|Norfolk State has reached an agreement to play Maine in a home-and-home series in 2013 and 2014.|
A day after it was reported that Norfolk State’s long-running rivalry game with Virginia State was shelved, NSU has found a game to replace it. NSU athletic director Marty Miller announced on Wednesday that the program has reached an agreement to play a home-and-home against Maine in 2013 and 2014.
“Due to the timing of the cancellation, it was extremely difficult to find another opponent to play during the Labor Day weekend, but the officials at the University of Maine worked with us to complete a home-and-home series,” Miller said. It is my desire that a date becomes available in the near future for us to continue the series with Virginia State.”
Maine will visit Norfolk on Aug. 31 of 2013 and NSU will travel to Orono, ME in August of 2014. The two teams have never met before.
Miller said she hoped fans would be welcome to the change.
“We’re very grateful to the University of Maine for working with us to complete this series,” Miller said. “We are fortunate to have another quality CAA team on our schedule, and we hope that our fans will support what should be an exciting contest to begin the 2013 season.”
The good news is that Norfolk State was able to find a team to play against on short notice. It’s also adds another FCS opponent to the schedule, which helps more than a win against a Division II school.
The downside is that the team is unlikely to see attendance numbers anywhere near to what the annual matchup against Virginia State brings in. Attendance for last season’s Labor Day Classic exceeded over 24,000.
After the Battle of The Bay against Hampton, the Labor Day Classic was probably Norfolk State’s most popular game. Now, NSU must replace that game with a home game against a non-conference, non-HBCU opponent, something that its fans are not accustomed to. All of the Spartans home games since 2007 have been against HBCUs.
Now, NSU finds itself having to sell a game against a non-HBCU with virtually no local ties on Labor Day Weekend. That will be quite a challenge. We’ll keep our eyes on this one.