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Nicholls athletic department hopes preparation proves fruitful as Saturday’s home playoff game approaches

November 25, 2017

Offensive and defensive linemen get into formation on the line of scrimmage at afternoon practice on Tuesday, September 1.

Offensive and defensive linemen get into formation on the line of scrimmage at afternoon practice on Tuesday, September 1.

Photo by: Jeffery Miller

Photo by: Jeffery Miller

Offensive and defensive linemen get into formation on the line of scrimmage at afternoon practice on Tuesday, September 1.

As soon as it was announced that the Nicholls State football team had made the FCS
playoffs and would host a home playoff game for the first time in school program history, the
Nicholls athletic department went to work. Calls were made, plans were laid out and excitement
buzzed as the department was gifted with the enviable opportunity to handle hosting an FCS
playoff game.

While hosting a playoff game may seem like a daunting task, it is not much different than
hosting a normal regular season football game, according to Nicholls State Athletic Director
Matt Roan.

“It’s not too much unlike our normal home football games, but one of the things we have
to do is obviously make sure that we’re consistent with every single thing the NCAA requires as
part of their championship host operations. We just kind of worked together,” said Roan. “Our
bid that we put together several weeks ago kind of prepared us for this moment, without that we
would have probably been scrambling much more than we did. It really just takes a lot of people
spending a lot of hours and everything’s been able to come together.”

When hosting an event of this magnitude, making sure that proper security is in place to
keep people safe and comfortable is a fundamental aspect of planning. Having the event run
smoothly is one of the top priorities of the athletic department. While wholesale changes aren’t
made to security plans, they are “magnified,” according to Roan.

“Then really [in regards to] security, whether it’s ticket takers inside the stadium or ticket
sellers, adequate security or parking attendance, when you’re expecting the type of crowd that
we’re expecting tomorrow it’s really just everything that we normally do, just magnified,”
explained Roan.

Ticket sales and parking get trickier for playoff events as they are not part of regular
season ticket packages. Increase in demand for tickets and parking spaces for media members
and fans also presents challenges for the athletic department.

“Ticket sales is always going to be complicated, simply because you have to go back out
to all your season ticket holders from the season and remind them first that this is a
championship event, this is not part of their regular season ticket inventory. In essence, we’re
selling the NCAA’s tickets as opposed to the other way around,” said Roan.

“Parking, you have to meet a lot of obligations in terms of media requests, your NCAA
host site rep, your conference offices, your visiting VIPs, all of that type of stuff. So those are
always challenges.”

In general, the opportunity to host a playoff game will benefit the team and the athletic
department. More money will be brought in that can be allocated to other University programs.
Football coaches will be able to use the game as a recruiting tool in the future. The team and
school will also receive national exposure, as the game is being broadcasted on ESPN3.

“I think there’s an opportunity to potentially help support some of our programs with the
revenue that we’re able to make through this game. But even more important than that, I think
the chance to see the excitement for the community, people coming into the community this
weekend that otherwise would not have been coming in. It’s an ESPN3 broadcast game, which
means the rest of the country will be able to tune in and see Thibodaux and see Nicholls play its
heart out. Those are all big things,” said Roan.

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