The Cardinals' home contest against Tulane has been moved up to Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. EDT from its originally scheduled date of Oct. 18 to accommodate an ESPN telecast of the event. Also, U of L's regular season finale at Cincinnati will be played Nov. 28 on the Friday following Thanksgiving at a time to be determined in an ESPN or ESPN2 telecast. The Cards had been slated to play the Bearcats on Nov. 29.
In addition to the two new television appearances, ESPN2 will televise U of L's opening game at Kentucky on Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. and the Cards' game at TCU will be televised by ESPN or ESPN2 on Nov. 5 or Nov. 6 at a time to be determined.
"This is great exposure for our program," said Petrino. "The quantity of times U of L has been featured on ESPN and ESPN2 in recent years has helped recruiting tremendously. We don't want to make a habit of playing home games on Fridays, but this is great visibility for our university and football in this state. We're certainly sensitive to our area high school teams, are very supportive of their efforts and contacted the high school association in advance to help them with alternatives."
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will be the site of the state football finals in 2003 and 2004 as well as a high school football tripleheader in August. With the new Field Turf artificial surface scheduled to be installed this summer, more opportunities for high school games and other events in the facility have become available.
"We're glad to work with U of L to promote football in the Commonwealth to a national audience," said Jim Watkins, athletic and activities director for Jefferson County Public Schools. "The university has worked with our schools in the past to utilize its facilities for regular season and post-season games. Historically, we have moved games from Friday nights to Thursdays for other events and some of our high schools may now have an opportunity to play in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Thursday. Our schools have always worked together with the university to help us both field the best possible athletic programs we can."
The move of the Cincinnati game should aid Cardinal fans that follow both football and men's basketball. A conflict no longer exists with the Cincinnati football game falling on the same date as U of L's men's basketball game against Iowa in the John Wooden Tradition, played Nov. 29 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
Over the last two years, ten regular season U of L football games have been televised on ESPN or ESPN2, including five each in 2001 and 2002.