"This is not just a stadium for baseball," Yankees COO Lonn Trost said. "It's a stadium for college and university football."
To that end, Army, which announced plans earlier this week for the inaugural college football game at Yankee Stadium against Notre Dame, revealed its complete slate of four games at the new ballpark. On a modified field extending from the home and visitors' dugouts, straight out through the center of the infield and into both bullpens, Army will play four formidable opponents.
Notre Dame, despite struggles in recent years, has rebounded to produce a winning record over the past two seasons and remains one of the best recruiting schools in the country. The Air Force Academy finished 8-5 in the Mountain West Conference last season, narrowly losing the Armed Forces Bowl to Houston.
Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey that recruits heavily in the New York City metropolitan area, is three years removed from one of its best seasons in history. And BC, which snapped an eight-game bowl winning streak last December, has won 39 games in four years since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"We're beyond excited about this opportunity at Rutgers," athletic director Tim Pernetti said. "This is a really unique opportunity for us. We have a great affinity for our program -- not necessarily just in New Jersey, but in the entire area -- and we are excited that we could partner with Yankee Stadium."
Army, which has played Notre Dame 22 times at Yankee Stadium but not once since 1969, will play all four games as the designated home team. Located merely an hour north of the city, the Military Academy also recruits heavily in the metropolitan area and expects the games at Yankee Stadium to raise its profile among prospective players.
"If you're a young man thinking about the service academy, it's just part of the equation," Army head coach Rich Ellison said. "But that's a good reason to be at West Point. What an amazing opportunity for young people. I've got a couple of guys that are trying to choose between going on and playing baseball or playing football. Well, here, I can get you into Yankee Stadium -- what a hook."
Next year's game between Army and Notre Dame will be the first college football game played at the Stadium since Grambling hosted Central State on Sept. 12, 1987. Trost spoke Monday of the Stadium's capacity to host many events -- football and hockey included -- other than baseball in the future.
These first three college football games are simply a start -- one that Army and its four competitors are thrilled to experience.
"It's going to be cool," said Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, who attended Reggie Jackson's three-homer game in the 1977 World Series. "I don't know a better way to say it."