A Message To The Pirate Nation
Sept. 6, 2012
The kickoff times for FBS games aired by a conference's television partners are set by those respective television partners. All AD's argue when a kick time does not make sense to us, but we cannot refuse to play the game at the requested time without possible legal ramifications that would impact every conference member. The only time FBS institutions have a choice is when all television partners pass up the opportunity to broadcast a particular game.
If an East Carolina game is not selected by any of Conference USA network partners, then ECU can televise the game with our local television partner, WITN. In those situations, ECU controls the game time since ECU now holds the "rights" to that particular contest.
We do everything possible to avoid early afternoon games in September and late games in November because it can get very cold when the sun goes down.
Ironically, on June 13, the C-USA office notified us that the Appalachian State game would be played at 7 p.m. per our request for a late afternoon or early evening game time. The next day, June 14, C-USA was notified that the kick time had been changed to noon. The conference office fought hard for us but its request on our behalf was overcalled at the last minute and we were stuck with a noon game.
The available bottled water and ice was doubled with trucks on site because of the anticipated heat and humidity. The First Responders and the ECU Risk Management team will dictate future game plans based on this recent experience and our game management team will follow that plan as closely as possible.
The few previous situations that have resulted in thousands of fans leaving the stadium while the game continued were due to bitterly cold weather and/or cold combined with rain or ice. Lightning or tornadoes usually create the most dangerous consequences, but the game is suspended in those circumstances and fans are asked to evacuate the stadium. Hurricanes are less of a threat to fans due to the long lead time, but can still be tricky to work around since those can change course and speed.
There was a time when games were traditionally played at 1 p.m. since only a small number of colleges had lights in their stadiums. However, our fans who have been coming to games for thirty or more years (when almost all games were played at that early afternoon time slot) could not remember a similar situation with heat and humidity combining to impact so many individuals.
I have been associated with college athletics for over fifty years (counting my playing days at Davidson) and I have never experienced conditions like those on Saturday. We will do the very best within our capabilities to keep our most precious asset - our great Pirate fans - safe.