November 30, 2021

Cortaca festivities coming

Game between SUNY Cortland, Ithaca College to top attendance mark

Photo provided by Darl Zehr Photography

The SUNY Cortland Red Dragons play with the Ithaca College Bombers at the 2018 Cortaca Jug. The Cortland stadium has capacity for 6,500 fans. The teams will play before at least six times as many — 39,000 or more — next month at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey.

With the Cortaca Jug a little over a month away, ticket sales have already set a record and SUNY Cortland is preparing for a rush of on-campus events for students who cannot attend the annual football game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

More than 39,000 tickets have been sold as of Thursday for the Nov. 16 game, according to a news release from SUNY Cortland. With those sales, the college will break the previous record for alltime attendance at a Division III football game of 37,355 set in 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The stadium can hold 82,500 people.

“As evidenced by ticket sales, the enthusiasm displayed for this game by both the students and the alumni bases of Ithaca and Cortland has been phenomenal,” said Marc Hudak, chairman of the New York City Chapter of the National Football Foundation, which is helping coordinate the game. “I am optimistic that sales could exceed 50,000, especially if both teams continue to have strong season.”

The Red Dragons are 4-0, outscoring opponents 197 to 40. The Ithaca Bombers are also 4-0, outscoring opponents 190 to 92.

The one-time move to the stadium was made to appeal to the nearly 35,000 alumni both SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College have in the New York City and surrounding area.

Both SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College have also sold out of their on-campus ticket allotments, according to the release.

SUNY Cortland has set up for 11 buses to bring 500 students to the game and back the day of the event, said Fred Pierce, the college’s communications director.

A bus from Albany to MetLife stadium was also made available for $30 roundtrip per seat. It has sold out. Another bus from New York City and Long Island is still available for the same price.
On Nov. 15 — the day before the game — the college will again host its Cortaca Mug event, which is an alcohol-free party for students on campus.

On the day of the game, students unable to make the trip down can attend a Cortaca Jug watch party.

Photo provided by Darl Zehr Photography

Brett Segala, SUNY Cortland’s starting quarterback, scrambles at the 2018 Cortaca Jug game at Cortland.

It is “… similar to what we currently do when the game is played at Ithaca College,” Pierce said.

Later that night, the Student Activities Board will host a novelty night in the Function Room at Corey Union, where students can make crafts.

At the game, Pierce said the college’s “Alumni Engagement Office is planning the biggest SUNY Cortland alumni tailgate event ever,” including free popcorn in the stadium parking lot.

There will also be a student T-shirt design contest and photo contests, according to the college’s Red Dragon Network website.

This will be the 61st year the teams have battled it out on the field for the Cortaca Jug. The game traditionally alternates between the two colleges and was held at SUNY Cortland in 2018.

The game was once referenced by Sports Illustrated as “the biggest little game in the nation.”
Cortland Athletic Director Mike Urtz said that designation holds true, especially with this year’s game.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said in the release. “The incredible fan support for this game is unlike anything else in Division III athletics.”

“At Cortland we don’t believe in half measures,” said college President Erik Bitterbaum in the release. “We go all in. And that spirit is reflected by the amazing support given in this record-breaking event.”

For details

For more information on the event or contests visit or

Watching the game
Ithaca College will live-stream the game on ICTV / Roy H. Park School of Communications via a coordinated feed with the stadium. A link to that stream is not yet available, said SUNY Cortland spokesman Fred Pierce.

“There’s an outside chance a TV outlet may pick up the game, but right now it’s looking unlikely that there will be any live television coverage, so streaming is people’s best bet for watching the game,” Pierce said.