The Jets announced Wednesday that they will return to SUNY Cortland for training camp.
The Central New York campus has served as the site for Jets training camp every year since Rex Ryan became head coach (2009) except one. In 2011, the team was forced to use their practice facility due to the NFL lockout.
“I love the fact that we are going back to Cortland,” Ryan said in a statement. “Everyone knows how I feel about going away. I think it is a big part of building our team camaraderie. The community, the school and the people of Cortland have been outstanding and we are all excited to be going back this summer.”
Said SUNY Cortland president Erik Bitterbaum: “We are extremely pleased and excited to once again welcome the New York Jets to the SUNY Cortland campus. As it has in the past, this summer’s training camp will bring millions of tourist dollars into the Cortland economy, showcase the college’s professional-caliber facilities on an international stage, and provide SUNY Cortland students with the educational experience of a lifetime.”
According to a source, the Jets also will host a family event on Long Island during training camp and players are expected to attend. The date and location have not yet been finalized, however.
The Jets haven’t had any training-camp appearances on Long Island since 2010. They were scheduled to appear at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium in Aug. 2012, but the venue was switched to MetLife Stadium because of what the university called a conflict with the campus maintenance schedule. In 2011, the Jets canceled because of a threatening weather forecast.
Hofstra was the Jets’ practice site for four decades before the organization relocated to Florham Park in 2008.
Being that 2014 was an option year for the Jets, the team had the choice of re-upping with SUNY Cortland or finding a new location for camp. They also could have chosen to remain in New Jersey and use their state-of-the-art practice facility.
In January, the Jets announced via their web site that they would explore other options this past offseason.
“SUNY Cortland’s been great to us,” general manager John Idzik said in the release. “They’re extremely hospitable and the campus is a terrific setting for our team to bond and prepare for the upcoming season. At this time, we simply wish to perform our due diligence to ensure we have the best possible environment for our camp.”
On Wednesday, Idzik said of SUNY Cortland: “The school and the community have joined together to continually provide a terrific backdrop for our team to come together at a critical stage of our season. I am pleased that we are returning to Cortland for training camp again this summer.”
A petition was created on Change.org to ban quarterback Michael Vick from training camp up in Cortland. The petition – which was addressed to Erik Bitterbaum – blasted Vick, who spent 23 months in prison for running a dog-fighting operation.
“If we welcome Vick onto our campus, we are complicit in his crimes,” the petition read. “We are sending the message that, for money and publicity, we will turn a blind eye to the horrors of dogfighting.”
Almost 23,000 people have signed the petition as of Wednesday morning.