One website, SB Nation, said it “might be the most WSU thing in the history of WSU things”: The Cougars have cancelled Thursday-afternoon classes in advance of ESPN’s showing of the Arizona State-Washington State football game at 7:30 p.m. And Thursday-morning classes are optional at the behest of instructors.
I caught up with WSU president Elson Floyd earlier this week, and he had a ready explanation. If you thought it was some sort of nod to adding to a party atmosphere for the night’s activities, you’d be wrong.
“We have shared parking lots,” Floyd said. “What I have to do is vacate the parking lots (normally) for faculty and staff, for fans and other athletic supporters to use them. If we had other dedicated parking spaces, it would not be an issue.
“This is purely a parking issue.”
Unlike most stadiums, WSU’s is virtually in the heart of campus. So parking lots like the one adjoining the Fine Arts Building just south of Martin Stadium are usually used for faculty, staff and students, but on game days, they double as lots for spectators.
Floyd said he made the announcement last spring, when the TV date was announced, to allow professors time to account for the missing date.
Meanwhile, it will be worth watching to see how WSU fans respond to the occasion. Athletic director Bill Moos said earlier this week some 6,500 tickets remained for the game, but no doubt some season-ticket holders will pass on attending. If you have to get up early Friday morning to work, it’s a short night when a game finishes at 11 p.m. and you face a drive home to Spokane or the Tri-Cities.