The Raiders are not ceding ground when it comes to granting UNLV’s football team access to Allegiant Stadium the first two Saturdays in September.
UNLV has games scheduled against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 5 and Arizona State on Sept. 12. Unless the sides resolve the issue, those games probably will be played at Sam Boyd Stadium instead of Allegiant.
The Rebels open their season Aug. 29 at Allegiant against California, and that game is not in dispute.
“Right now, we’re saving that availability for Raider games,” team president Marc Badain said Thursday of those two September dates. “We may need it for concerts and other events.
“That’s why it was part of the negotiation, and that’s why it was specified in the (stadium usage) agreement. That’s why it was part of the negotiation with UNLV leadership and Raider leadership and the Stadium Authority board. Gov. (Steve) Sisolak was part of it, and it took place over months and months. There were hundreds of items negotiated.”
UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said the university was “continuing to explore every option.”
“Even if we are unable to play these two games at Allegiant Stadium, we look forward to continuing a positive and productive working relationship with the Raiders,” she said in a statement to the Review-Journal. “We cannot wait to start playing football in the world’s finest stadium.”
Sisolak, who was chairman of the Clark County commission during the stadium negotiations, appears as if he won’t be involved in any talks between the Raiders and UNLV.
“The governor is confident that both sides will work it out in consideration of any previous agreements the two sides came to and in the best interests of all involved,” his spokesman, Ryan McInerney, said in an email.
Spokespersons for Arizona State and Louisiana Tech said they had no comment.
UNLV’s Mountain West games are not affected and will be played at Allegiant. The Mountain West has not released its schedule for next season, but the Rebels know they will host Colorado State, Fresno State, UNR and Wyoming.
UNLV last season played its 49th and what was believed to be final season at Sam Boyd Stadium. The program honored the stadium’s history throughout the season and invited former players for the home finale Nov. 23 against San Jose State. More than 200 attended, including former star quarterback Randall Cunningham.
Should UNLV and the Raiders find themselves at an impasse, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority could be forced to make a decision.
The UNLV Joint Use Agreement signed by the Raiders and Nevada Board of Regents on March 27, 2018, allows the Rebels to play two nonconference games in the new stadium after the first year, with this year’s game against Cal specifically identified.
Any other game would have to be cleared by the Raiders through a set of priorities in the agreement. Ultimately, the Stadium Authority must vote to sign off on UNLV’s scheduled use of the stadium. If there are any disputes, the authority would resolve them.
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