Starting next fall, SVSU will no longer host Saturday night football games.
All but one home game for the Cardinals will begin at 3 p.m. The lone exception is Michigan Tech due to travel time.
“We played some three o-clock games last year, and we liked them,” said Head Football Coach Jim Collins. “This way, our student athletes don’t have to sit around all day. Now they can get some good rest, go through our normal pregame routine and go play some football.”
The change comes as an effort from Athletics and Student Affairs to get more students to attend football games, fight the cold weather, and promote a better family experience for all parties.
“I don’t think this change will affect our outstanding attendance,” SVSU Athletic Director Mike Watson said. “I have spent more than 20 years in this conference, and I am proud to say that our student body at SVSU is better than any other institution I have seen or been a part of. Our fans are the best in the country, and they prove it every year.”
Last year, Saginaw Valley ranked 18th in Division II football for student attendance. It has ranked in the top 20 consistently.
“This is something we experimented with last year,” Watson added. “We truly think it is something that we thought would benefit our student athletes, and we won’t have to compete with highly anticipated games on TV.”
They also want to promote a better gameday experience for the student athletes, fans and families. In addition to no longer competing with primetime games on television, starting the games earlier in the day will let student athletes enjoy time with their families after the game.
“I think this will have a very positive effect on the players,” Watson said. “Having the game in the afternoon gives these student athletes the ability to spend some quality time with their families after the game. Plus, we don’t have to worry about the temperatures dropping drastically at night when the games will end around seven.”
Also, families with children who typically attend the games no longer have to worry about games going late into the night.
“On a personal or family front, I am beyond excited for the changes,” Director of Media and Community Relations JJ Boehm said. “I have young kids that can’t stay out until 10 p.m. My 4-year-old son loves our mascot Coop, and the rest of the family loves the game atmosphere. Now they’ll get the chance to enjoy that more often.”
With the changes, typical student events in the fall will not be drastically affected.
Collins said he would miss the night game atmosphere, but he feels there are many benefits to a 3 p.m. kickoff.
“I think there is an unique atmosphere with night football games that I will miss experiencing,” Collins said. “However, these afternoon games are a perfect time for students to go and support the team … I think this change will be one that will get students to come out and show that amazing support in an even greater magnitude.”
SVSU’s first home football game is against Walsh on Saturday, Sept. 9.