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With potential for a football playoff game, Penn State punts fall 2024 graduation ceremonies at University Park

Beaver Stadium
Emily Reddy
Penn State is moving its Fall 2024 commencement ceremonies at University Park from a Saturday to a Sunday to avoid the potential overlap with the College Football Playoff.

Penn State’s fall graduation ceremonies at University Park are getting bumped — from a Saturday to a Sunday. The reason? Look to football. The College Football Playoff system to be exact.

The university's fall commencement ceremonies were scheduled for Dec. 21 this year. But as Vice Provost Kathy Bieschke told the Faculty Senate Tuesday, the NCAA is instituting a football playoff system that is expanding to 12 teams this year. That, she said, means there’s the potential Penn State could host a football game the same day as fall graduation ceremonies.

“We are going to shift them to Sunday for this year only," Bieschke said of the graduation ceremonies.

The fall 2024 ceremonies will take place Dec. 22.

Bieschke said the Commonwealth Campuses will not be affected. And, she said, it’s not yet known if the game at University Park will actually happen.

“In an abundance of caution, in really thinking about our students and our families, we want to advertise a date that they can count on, that hotel rooms are reasonable for in advance, that they can plan their travel," she said. "There is no possibility of holding commencement at the same time as the game. Everyone knows that would be absolutely ridiculous.”

Bieschke said as soon as the university has more details about future playoffs, the administration will come up with a plan to avoid having graduation and football on the same day.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.