SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The cleanup at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium is underway.
On Friday morning, crews started clearing snow from the stands and field ahead of South Dakota State’s FCS semifinal football game against Montana State.
The game is set to start at 3 p.m. Saturday and will air on ESPN 2.
Earlier this week, SDSU President Barry Dunn announced student tickets for the game would be free and students who stayed on campus would receive extended housing at no cost and expanded food services. SDSU students had finals this week and classes went remote because of the winter storm.
During last week’s FCS quarterfinal game, the announced attendance was 6,549.
The Jackrabbits face the Bobcats in a rematch of last year’s FCS semifinals and the winner will advance to the FCS National Championship in Frisco, Texas.
The cleanup effort began on Tuesday and will likely go on right up until both teams take the field for warmups in the afternoon. KELOLAND’s Perry Groten found out why so many people are volunteering to take part in the Dana J. Digout.
“It’s absolutely not going to be perfect, but it will be as safe as we can possibly make it,” SDSU Senior Associate AD Jeff Holm said.
Holm has been driving a Bobcat for the past four days so the football field won’t resemble a hockey rink by game time.
“And then we’ll use a groomer, a broom to go on as well to break up the ice. We do have a natural de-icer that we use in certain spots but it’s not going to work on everything,” Holm said.
SDSU student-athletes and staffers have grabbed shovels furnished by the school to scoop-out the bleachers. Many of them are volunteering to get the job done.
“At the end of the day, our job is to serve student-athletes, so we have a home game this weekend and it’s the logical thing to do to help prepare the field,” SDSU Assistant AD for Development Ryan Christy said.
The school brings in shifts of about 30 shovelers at a time. It can be a little frustrating because the strong winds blow the snow back into the stands.
“With the wind, it can be a little deflating when you’re trying to shovel-out spots and it comes right back in. But it’s something you gotta try and do, and do the best you can,” Christy said.
Jackrabbit Pride, tackling the harsh elements so football fans can enjoy the big game, in spite of the weather.
“It’s part of what makes South Dakota State University a great university, people come together,” Holm said.
Stay with KELOLAND News for more coverage of Saturday’s game online and on-air.