Virginia Tech won't host a Thursday night football game next season for the first time since 2001, and Athletic Director Jim Weaver is taking responsibility.
According to Weaver, Tech Athletics didn't request to have a Thursday night game in Lane Stadium to give traveling fans another weekend game and a break from an evening weekday game.
Last season, Tech had two weekday games — a Thursday night game against Florida State, and the season opener against Georgia Tech on Labor Day. Tech also played on Labor Day in 2010 against Boise State.
"When you have Thursday night games, or Labor Day games, it just so happens that people have to go back to work (the next day), and many times they can't and have to take a vacation day," Weaver said. “For people who have done that for a lot of years in succession, I thought it would be good for them.”
“(It was) the right thing to do, to say thank you to our fans,” Weaver said.
Although there was speculation that the request had something to do with the Hokies disappointing 2012 season, Weaver denied there was any relationship.
“It had nothing to do with last season's performance, it had everything to do with us (having evening games) 10 to 12 years in a row,” Weaver said. “It was a timely decision to thank our people.”
Despite this, the announcement has received a lot of backlash, especially from students who consistently look forward to the evening games.
Andrew Whitley, a sophomore History and Political Science major, is from southwest Virginia and has attended Tech football games since he was young with his family. Coming up for Thursday night games is a big part of that memory for him and his grandfather.
"(My grandfather) was upset, he likes to come up because there's not as many kids," Whitley said. "The environment is completely different."
Dylan Robinson, another sophomore student, was also upset about the change but admitted that it might be a hassle for certain alumni who have to travel to and from.
"I can understand," Robinson said. "But it's just one day out of the entire year."
Weaver understood students are disappointed by the announcement but insisted this decision was for the Tech fans who have to road trip to games.
"It had nothing to do with taking a Thursday night game away from students," Weaver said.
From a football standpoint, the lack of a Thursday night home game could impact recruiting, as the atmosphere of Lane Stadium has convinced many prospects to come to Blacksburg. Weaver, though, isn't worried that making the sacrifice will have an impact.
"We'll get nationally televised games because the ACC has a new contract with ESPN," Weaver said. "We are playing Thursday night in Atlanta (against Georgia Tech) and we'll get exposure from that. Where we won't get exposure is in regard to Lane Stadium, but we will get a national televised game and probably more than one."
That Thursday night game at Georgia Tech also poses a scheduling issue, as the Hokies will have short week heading into the matchup. However, that decision was out of Weaver's hands — the scheduled dates are determined by the ACC — and while that is a challenge that the Hokies havent often dealt with the past few seasons, the Yellow Jackets will be working on five days of rest as well.
"Both teams have a short week for preparation," Weaver said. "The ACC tries to match up similar preparation environment. In other words, if one team is going to have a short week, they don't want the other team to have a long week."
The new schedule is only a short-term switch, however, as students can plan on having a home Thursday night game for the 2014 season.
“This is just a one-time situation,” Weaver said.