After going through each conference in Division I football and seeing current stadiums remaining in place, I thought this would be a quiet year with no new stadium openings. My last conference to check through was the SWAC, a place where I did not expect anything new as the conference has the lowest average athletic budget. Many SWAC schools bring in very little revenue and it is a conference notorious for old, crumbling sports facilities. So, I was quite surprised to find that Alabama State will be opening a new stadium on Thanksgiving Day. ASU Stadium looks beautiful and will be on-campus, which was not the case with current home Cramton Bowl. I’d really like to see Cramdon continue to host football as that old stadium underwent some nice renovations. Haven’t found any news articles on the Bowl’s future, but hopefully it remains a fixture with High School Football in Montgomery. Best of luck to the Hornets as they enjoy their own stadium.
As for the rest of college football, not too many changes, just some renovations. As UMass completes it’s move to FBS, they will play two seasons in Gillette Stadium, while their on-campus football home is upgraded. It’s quite a drive from Amherst (hour and a half), so I’ll be interested to see the turnout. It’s also ridiculous they’re moving to the MAC, but that whole conference thing is a joke for another day. Washington will also be renovating as the Huskies play in Seattle’s NFL home as opposed to Husky Stadium this season. The last note comes from Tennessee State, where the Tigers return to Hale Stadium for three games. The other games will continue to be at LP Field. Tennessee State last played at The Hole in 1998 and the place got refurbished enough to meet standards for Tiger football to return, which is great to see. No notes from the NFL, but we’re a year or two away from a couple new stadiums opening in Minnesota (boo, I love the Metrodome) and California (yea, Candlestick is ready to go).