By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – University of Mississippi head football coach Houston Nutt has acquiesced to the Oxford community’s dismay and rescheduled the “Grove Bowl,” the Ole Miss spring intrasquad football game that’s part of Red-and-Blue Weekend.
The game will be April 17.
It had been set for April 24 to coincide with a weekend SEC archrival baseball series, giving fans a double dose of sports.
However, that was also the date for the Double-Decker Festival, a day-long celebration of arts and music often attracts more than 30,000 visitors to downtown Oxford.
By itself, Double-Decker usually sells out the city’s hotel rooms and crowds its restaurants.
“Our original decision to end spring practice on April 24 was well thought out, and the schedule fit our practice needs,” Nutt said. “It would have also coincided with the LSU baseball series.
“However, we are team players and are pleased to switch our dates to best accommodate the City of Oxford.”
Unfortunately for baseball fans in the Grove Bowl crowd, the Ole Miss baseball team will be visiting the University of South Carolina for a three-game series on April 16-18.
Tourism officials say doubling up on the Grove Bowl and Double-Decker would have meant some visitors wouldn’t have been able to get accommodations, and the city’s hotels, restaurants and stores would have lost out on the chance to serve them.
“From the standpoint of organization, we rely on a lot of city services for these events,” said Oxford Tourism Director Mary-Kathryn Millner. “It would have been taxing on the community to have the Grove Bowl and Double-Decker on the same weekend.”
Millner noted that Ole Miss Commencement is another major event for Oxford’s hospitality industry, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to town.
“From a tourism standpoint, (rescheduling the Grove Bowl) is going to give us three big weekends in the spring,” she said.
Contact Errol Castens at 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.