LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Call it optimism, but in an effort to avoid what could be large crowds at Churchill Downs on the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby, the University of Louisville has moved its season-opening football game against North Carolina State to Wednesday, Sept. 2.

Kickoff time and television plans will be announced at a later date.

Kentucky Derby 146 will be run on Saturday, Sept. 5 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Churchill Downs has submitted plans for that event to the state, but has not yet made them public. "Thurby," as it has become known to locals, has become Louisville's day at the races in recent years, and drew more than 48,000 fans in 2019.

Because Louisville football uses parking around the Churchill Downs area on game days -- and because Churchill Downs uses parking at U of L during large events -- Louisville and N.C. State mutually agreed to move the game for logistical purposes.

“We appreciate the NCAA, ACC, and NC State honoring our request for a date change for the opening game,” Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra said. “We are trying to be thoughtful about the shared city resources needed to host a football game and Thurby at the same time.”

Louisville has not yet announced plans for its season opener with regard to fans or COVID-19 restrictions. It is in the process of bringing players back to campus gradually, but is hoping for an on-time start to its 2020 season. The Cardinals beat N.C. State 34-20 in Raleigh, N.C., last season to secure a surprising bowl bid in the first season for head coach Scott Satterfield.

The game would be Louisville's first Wednesday home game since 2008, a victory over Kansas State during Ryder Cup week in Louisville.

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