Q&A with Ole Miss
A.D. Pete Boone
n Rebels’ leader considers neutral-site games for future football schedules.
By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Longtime Ole Miss football fans can remember the days of playing games in Jackson and Memphis.
Hitting the road for a “home” game is something that hasn’t happened since 1996, when the Rebels played in both cities.
The campus facility, Vaught-Hemingway, had some issues back then. However, expansion projects completed in 1998 and 2002 added luxury seating and increased the stadium’s capacity to 60,580, making it the largest in Mississippi.
But the days of traveling for home games may return. Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone said he has received neutral-site offers and will always listen.
Nothing yet has approached a signed deal -and it’s unlikely Jackson will see a return of SEC football.
Following is an excerpt of a question-and-answer session with Boone that will appear in Sunday’s Daily Journal.
PA: Are the days of playing a “home” football game off campus gone?
PB: No, as a matter of fact, they’re probably coming back. We’ve been contacted, and we’re not the only ones. Probably everybody’s been contacted about neutral sites É go to Atlanta, go to Orlando, go to Jacksonville, to New Orleans. Let’s get Ole Miss and Notre Dame (for example) together.
You can possibly net out much more than if you played at home.
But É we have an obligation to our fans that have bought suites and club suites and those kinds of things. We were promising them six home games. We want to have seven home games, and we’ve been able to do that since the 12-game schedule.
You also have community responsibility for tourism and taxes.
It would have to be so lucrative that you just had to do it once every five or 10 years. I haven’t seen any numbers yet that have been that good.
The other thing you can do with that is a lot of times you might not be able to get another team to come here and play, even if you want to go back and play there, but they’ll do it on a neutral site one time.
Notre Dame might be one of those. We haven’t had any discussions with them, I’m just using them as an example. You might get national exposure. If you do that, you better have a good team.
PA: Do you anticipate playing a game in Jackson again?
PB: No. That makes no sense. There would not be one reason off-hand that I could think to do it. Our stadium’s about the size of theirs. This is where people have suites. It’s not a neutral site for another team. That stadium is not in good repair. I can’t off-hand think of even one reason to do that.