NEW BRITAIN - The two schools are separated by less than 35 miles, but the last time Central Connecticut State and UConn met on the football field was 1995.
That’s about to change soon.
The two schools reached a two-game agreement revealed Friday on FBS Schedules.
UConn will host CCSU at Rentschler Field on Sept. 3, 2022 and again three seasons later on Aug. 30, 2025. The Huskies will pay the Blue Devils guarantees of $275,000 for both games. The 2022 date was the first open slot CCSU had available, while 2025 was one that worked well for UConn.
“It’s something that we’ve been interested in and wanting to do since Day 1 when I got here,” CCSU director of athletics Brian Barrio told The Herald. “I was in contact with [UConn AD] David [Benedict] since I started in the early fall and he’s been great. I think it’s a win-win for our student-athletes, their families and our fans. Traditionally, our FBS games have involved a lot of travel and been a plane ride away.”
The Blues Devils played at Syracuse in 2017 and at Ball State last season, and are set to play at Eastern Michigan in 2019 and at Toledo in 2020. The game for 2021 has not been announced yet before CCSU travels to East Hartford to face the Huskies, who lead the overall series 3-0. UConn won 54-9 in 1995, when it was still a member of the FCS (then I-AA), and in 1986 and 1989.
“I think [the UConn game] is a great fit for us,” Barrio said. “I’m a big believer in having a logical schedule. That’s tremendously important and it’s important for me to schedule all of our sports locally and logically. There’s a few reasons why this is an effective partnership for us. One, it’s the travel distance for our fans. Two, is the missed class time. With it being an hour away, we know our student-athletes aren’t going to miss that much time and work in the classroom and have to make that up. And three, there’s a local interest that should get our fans excited.”
While Barrio hasn’t gotten much of a chance to gauge the public response to the schedule additions, he said internally, he’s heard plenty of positive feedback from coaches, athletes and other administrators.
Barrio also said CCSU would be interested in extending its partnership with UConn past those two dates.
“From my end, I certainly feel like we’ve left the door,” Barrio said. “Stay tuned and hopefully we’ll have some big things go on with not only football, but our other sports as well.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com