When USF’s Homecoming football game was rescheduled for Halloween, organizers were scrambling to accommodate the change.
Some feared moving the events into the work week might result in a smaller crowd. But now, with all the events rescheduled, organizers now look forward to putting a Halloween twist on USF’s annual homecoming celebration.
“Because alumni work and have kids that would go trick-or-treating, we are going to offer a meal and a trick-or-treat evening for them,” said Debbie Lum, director of special events and tradition-keeping for the USF Alumni Association.
ESPN2 notified USF on Aug. 18 that it wanted to broadcast its homecoming game against Cincinnati on Oct. 31 instead of Nov. 1 as originally scheduled. USF athletics director Lee Roy Selmon and the football program agreed to accommodate ESPN2 by rescheduling the game.
Six of the 11 games this season will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or Fox Sports Net.
Lum said the move by USF was a great opportunity for the football program and added that the association addressed alumni concerns before finalizing plans.
Lum added that the pre-game Bulls Roast and tailgate that is organized by the Alumni Association will still take place, though it will be Oct. 31, the day of the game, instead of the previously scheduled date.
“I think that we will still get a pretty good response for doing something different,” Lum said. “People will be excited about something that they may not see again.”
In addition to moving the roast and tailgate, Dwayne Issacs, executive director of the Homecoming Steering Committee, said its schedule has changed, as well.
Issacs said the night parade, which is usually held the night before Saturday’s game, will now be held Oct. 29. He added that most of the events of homecoming week will be pushed back a day or so to better coincide with the nationally televised game.
“It’s going to be bang, bang, bang. Everything is going to happen around the same time,” Issacs said.
However, the televised game on ESPN2 does not come without some demands of the university. During the week the committee is required to place ESPN and SportsCenter’s logos on any banners that will be on display. During the Halloween-themed event, Lum said, the Athletic Association will organize a haunted house village. There will also be a costume parade for the children, which was planned by ESPN’s regional partner, Outback Junior Bulls club, and student athletics.
“We are all working together for the event,” Lum said. “The plans are more exciting than before because of Halloween. I’m feeling a different kind of energy and it’s a great time for Bulls fans.”
Issacs said he agrees that this year’s homecoming event will be unlike those in the past and will be beneficial for the committee.
“The game and events are not on the weekend this year and it will definitely be worth attending,” he said.