Stadium board set for opener



YSU athletic director Ron Strollo is a man of his word.
Strollo said Stambaugh Stadium's new scoreboard would be up and operating by Thursday's season opener and it will be.
Sure enough, the old scoreboard was removed last week and the new one was to be installed today.
Through a new contract with Coca-Cola, a Mitsubishi Diamondvision Scoreboard and Videoboard will be installed at the north end of Beede Field.
The new video portion of the scoreboard won't be ready for the opener, but everything else will be. The new, state of the art video board will be ready for the third home game, against Liberty, Sept. 25.
Department gearing up
While the coaching staff is handling the X's and O's, the athletic department is preparing for the business side of the football season. Fans driving to the corner of Fifth Ave. and Spring St. will find a few changes.
Some changes have occurred around campus with the building of the Andrews Recreation and Wellness Center. The only two tailgate lots will be the M-24 and M-26 lots, located on the west side of Fifth Ave. M-24 is sold-out for the season, but M-26 has a few individual game spots remaining.
Individual game parking will be available in both decks on campus as well as selected surface lots. YSU's parking services is also teaming with WRTA to provide a game day shuttle service from the Wick Avenue parking deck and M-26 tailgate lot to the front corner of Stambaugh Stadium beginning 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
With a new alcohol policy, YSU will provide refrigerated 12-packs and single-serve 24 oz. cans for sale in both lots.
"We encourage fans to bring their coolers filled with ice," said Rick Love, associate athletic director. "We will provide the alcohol in a central location in each lot for normal store pricing. We hope having the cold product available for our fans will provide them a convenience and service to enjoy their traditional tailgating."
Tailgating for the opener will begin at noon. For the remaining five games, all lots will open six hours prior to kickoff.
Strollo has put together a very competitive schedule.
"We are excited about the caliber of competition on this year's schedule," said Strollo. Six of the games will be at home, including one with Southern Illinois, ranked No. 1 in the preseason I-AA poll, on Oct. 9.
Northern Iowa is coming off a playoff appearance in 2003 and will serve as the Homecoming opponent Oct. 16. Other home dates include Florida International, coached by former Browns and Dolphins quarterback Don Strock (Sept. 11), Liberty (Sept. 25) and Senior Day against Indiana State (Oct. 30).
The road schedule is one of the toughest in I-AA, as the Penguins will battle three playoff teams from a year ago, all ranked in the preseason top 15 -- McNeese State (Sept. 18), Western Kentucky (Oct. 2) and Western Illinois (Nov. 6).
Season tickets still on sale
Season tickets are still available through Thursday's game.
"Our stadium is one of the premier facilities in the nation and this year's home schedule features some of the top teams in the nation," said Love.
"We have two fireworks shows planned (opening night and October 9th), courtesy of Phantom Fireworks, live bands in the tailgate lots and many other game day promotions that fans will enjoy each and every game."
Single-game and group tickets are on sale, while the ticket office is also accepting reservations for game day hospitality tents from companies, groups and organizations.
With game week also comes some traditional events. The Penguin Club media/fan luncheon will start Tuesday and take place each week throughout the season in the DeBartolo Stadium Club, located at the loge level in Stambaugh Stadium. Lunch begins at noon and is open to the public. Coach Jon Heacock will preview each opponent.
Tuesday night also marks the first Penguin Playbook radio show of the year. It will originate live from the Avalon Gardens beginning at 8 p.m. on WNIO-AM (1390).
XPete Mollica covers YSU athletics for The Vindicator. Write to him at mollica@vindy.com.

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