TUSCALOOSA -- The Southeastern Conference announced the start times for its Sept. 21 slate of games late Monday, and folks at Alabama weren’t too pleased by what they heard.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide’s next home game against Southern Miss will kick off at 11 a.m. Sept. 21, irking some in Tuscaloosa with another day game in which the timing and temperatures could inhibit fan attendance figures.
Alabama president Stuart Bell and athletic director Greg Byrne issued a joint statement condemning the morning kickoff time shortly after it was announced mid-afternoon Monday.
“We are disappointed that our game against Southern Miss has been selected as a daytime kickoff at home,” the joint statement read. “We realize we’ve played more non-conference day games at home in September than any other SEC team since 2014. There have been a number of conversations with our conference office, and they also recognize the challenges these kick times present for our student-athletes and fans.”
After seemingly criticizing students and fans in general that might have left Saturday’s 62-10 blowout of New Mexico State before the end of the game, Saban took time to acknowledge the difficulties many fans endured even to attend the game, when the heat index in Tuscaloosa eclipsed 100 degrees before the 3 p.m. kickoff.
“One thing I would like to say is I know it was a difficult day for our fans because of the circumstances surrounding the weather and I’d like to thank the fans for supporting the team and a lot of people hanging in there to try to support the team,” Saban said Monday. “I think the players really appreciate it. We know it was a difficult circumstance for a lot of folks, and hopefully our administration will continue to work to try to play some of these games at a different time.”