UofL football opener changed to avoid conflict with Downs

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- As Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra had indicated would probably happen, UofL's season-opening football game against N.C. State in Cardinal Stadium has been moved up one day to avoid a conflict with races at Churchill Downs during ultra-busy Kentucky Derby week.


Assuming there is a football season and it will start on time, the Cards will host the Wolfpack on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The game had originally been scheduled for Thursday, the same day as the "Thurby" racing program at the nearby Downs.


Louisville’s opener will also now not coincide with UK’s opener against Eastern Michigan, which was recently moved to Sept. 3.


UofL offensive coordinator Dwayne Ledford said Monday that moving the game isn't an issue with the football team.


"I don't think it's that big of a deal," Ledford said. "Moving it up a day, completely understand with everything going on. Derby week last year when we first got here, everything surrounding it, definitely understand why they're doing it. But as far as preparation or planning, that one day isn't going to be a big deal at all."


The ACC, NCAA and NC State all had to sign off on the change.


“We appreciate the NCAA, ACC, and N.C. State honoring our request for a date change for the opening game,” Tyra said in a statement. “We are trying to be thoughtful about the shared city resources needed to host a football game and Thurby at the same time.”


“They’re a great supporter and we continue to work well together," Tyra added in reference to Churchill Downs. "No financial inducement needed.”


Even if the Cards are able to play NC State on schedule, some of their other games could be affected by Covid-19. UofL's second contest is at Clemson on Sept. 12 and that school announced Friday it has had 23 football players test positive since returning to campus.


Boston College, whose players haven't reported to campus yet, is scheduled to host UofL on Oct. 10 and the Cards are to travel to Virginia, which won't report until July 5, on Nov. 4.


Louisville officials haven't commented on test results, and declined to answer a question about any possible confirmed case of the virus, saying only that the players' return and resumption of activities have gone smoothly so far.

Russ Brown, a former sportswriter for The Courier-Journal and USA Today, covers University of Louisville sports and college football and basketball for Kentucky Today. He can be contacted at 0926.russ.brown@gmail.com.

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