Cajuns, UL Athletic Department Call on Fans to Attend App State Game
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns could take another step towards clinching homefield advantage in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game on Tuesday night.
The Cajuns (4-1, 2-0) will take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers (4-1, 1-0) at Cajun Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast to a national audience on ESPN 2.
Although the game will be on TV, the Ragin' Cajuns organization--from the players past and present to the administration--is urging fans to attend Tuesday's game live and in person.
According to UL athletic director Dr. Bryan Maggard, a large attendance would make a statement on national television that Acadiana and South Louisiana fully support their university and their local football team.
"We have to keep in mind that we will be in 65 million households across the country," Dr. Maggard said. "When the nation sees a full house at a football game, that continues to elevate the profile of the entire university--not just the football program.
"What that does is that it just continues to create awareness. For just under four hours, we will have a free informercial, if you will, on national television that will promote not only our football program but the University of Louisiana as a whole."
Dr. Maggard says fan support is needed not just to highlight community support for the team, but also because a win against Appalachian State is critical to the Cajuns' hopes of hosting the Sun Belt Championship Game in December.
"This is a critically, critically important game for us," Dr. Maggard said. "The winner of (Tuesday's) game has a great lead in the homefield advantage for the championship game. We know App State is a formidable opponent in our league, and we really do need people to pack Cajun Field so we truly do have a homefield advantage."
Maggard says tailgating will take place as usual, with country musician Dustin Sonnier performing under the oak trees Tuesday afternoon. Tailgaters can begin setting up their gear Monday afternoon and Monday evening.
Free general admission parking will be offered at the LITE Center. The concession stands will also feature beer specials during the game. Tickets are currently on sale through the Cajundome Box Office.
Other notes Dr. Maggard discussed:
- The recent $2 million gift from IberiaBank/First Horizon Bank puts the university about $10 million away from its major donation goal for the Cajun Field renovation. Once that goal is met, the athletic department will begin selling club seats, suites, and the like to finance the remainder of the cost. Maggard says if the athletic department's estimated timeline holds, construction could begin as early as next summer.
- Discussions are ongoing to implement parts of the UL Athletics Master Plan, including building a new full-service hotel near the UL athletics complex. Dr. Maggard says the university and community leaders are continuing to look at adding other mixed-used, like bars, shops, and restaurants. facilities in the athletic complex's footprint.
- Conference realignment has slowed down after the American Athletic Conference "took a swing and missed" at adding teams from the Mountain West Conference. Dr. Maggard says the Sun Belt Conference feels confident about its positioning and the strength of the league. He did not rule out the league adding football-member schools.
You can hear Dr. Maggard's full interview on Acadiana's Morning News by clicking the icon below.