Sched­ule shifted to in­clude USF

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - SPORTS - By Jim Fuller jfuller@nhreg­is­ter.com @NHRJimFuller on Twit­ter

What prob­a­bly turned out to be a year’s worth of phone con­ver­sa­tions in a span of a week, re­sulted in the UConn foot­ball team’s pre­vi­ously post­poned game against South Florida be­ing resched­uled to Novem­ber 4.

Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence foes Cincin­nati, East Carolina and Hous­ton had to agree to changes in their sched­ules, while UMass called off its game with USF in or­der to al­low the shift in game dates to be fi­nal­ized.

“It was very im­por­tant to us to try to get the game resched­uled for a lot of dif­fer­ent rea­sons, for our fans, for our stu­dent-ath­letes and cer­tainly the op­por­tu­nity to play a full sched­ule, which is very im­por­tant to our pro­gram right now,” UConn Di­rec­tor of Ath­letic David Bene­dict said in a con­fer­ence call. “Coach (Randy) Ed­sall, he is try­ing to build a pro­gram here and to have one less game and one less op­por­tu­nity to work with your kids would have been dif­fi­cult to man­age.”

Bene­dict said he pro­vided a fig­ure of $650,000 to the AAC con­cern­ing the po­ten­tial loss of rev­enue if UConn was un­able to make up the home date.

The Huskies, who play their road opener against Vir­ginia on Satur­day were sup­posed to be off next week. How­ever, East Carolina has agreed to play at UConn on Sept. 24. Orig­i­nally that game was sched­uled to be on Nov. 4, but that week needed to be cleared so UConn and USF could play their game.

USF will host Cincin­nati on Oct. 14, re­plac­ing a pre­vi­ously sched­uled game against Mas­sachusetts, and will host Hous­ton on Oct. 28, re­plac­ing the orig­i­nal game against Cincin­nati. East Carolina will now face Hous­ton on Nov. 4. UMass re­placed the USF game with one against FIU.

“I never lost hope, I never lost op­ti­mism through­out the process, but there were a lot of dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios that they went through to try to make this hap­pen,” Bene­dict said. “I can’t tell you if this was the fifth, sixth or sev­enth sce­nario, but they worked it. I hand it to the con­fer­ence, they could have shelved it. They could have said, ‘look we tried a lot of dif­fer­ent ways and it didn’t work.’ To go to the ex­tent that they have, it re­ally says a lot.”

New York City FC’s MLS game with the Hous­ton Dy­namos was moved to Rentschler Field on Sept.

23 due to Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. As a re­sult, the UConn foot­ball game is now on Sun­day, which will make for a short week for the Huskies, who have a game at South­ern Methodist on Sept. 30.

Bene­dict said he doesn’t an­tic­i­pate the soc­cer match im­pact­ing the qual­ity of the field, but there will be a quick turn­around to get the lo­gos painted on the field in time for the East Carolina game.

The USF/UConn game was orig­i­nally sched­uled for last week, but was called off be­cause of travel con­cerns for the vis­it­ing USF team due to the ex­pected im­pact Hur­ri­cane Irma was go­ing to have on the Tampa area. Since the Bulls and Huskies did not have the same bye week, the AAC needed to make mul­ti­ple ad­just­ments to get the game played.

The AAC an­nounced it is work­ing to resched­ule the Mem­phis/UCF game, which was also un­able to be played over the week­end.

De­tails on re­funds should be an­nounced by UConn in the next week for fans that had bought tick­ets for last week’s game, but don’t wish to come to ei­ther the East Carolina or South Florida home games.

AP PHOTO — JES­SICA HILL/FILE

Randy Ed­sall and the Huskies have had their game with USF resched­uled.

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