games involving SEC teams which will take national exposure on any day of the week they can get it. Must-see TV, indeed.
[By the way, don’t miss this unrelated quote from Mark Richt: “… Our campus chief of police likes when our games are decided midway through the fourth quarter and people start to leave early.” Go Dawgs! At least, just go.]