Big 33 football game gets new name, date, and may soon have a much bigger venue

(Scranton) Times-Tribune (TNS)

The Big 33 game is moving to May, and has a new name. And maybe, down the road, a much bigger venue?

The Big 33 football game has a new name and date, and may soon have a new, larger venue. AP FILE PHOTO

That’s what Lackawanna Trail football coach Steve Jervis, one of two directors from District 2 on the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association, said during Tuesday’s Media Day for the Lackawanna Football Conference.

Memorial Day will be the new date for the annual game, which will now be known as the PSFCA Big 33 Classic.

“Our biggest concern moving forward is the date of the game,” Jervis said. “When is the best time for the players, for the coaches, for the fans.

“One thing we are running into more and more is the June time frame. The colleges are accepting and wanting their scholarship players there earlier all the time. Many of the best players in Pennsylvania, even though they’re selected, are not able to participate.”

Once played late in the summer, the game was in June this year, and now is advancing earlier on the calendar.

The PSFCA has spoken with Penn State coach James Franklin about the date, and about the possibility of moving the game to central Pennsylvania, after playing last year’s game at a high school facility in the suburban Harrisburg area.

“There has been a lot of discussion of when and where and how to make it work better,” Jervis said of the two or three years of discussions. “We even thought about halftime of the spring Blue-White game at Penn State might be an opportunity. Just trying to find that right venue so it is good for the players, the coaches, the association and the fans.”

Jervis was careful to point out that such a possibility isn’t going to happen overnight, although the allure of a Beaver Stadium game is intriguing.

“The PSFCA meetings are held at different times throughout the year and we have them at Penn State, and James Franklin is there for a lot of the conversation,” Jervis said. “ I still feel like there are some logistical things that need to be worked out. I’m not positive if it is PIAA stuff or the NCAA. It isn’t just as easy as setting it up and doing it.”

But playing it the day of the Blue-White game could prove to be a bonanza for the game and players.

“Maybe halftime, possibly afterward, maybe before the Blue-White game,” Jervis hypothesized. “The Big 33 game in the afternoon and then the Blue-White game at night, that would be unbelievable.

“Things like this take a long time to move. It’s not quite as simple as, let’s do this. A lot of wheels turning.”