By Tom Schott
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Here we go. Get ready for a weekend full of Purdue sports.
For starters, the eighth-ranked volleyball team begins its season by playing host to the Mortar Board Premier, beginning with a 10 o'clock game this morning against UCF. The Boilermakers subsequently take on No. 14 San Diego at 7:30 tonight and LSU at 7 tomorrow night.
For the schedule of games not involving Purdue and additional details about the tournament, click here.
Soccer (1-1) is home at 7 tonight against Ball State (2-0) and at 1 p.m. Sunday against SIU Edwardsville (1-0). Both the Cardinals and Cougars reached the championship game of their conference tournaments last year.
Football opens its season tomorrow against Western Michigan at Ross-Ade Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon. On Wednesday, the athletics department announced that all Purdue students were being offered a free ticket to the game, courtesy of second-year head coach Darrell Hazell, athletics director Morgan Burke and university president Mitch Daniels. Some 4,181 students had taken advantage of the offer as of the close of business yesterday, and the offer is available up until kickoff.
Finally, the cross country squads run their first races of the season tomorrow at the Belmont Opener in Nashville, Tenn.
Football Sendoff Event, Block Party Call-Out
From 5:15 to 6 p.m. today, a spirited football team sendoff event will take place on the Sally & Bob Weist Plaza between Mackey Arena and Holloway Gymnasium. There will be popcorn, music and interactive games, and Miracles Rehabilitation will provide rally towels for the Boilermaker players and coaches to give out to fans in attendance. The team will be on hand from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Any Purdue student who attends this event and is part of the Ross-Ade Brigade or signs up to join Friday will have the opportunity to form a fan tunnel on the field for Saturday's game against Western Michigan.
Also today, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Block Party, the volleyball team's boisterous student fan group, will hold its annual call-out for members beginning on the Weist Plaza. All interested students are welcome to come sign up for $10 and receive free pizza and an official Block Party T-shirt before the Boilermakers take on San Diego.
Attention Fans Traveling to Purdue from the North
Due to a bridge being replaced on U.S. 231 where it intersects U.S. 52 (expected completion is Oct. 15, 2014), fans traveling to Purdue from the north via Interstate 65 should utilize State Road 25 at exit 175. Take a right on State Road 25, towards Lafayette, for approximately one mile. Turn right on U.S. 52. Stay on U.S. 52 for approximately two miles to Yeager Road (fourth stoplight). Turn left on Yeager Road. Follow ensuing roundabout (approximately 0.25 miles) to Northwestern Avenue and proceed to campus.
Volleyball, Soccer on TV and the Web
The volleyball team will appear live on the BTN five times this season (Sept. 20 vs. Notre Dame, Oct. 17 vs. Penn State, Oct. 25 at Illinois, Oct. 29 vs. Wisconsin and Nov. 5 at Nebraska) and will have 16 games webcast via BTN Plus on BTN2Go.
Soccer's home game against Ohio State on Sept. 14 will be televised live by BTN, and the Boilermakers will have 13 games webcast via BTN Plus on BTN2Go.
To learn more about BTN Plus on BTN2Go, as well as the live audio availability of Purdue sports, click here.
`118 Years of Backyard Brawls'
The Purdue History Department is hosting a lecture by former Notre Dame football player Michael Oriard on Sept. 11 about the football rivalry between the Boilermakers and the Fighting Irish. Entitled "118 Years of Backyard Brawls," the lecture will take place in Rawls Hall, Room 1086, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Oriard is professor emeritus of English at Oregon State and has written extensively on sports culture. He played professional football for the Kansas City Chiefs under coach Hank Stram. You can read more about Oriard here.
Purdue and Notre Dame square off for the 86th time, dating to 1896, on Sept. 13 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
New NCAA Initiative Celebrates, Benefits Former Student-Athletes
The NCAA has launched a new initiative celebrating and benefiting former NCAA student-athletes. NCAA After the Game has been created to serve as the go-to place for former student-athletes of all ages so they can reconnect with their alma maters, the NCAA and one another. It also provides an opportunity to highlight their extraordinary post-collegiate accomplishments through text and video features on a national platform. Furthermore, the website features a career center that promotes connections between former NCAA student-athletes and employers who want to hire them.
Christine Steinmetz has been hired as a sports dietitian to work alongside Lauren Link ... John Purdue Club members now can use their smartphones to purchase once-in-a-lifetime experiences at every home football game ... The athletics department announced that for the 2015 football season Band Day will be Sept. 12 vs. Indiana State, Family Day will be Sept. 19 vs. Virginia Tech and Homecoming/Varsity P Club Weekend will be Nov. 7 vs. Illinois ... Here is an interesting read on Purdue's first president, Richard Owen ... Have a nice Labor Day weekend.