Thirteenth game a complicated addition to schedule
By Matthew Spiers
February 28, 2002

Virginia Tech has finalized plans to add a 13th game to its 2002 football schedule. The Hokies will open the season in the Hispanic College Fund Football Classic, playing the Arkansas State Indians on Sunday, August 25 at Lane Stadium.

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hokiepages.com This game has been rumored for the past few weeks, but the situation became more complicated on Jan. 12 when the NCAA Management Council amended its policy regarding the Maximum Number of Contests and Once-in-Four-Years Exemption rules for preseason games. The Once-in-Four-Years policy, passed in 1996, states that no team can participate in more than one preseason game every four years. However, exceptions have been routinely granted in the past. For example, when Florida State takes the field in the Eddie Robinson Classic next season, it will be playing in its third preseason game in five years. Penn State played in preseason games in 1996, 1999 and 2000, and the University of Virginia was recently granted a 13th game in 2002 after playing Wisconsin in a preseason game last season.

The new action taken by the Management Council on January 12 states that no more exceptions are to be granted.

With the Hokies already slated to play in the 2004 Black Coaches Association game against East Carolina, the school petitioned the NCAA to also play in 2002. The petition set forth two main arguments. First, Tech said that it wanted to play in the '02 game to make up for the fact that the 2000 BCA game against Georgia Tech was called off because of a lightning storm. Tech lost $600,000 in guaranteed revenue and incurred $160,000 in game expenses as a result of the cancellation. Second, Tech said that the majority of its negotiations for the 2002 game took place before the Once-in-Four-Years policy was amended.

The NCAA denied the request, reiterating that the Hokies could play in one game or the other. Tech's administration has decided to take the game in '02 and pursue an exception to the policy prior to the start of the '04 season.

The preseason game will be part of the season ticket package, which will now run $252 for the eight home games. The ticket order forms will be mailed out in mid-March.

The day of the game is also the day before classes start for the fall semester. Parking information and game time will be forthcoming.