UMass, Gillette Stadium Alter Deal For '14 To Give School One More On-Campus Game
UMass' original agreement with Gillette Stadium required its football team to "play a minimum of four of its in-season home games in Foxboro" from '14-16, but the parties "changed things for next year, and UMass will have three games on campus and three at Gillette," according to Bob McGovern of the BOSTON HERALD. UMass will play "both Boston College and Colorado at Gillette, with a third in-conference game to be determined later." Gillette Stadium Dir of Events Phil Buttafuoco and UMass AD John McCutcheon said that the change "had to do with scheduling." With some "awkward dates, both felt that an extra on-campus game would help attendance." McCutcheon added that the 3-3 split is set for '14 only, and things "could change down the line based on scheduling arrangements." McCutcheon and Buttafuoco both said that the partnership "has been a positive experience." UMass during the '12 season "averaged 10,901 fans per game." This year has "gone a little better, as the Minutemen are averaging 16,022 in two home dates." Buttafuoco said, "It’s about where we thought it would be. It’s certainly a work in progress. We’re sitting here in New England with a culture that doesn’t follow college football as closely as other parts of the country. So, that culture needs to change." UMass and Gillette are "working to improve the game-day experience in Foxboro through events and ticket deals" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/11).
MOVING ON UP: In Augusta, David Lee noted Georgia Southern Univ.'s move to FBS has been "met with a mixed response." But AD Tom Kleinlein on Wednesday said that it is "about more than just the ability to play football at a higher level." All athletic programs, "except soccer, would play in the Sun Belt Conference beginning in 2014, and the football team would be eligible for a bowl game as soon as 2015." Kleinlein said, "Our job is to get people interested in Georgia Southern University through the games we play and the competitions we have and stories we tell. Now, we're able to do that on a stage we've never been able to before." As part of the move, GSU is "expanding Paulson Stadium to add 6,300 seats and build a new football operations center." Kleinlein said that the timetable for completing the expansion "is close to being on time after experiencing a wet summer." They "remain on track for finishing in late June or July" (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 10/10).