TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The countdown is on for Florida State's 2024 season opener with Georgia Tech in Ireland, and the excitement grew a little more Tuesday as the University held a news conference with several people representing the game.
Those with the Aer Lingus College Football Classic said they'd be surprised if the number of Americans making the trip across the pond wasn't over 20,000. It's a chance to grow the Florida State brand internationally, but maybe even more important, it's a chance for these athletes to get an experience they otherwise wouldn't have.
"It is about the student athletes," said head coach Mike Norvell. "It'll be our first conference game, so there is a great sense of urgency for what that will be, but when you can do more beyond just the game that'll give these guys the experience of a lifetime, I thought it was a homerun."
"I've never been out of the country, and it's crazy because that was one of my dream goals is to go out of the country," said defensive back Azareye'h Thomas. "It's a great feeling knowing I'll be able to do that in college."
There are people on this staff who have made trips like this at the NFL level, and even though this game is still a year and a half away, head coach Mike Norvell said they do have an idea of what needs to be done to get this team to perform at their best level.
As far as travel, athletic director Michael Alford said the flight over is covered by Air Lingus. Hospitality is also in the game agreement. Alford said because of that, this trip to Ireland and a regular away game are actually very comparable.
"Then you weigh in the educational experience that we were able to provide, to me, you can't put a price tag on what we'll be able to provide our student athletes," he said. "We couldn't wait to provide that experience to our student athletes. It really doesn't have a price tag, but when it comes to the financial situation, it was a wash."
That game is August 24th, 2024 in Dublin, Ireland.