The University of Maryland has released initial plans ahead of its primetime home football game against Penn State on Sept. 27.
An email sent out to the campus community on Monday informed faculty, staff and students on plans for classes and parking ahead of the Friday night matchup.
The Big Ten is contractually obligated to hold a few Friday night football games each season; members of the conference take turns fulfilling this obligation. This year Maryland was selected by the conference to host a Friday night game. Thus, on September 27, 2019, the University of Maryland will host Penn State for a Friday Night Football game at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. We expect to welcome more than 50,000 fans and guests to campus. The game start time has been scheduled as late as possible --- 8pm. But even with this advantage, we expect the influx of visitors to campus on a week night to significantly impact traffic and parking on and around the campus.
We are working with partners throughout the surrounding area to make special arrangements to provide additional parking, and we are hoping that the 8pm start will help minimize the effect on Friday evening traffic patterns, but we believe that more accommodation is needed. In order to ensure that visitors, students, faculty and staff are not inordinately inconvenienced by the inevitable traffic issues, the university will grant administrative leave to all non-essential employees beginning at 12 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Along with non-essential employees, students with non-lab classes starting at or after noon on Sept. 27 will be given the afternoon and evening off in order to clear out campus as much as possible.
The athletics department also created a webpage dedicated to preparing fans for this event, which lists parking lots opening at 3 p.m. as well as gates opening at 6:30 p.m. ahead of the 8 p.m. kickoff.
Friday night games are a rather new tactic from the Big Ten in order to get primetime attention for its schools, but it has come with plenty of backlash.
Coaches and communities are concerned with not only the logistics of such games, but the impact it has on high school football in the surrounding areas. Holding such games takes attention away from local schools, as well as limits the ability for coaches to recruit and scout players on such evenings.
Maryland was scheduled to host Northwestern at home on a Friday night in October 2017, but those plans were scrapped as the teams pushed back against it. Then-head coach DJ Durkin argued that Friday nights should be reserved for high school programs.
“I think there’s some specific examples of particular weekends where it makes sense and works, but overall, I don’t think it’s a great idea. Especially in our area, those Friday nights are for high school football, and that’s what it’s all about. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the programs, coaches, players in our area, and that’s their night. That’s what they do.
Like I said, we feel very strongly about those guys, so we don’t wanna impede on that. There’s particular holiday weekends and this and that where Friday games obviously make sense, but overall, I don’t think it’s something that we should just be going to frequently.”
This matchup will be Maryland’s first-ever Big Ten Friday night game and the second season in a row that Penn State has taken part, both coming on the road.
In other news
Durkin, who was fired last October, has resurfaced once again, this time helping out the Atlanta Falcons in a guest capacity during training camp.
Maryland women’s basketball announced its nonconference schedule for the 2019-20 season, which includes matchups against Clemson, NC State and South Carolina.
Lila broke down the new threads for Maryland men’s basketball this upcoming season.
It is also Linebackers Week, and Thomas took a look at how Maryland stacks up at the position heading into fall practice.
Both Bruno Fernando and Steve Blake visited Maryland basketball yesterday.