Students will not be able to bring their parents and siblings to a University of Richmond home football game this coming Family Weekend because of conflicts between the university's and the football conference's schedules.
Officials at the university's Office of Parent Programs schedule Family Weekend two to three years in advance, wrote Lisa Van Riper, assistant vice president for communications, in an e-mail. They try to schedule it on the same weekend as a home football game, she said, but that is not always possible.
"The conference and the [Athletics Department] work together to create the football schedule several years in advance," she said. "We are provided the opportunity to request home games on certain dates for events such as Family Weekend, but it is not always possible for the conference to accommodate all requests from every conference member."
The Office of Student Development has conducted research showing that Family Weekend should take place within the first six weeks of first semester, Van Riper said. These weeks are the best for making sure freshmen are comfortable at the university and decide to stay, she said.
"It is always helpful to have parents come and check in during the first six weeks," she said, "because being away from home and adjusting to a university setting can be a hard thing to do for first-year students."
Officials also had to be mindful of major religious holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, which took place Sept. 19-20, and Yom Kippur, which was on Monday, when they scheduled Family Weekend.
"We want to be sure to respect the diverse backgrounds on campus," Van Riper said.
University officials have inevitably received complaints about the lack of a home football game, Van Riper said.
"Everyone wants a home football game on Family Weekend," she said.
The lack of a football game this Family Weekend did not have much of an effect on football season ticket sales, said Kevin Dwan, director of ticket operations and sales. The university sold roughly 3,000 season tickets this year, a 1,000-ticket increase from last year, Dwan said.
"We'd like to have [a home football game] every year," he said about Family Weekend, "but I don't think it keeps people from buying a season ticket necessarily."
Senior Katie Yusko was disappointed about the absence of a football game.
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"My parents love Richmond," she said. "They're upset they can't go to the game and the tailgate."
Yusko said she would also be seeing her parents over fall break.
"We have [Family] Weekend, midterms and fall break," she said. "It's too many things too close together."
Van Riper stressed that freshmen were the administration's main concern with Family Weekend.
"Our biggest priority ... is our first-year students and making sure they get to spend time with their families," she said. "This is the most important thing that can happen during Family Weekend, whether at a football game or not, because it helps our first-year students adjust to life on campus and helps them feel less homesick."
As of now, a home football game against Northeastern University is scheduled for next year's Family Weekend, which will take place Sept. 24-26, 2010.
Contact staff writer Guv Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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