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Georgia Tech Declines To Play Rescheduled BCA Bowl

Director of Athletics Dave Braine’s Comments

ATLANTA (August 30) – Georgia Tech’s football team will not be the opponent for Virginia Tech for the rescheduled BCA Bowl on Dec. 1, Georgia Tech’s director of athletics Dave Braine announced Wednesday after discussing the matter further with officials from the Black Coaches Association.

Braine said that the BCA intends to reschedule the game, which was postponed last Sunday night due to severe lighting and thunderstorms at kickoff, with Virginia Tech as the host and an alternate opponent. Contractually, he said, the Yellow Jackets are not obligated to make up the game, but offered to return to Blacksburg at the beginning of the 2001 season to replay the game.

“They still are going to try and play the game on Dec. 1,” Braine said. “So Georgia Tech is now officially out of the BCA Bowl.

“We tried to make a good-faith effort to fulfill our commitment of playing the game by offering to go back to Blacksburg next year for a pre-season game. The ACC offered to help get an exemption so the BCA could have two games next year. Virginia Tech was in favor of doing that also, but it was my understanding that ESPN was not in favor of it.”

Braine stood firm on Georgia Tech’s reasons for not making up the game at the end of this season.

“We did not play the game for money,” he said. “We end up losing money, but we’re doing what we thing is best for our kids. To bring them in a week early to prepare for this game, then ask them to practice an additional week after the Georgia game, is not fair.

“I go back to the things we’ve already said. There were three reasons to play the game, and they no longer apply.”

Head football coach George O’Leary agreed with Braine’s sentiments when asked about the game Monday.

“There were three reasons why I wanted to play the game to start with,” said O’Leary, whose team is now preparing for its home opener against Central Florida at 7 p.m. Saturday. “One was to set the barometer for our team over the off-season and the summer. Two, we have an inexperienced quarterback, and I wanted to get him in an early game. Three, I just like early season games. Now, all three of those reasons are no longer valid.”

Monday, the BCA and the Gazelle Group, which produces the game, announced that Virginia Tech and ESPN had agreed to reschedule the game for Dec. 1. Wednesday, the BCA announced that an alternate opponent will be sought after learning of Georgia Tech’s decision.

Dave Braine, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

“We’ve had our lawyers look at it, and we’re checking out some things like insurance. But unless something dramatic comes up, we’re not going to play the game. If the Georgia Tech legal counsel tells us we have to play the game, that would be the only thing that would make it happen.

“The contract says that they have the right to choose the date, either August 26 or August 27.

“We played because it was an early season game. It’s no longer an early season game. They have to have two exemptions from the NCAA. You have to get a waiver to play Friday night, and they have to have a waiver to televise it. But it doesn’t make any difference.

“The other issue is keeping the kids an extra week to practice after the Georgia game, after brought them in a week early to prepare for this game.

“Here are two scenarios to consider. One, we beat Georgia. What a way to end the year. Do you think we could really get ready to go back to Blacksburg to play? What if we get beat by Georgia and are not going to a bowl game because we’re 4-7. Do you think we could get ready to go back to Blacksburg and play? No way, either way.

“I’ve got to do what is best for us, and what is best is not to play the game. We fulfilled our obligation. We lined up to kick the game off. Then a higher power told us not to play the game.

“I’m going to lose friends on this deal, no question. But you’ve got to separate all the other things. There are a lot of folks who probably believe this is not the right thing to do, but I do believe it is the right thing to do. It would be the easy thing to do from a public relations standpoint and make our players and coaches do all these things to make the game happen.


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