ATLANTA – Georgia State Athletics announced Friday that because of facility scheduling issues at the Georgia Dome on the opening weekend of 2014, it has received a special waiver from the NCAA that will allow it to play one day earlier than the rest of the country. To alleviate the challenging weekend schedule, the Panthers will now kick off the 2014 FBS football season with a midweek contest against Abilene Christian on Wednesday, Aug. 27.  

Georgia State will be the first FBS team to play a regular-season game in 2014. Typically that Thursday is the first allowable day of NCAA competition, but with the multitude of games and festivities in the Georgia Dome, home of the Panthers, the NCAA granted Georgia State a one-time exemption.

“We thank the NCAA for granting this waiver and we cannot wait to kick off the 2014 FBS college football season in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome,” Georgia State Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick said. “This will be a great opportunity for our team and we are excited to give our fans a midweek home game. We would especially like to thank the NCAA, the Georgia Dome, the College Football Hall of Fame and the Abilene Christian athletic department for supporting the application for this waiver. It was a team effort and we look forward to the 2014 season.”

Among the late-August game action slated for the Georgia Dome alongside the Panthers, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games will include two matchups this fall: Ole Miss and Boise State play in the first game on Thursday, Aug. 28, while Alabama and West Virginia face off on Saturday, Aug. 30. The Atlanta Falcons will not know until March about their preseason schedule, requiring the primary tenant of the Georgia Dome to also black out the venue’s availability on Friday, Aug. 29. In addition, the College Football Hall of Fame will be celebrating its first week open to the public in downtown Atlanta.

Other non-conference contests for the Panthers in 2014 include: Sept. 13 vs. Air Force (at Georgia Dome), Sept. 20 at Washington and Nov. 22 at Clemson. Georgia State will play Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, New Mexico State and Texas State at home in Sun Belt action and faces Appalachian State, Louisiana-Lafayette, South Alabama and Troy on the road.