Football

CMU football to open 2014 season against N.C. State; Heeke looks at Kelly/Shorts expansion for ’12 MSU game

Central Michigan has secured a contract with another Football Bowl Subdivision opponent for a future series.

As part of a three-game series scheduled to begin in 2011, North Carolina State will travel to Mount Pleasant to play CMU on Aug. 28, 2014 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The game will be CMU’s season opener.

“This is a chance for them to come to our place on a Thursday night,” said CMU Athletics Director Dave Heeke. “We’re trying to build scheduling that can bring some of those (teams) into Kelly/Shorts. It can be challenging at times with the success we’ve had and the revenue component that is required to pay those teams to come here.”

CMU and North Carolina State entered into a three-game series in January 2009 that will require the Chippewas to travel to Raleigh, N.C., for games on Oct. 8, 2011. and Sept. 14, 2013.

According to the contract, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, CMU will receive a payment of $450,000 and $300,000, respectively, for both games. N.C. State will receive $250,000 for the game in 2014.

With the recent conference changes in college football, Heeke said he has been hesitant to sign contracts with other FBS schools, but has had talks with teams from the Big Ten, ACC and Sun Belt.

According to each team’s respective website, CMU is scheduled to travel to Iowa on Sept. 22, 2012, and Purdue on Sept. 6, 2014. However, with the Big Ten’s recent additions of Nebraska, both games are subject to change as both teams will have to make changes to their non-conference schedule to accommodate the conference’s 12th team.

“With the instability of conferences, it’s been hard to get people to go too far out,” Heeke said. “The climate’s got to cool down just a little bit and we’ll do some longer-term scheduling. In this day and age, those games move so much, it’s so fluid, whether it’s a TV opportunity or an adjustment in a conference, there’s lots of things that impact changing those schedules.”

Kelly/Shorts expansion

CMU’s much-publicized series against Michigan State has created a lot of buzz, especially concerning the 2012 game in Mount Pleasant.

Given MSU’s close proximity and the rivalry between both schools, a record crowd is expected at Kelly/Shorts Stadium and Heeke has already started planning how to add extra seating.

“Our goal is to look for ways to put as many people as possible in the stadium,” Heeke said. “We have begun to explore how we would put in additional seating, and that could be a combination of temporary or permanent options. I’d like to find a way to expand.”

Heeke said that unless a fan is a season ticket holder, Chippewa Club member or a student, tickets will be hard to come by for the game. CMU is obligated to provide MSU an allotment of 5,000 tickets.

“I hope that Central Michigan fans order their tickets and we fill the stadium with maroon and gold,” Heeke said. “It’s become a rivalry and a fun day too. There will be a lot of shared colors just like last year in East Lansing.”

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