Home football games, depending on where you went to college, are a huge part of your collegiate experience. They’re usually on Saturdays, with the occasional weeknight game sprinkled in here and there, so you typically don’t have to worry much about classes getting in the way.
But what if your team’s home game was played in the middle of a school day, on say a Thursday morning? Well, that’s exactly when Missouri State football’s home opener against Lincoln Blue kicked off. Due to the threat of Tropical Storm Gordon, the game was pushed from 7 p.m. ET kickoff Thursday evening to noon earlier that day. The crowd, as expected, was pretty light ...
Home opener for Missouri State football today as the Bears host the Blue Tigers of Lincoln College. I respect anyone who was able to shift schedule and make it to this Thursday 11:00 kickoff. Tough decision for the Bears due to impending weather pic.twitter.com/Zns89yVPaG— Matt Vereen (@MattVereen) September 6, 2018
... but kudos to the Bear fans who did show up!
Unsurprisingly, the attendance numbers were pretty low:
Today's attendance: 1,284— Wyatt Wheeler (@WyattWheeler_NL) September 6, 2018
The game not being on TV also had a potential impact on the game — a fumble called on Missouri State’s second possession was returned for a Lincoln touchdown. According to Wyatt Wheeler of the Springfield News-Leader, photos proved that the play was not actually a fumble. This could have easily been overturned, but there was no instant replay, thanks to no TV broadcast being able to provide video.
Here’s what the NCAA rulebook says regarding instant replay with respect to TV broadcasts:
Any member institution may use instant replay, but there is no requirement to do so. If instant replay is used, it must be used in full compliance with this rule.
b. For any nonconference game, if the home team is using instant replay, the visiting team does not have the option of declining its use for that game. If the home team is not using instant replay, it is not required to honor a request by the visiting team that it be used.
All reviews shall be based upon video evidence provided by and coming directly from the televised production of the game or from other video means available to the replay official that is also available to the television producer
Luckily for the Bears, the touchdown wasn’t very consequential — Missouri State won the game big, 52-24.
It was a pretty unique scene on-campus in Springfield, Missouri. Students could be seen walking to class normally while a live football game was being played right in the middle of the day:
Students walk to class while the Missouri State football team walks into the stadium. pic.twitter.com/hpEfh7hU3t— Wyatt Wheeler (@WyattWheeler_NL) September 6, 2018
Due to classes still being held, the Bears’ band wasn’t even at the game, and the PA crew had to get creative to still make it feel like a home atmosphere:
Missouri State with a fumble return for a TD. Now up 28-10 over Lincoln in the 2nd Qtr. Recorded fight song going over the loudspeaker. The band is in class. Game was moved up from 6pm tonight due to expected bad weather.— 610 Sports Radio (@610SportsKC) September 6, 2018
Unfortunately for the students, they both had to go to class, and a pregame tailgate originally scheduled for Thursday evening before the game was also cancelled. Obviously Missouri State isn’t worried about attendance when a decision about fan and player safety is at hand, but as a former college student, I feel for the Missouri State college kids.