Sunday Night Sports Blitz: Independence Bowl’s Erik Evenson discusses the game’s 2020 cancellation

Local Sports

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/ KMSS) – The Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl will not be played this year after the opting-out of possible Pac-12 teams created a lack of teams available to play in bowl games. The Independence Bowl’s Director of Media and Community Relations, Erik Evenson, joins the KTAL sports team in the studio to discuss how the cancellation unfolded less than a week before the game was scheduled to be played.

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports
“Erik first off, thank you for joining us on this busy afternoon. You’ve got some unfortunate news to share with us tonight…”

Erik Evenson | Director of Media and Community Relations | Independence Bowl
“Yeah unfortunately the 2020 Radiance Technology Independence Bowl will not be played this year. It was set for next Saturday Dec. 26th at 6 pm. We were really excited to have Army West Point here playing against a team, we thought from the Pac 12 conference, but as the landscape kinda shifted this last week and today, us along with a few other bowl games just really ran out of teams and unfortunately we got left out of the mix.”

John Sartori | NBC 6 Sports
“Now Erik, there were obviously a lot of Pac 12 teams opted out, the Independence Bowl has a contract with the Pac 12, was there any thought to try and get a non Pac 12 team into Shreveport and ultimately how much of that played a factor in the game being called off?”

Erik Evenson | Director of Media and Community Relations | Independence Bowl
“We were really proactive in this process. We called around, my boss Missy, I need to give her a lot of credit. It didn’t work out our way but she put so much work into it today and past week in case this came about, where we wouldn’t have a Pac 12 representative. We called multiple Conferences, talked to multiple bowls to try and find a solution so we were looking outside of the Pac 12 especially once we learned they weren’t going to have enough teams for us and the armed forces bowl which is ahead of us in the rankings. We worked all avenues and unfortunately us, the Military Bowl, the Guaranteed Rate, and the Birmingham Bowl were all cancelled today. Just kind of a numbers game with the amount of bowl eligible teams just ran out.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports
“You guys tried something unique asking Army so early in the season. Talk to me about the decision to announce that.”

Erik Evenson | Director of Media and Community Relations | Independence Bowl
“We talked to their people in the marketing department and the Athletic Department and we thought it was really cool opportunity. We thought we can be the first bowl to invite a team and they can be the first team to accept a bid. We worked really hard on that and it gave us an opportunity to do something unique. We were so excited to have them. Radiance Technology, our sponsor, was so excited to have them in this game and unfortunately it didn’t work out.”

John Sartori | NBC 6 Sports
“If I’m correct BYU is scheduled to come next year. Does this change that at all? Does Army now get to come back or are you guys not thinking that far ahead?”

Erik Evenson | Director of Media and Community Relations | Independence Bowl
“I don’t think we’ve thought that far ahead. Next year we’re slated for Conference USA vs BYU with Army coming back in 2022 to face the American Athletic Conference but that’s something I’m sure our leadership and our partners will talk about and discuss but we haven’t thought that far ahead yet.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports
“Obviously 2020 has been a unique year and I can’t imagine working in the Bowl scene at this time. So leading up to today when we had no idea, it felt like the Independence Bowl was going to happen. I’m watching Arizona State last night to see if the qualify. Did you feel this coming at all? Take us through where you were leading into today.”

Erik Evenson | Director of Media and Community Relations | Independence Bowl
“We knew there was a chance that teams could start to opt out in massive numbers but we thought if we made it to today we wouldn’t see any other teams announcing it. Most teams finished up their season a week ago and there was a few teams that played last night. You heard some announcements last night but we didn’t think we’d hear any more today. There were a couple today that really changed the landscape not in our favor.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports
“We really appreciate you coming in. We know you have a lot going on and we are going to miss the Independence Bowl. But looking forward to next year.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Loving Living Local 600x600

Don't Miss