More than 1,000 Albany State football fans, alumni and supporters have signed an online petition asking that the date of the football team’s homecoming game be changed to an October date, instead of the September date where it is presently scheduled.
“There are several reasons why we want this change, but one of the most important reasons is financial,” said Monica Franklin-Redden who started the online petition. “There are many families and supporters who cannot financially afford to go to Miami for the Orange Blossom Classic and then turn around and come down for homecoming in the same month,” she said. “We have many supporters such as educators who get paid only once a month and two trips like that would really affect finances of many households.”
Under the schedule released by the university last week, homecoming is scheduled September 26th with a game against Clark Atlanta University, three weeks after the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami. The petition is asking that to be changed to the Savannah State game which is scheduled for the final home game of the year on October 24th.
“Homecoming is traditionally in October,” Franklin-Redden said. “The answer I get from the university is that it is about revenue, but that just doesn’t make sense.”
She said a university vice president told her because Savannah State was a big rival more fans would come to the game anyway and by putting the Clark Atlanta game as homecoming, that would be a big draw as well.
Franklin-Redden said she understood that idea, but the financial burdens would be too much and it will affect homecoming. She believes the city itself would be affected because homecoming is such a profitable weekend for Albany businesses.
“Albany State has a large financial impact on Albany businesses, especially during homecoming weekend,” she said. “It’s not just about the university, the entire city gets involved, so these decisions will impact more than just those at the university.”
The petition also points out that the October homecoming date is a part of the ASU tradition and not keeping that tradition alive would be damaging to the culture of the university.
The closing paragraph of the petition reads:
“Traditions and heritage are the backbone of our esteemed university’s culture. While this may be viewed as a logistics issue by some, to others it is taken as an attack on our unsinkable culture. Please recognize and honor the value of this culture and restore Homecoming to its rightful place in October.”
“It has been more than 10 years since we have had homecoming in September and there is a reason for that,” she said. “Many of our supporters are older and the first responders just couldn’t keep up with the people when it was still so hot in September. In October the games will be at least 10 degrees cooler.”
Albany State football coach Gabe Giardina said he was familiar with the petition, but has no input in decision-making when it comes to deciding which game will be set as homecoming.
“I know our administration and the alumni association work tirelessly to make sure these kinds of decisions are made to benefit the most people,” said Giardina, “But I don’t know why one game was selected over the other for homecoming. I think with homecoming it will be a big deal no matter when it is.”
Frankin-Redden doesn’t disagree with that notion, but thinks holding homecoming later would be more beneficial for more people.
Read the entire petition here: http://chng.it/xXHLmvtw.