Weaver not optimistic about preseason game
By Jimmy Robertson
February 23, 2001

Tech AD Jim Weaver has been working the phones quite a bit lately, fielding calls concerning preseason football games. But he sounded less than optimistic about the Hokies' chances of landing into one of those games.

"No, I'm not very optimistic at this point," he said.

About a month ago, around the time of the Super Bowl, Weaver and head coach Frank Beamer met to discuss the possibilities after Weaver received a call from officials with the Kickoff Classic. Those officials inquired as to Tech's interest in playing in the game on Aug. , but both Weaver and Beamer agreed not to play in that particular game.

The main worry of both men concerned the length of the season. Tech plays Miami on Dec. 1 in a game that will be televised by ABC. The Hokies haven't played a game in December since 1950. But according to the BIG EAST's new television deal with ABC and because CBS now has the SEC championship game instead of ABC, two BIG EAST teams will play on ABC on "Championship Saturday." Thus, the season becomes longer for two BIG EAST teams - Tech and Miami for this season.

"We've already extended the season on the back end," Weaver said. "To play in an Aug. 25th preseason game would mean that we would be extending the season on the front end. In essence, we would be extending the season two weeks and both Coach Beamer and I agree that we should not do that. It's not fair to our student-athletes."

So the issue of a preseason game seemed to be dead. But Rick Giles from the BCA Bowl called a couple of weeks ago with an interesting proposal. He asked Weaver if the Hokies would agree to play Stanford at Lane Stadium on Aug. 30 - a Thursday night game televised by ESPN just two days before Tech's scheduled opener with UConn on Sept. 1.

Both Weaver and Beamer agreed contingent on Weaver and UConn AD Lew Perkins finding a date to move the Tech-UConn game. The two schools actually had two mutual open dates, so Weaver and Perkins worked out the details and everything seemed to be set for the Tech-Stanford match-up in the BCA Bowl.

But a week later, Stanford decided not to play in the game. Giles and BCA Bowl officials have approached a couple of other schools about coming to Blacksburg, but today, things remain up in the air.

"Coach Beamer and I have agreed that the only way we're going to do this is if we play at Lane Stadium that Thursday night," Weaver said. "We would only be extending the season a day.

"And Thursday night games have been good to us. We both feel it's been good exposure for Virginia Tech football. This would also give our fans a chance to have the Labor Day weekend free. We just feel it's a good situation for us."

It also is good for Tech financially. Each school stands to get a $650,000 guarantee for playing the game. Currently, BCA Bowl officials continue to look for an opponent to play the Hokies at Lane Stadium on Aug. 30. However, time is running out.

"If something could be worked out in the near future, then we would in all likelihood do it," Weaver said. "But we've got season ticket plans to mail out soon. We've got to put this thing to bed one way or the other in the very near future."