MLB playoffs force Gophers to reschedulefootball games

Elizabeth Dunbar

The Gophers’ homecoming football game and another home game have been rescheduled to accommodate the Twins’ schedule in the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs.

The Gophers were scheduled to play Illinois Oct. 5 and Northwestern Oct. 12. Those games have been moved to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 and Oct. 10, respectively.

The 2002 homecoming coordinators met Thursday with the athletic department to discuss changes in the homecoming activities schedule.

Megan Vandenberghe, a University Student Activities Office program co-ordinator, said they found out about the possibility of the schedule change less than a week ago.

“It was our understanding that we had the Metrodome that day,” Vandenberghe said. “But due to the University’s agreement with the Metrodome and the Twins, things like this are always a possibility.”

Associate athletics director Jeff Schemmel said the University alerted Northwestern and Illinois a month ago about the possible schedule change, but started talking earnestly about it last week.

University Athletics Director Joel Maturi said the decision came after working with officials from Northwestern, Illinois and the Big Ten Conference office.

Maturi said officials could have rescheduled the first game for Sunday, but Thursday was the only option for the Northwestern game.

“We couldn’t play on Sunday and then on Thursday because it’s not fair to the kids physically,” Maturi said.

Though the Oct. 12 game would only conflict if the Twins make it to the League Championship Series, officials agreed there would not be time for Northwestern to confirm travel arrangements.

“It was really the best of not too many good options,” Maturi said.

Schemmel said the schedule conflict was unavoidable.

“It was the result of a lease where three tenants have to use the same building,” he said.

Although the new homecoming activities schedule has not been confirmed, Schemmel said the bonfire will probably be changed to Wednesday, Oct. 9.

“Fortunately the decision was made in plenty of time,” Vandenberghe said. “Everyone in our office has been positive about the change, because from our standpoint we are still able to provide the same activities.”