For the first time since Rome began hosting the game at Barron Stadium, the contest has been moved from its traditional Saturday slot.
This year’s game will be held on Thursday, Dec. 13.
Bob Berry, the chairman of the NAIA host committee, confirmed the move during a phone interview with the RN-T on Wednesday night.
Berry said the change was created as a result of a scheduling conflict involved with the television contract between the NAIA and CBS. (The game is televised on CBS Sports Network).
Berry said he is excited about the new schedule, and believes moving the game to Thursday could generate a new level of excitement among the fans in Rome.
“As successful as it (the championship game) has been, we haven’t had the local attendance that we’ve needed or wanted,” said Berry, “and maybe this will change that.
“It will be different — and we were looking for different,” he said.
Berry said one of the biggest upsides about the change is that this year’s game won’t be “in direct competition with the (high school) state playoffs.”
Berry said that the possibility of moving the game first surfaced when the NAIA asked him about changing the starting time of the game from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in order to accommodate CBS’ programming schedule.
Berry, however, said the host committee was not interested in changing the game-time to late Saturday night, which prompted discussions about other possiblitlies and eventually led to the decision to move the game to Thursday night.
Kickoff for the game is set for 6:30 p.m., Berry said.
Many of the “Championship Week” festivities will now simply be moved up by two days.
The annual FCA luncheon at The Forum will be at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and the NAIA Banquet of Champions will be on Wednesday, Dec. 12.