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Franklin Field during the 127th running of Penn Relays on April 29. 

Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

As college football programs around the country were well into their preparations for the upcoming seasons, Penn's Franklin Field became one of 18 stadiums designated by U.S. Congress as a historic stadium. 

On Aug. 25, a group of congressmemembers announced the creation of the Historic Stadium Caucus, a non-partisan group designed to ensure that the "integrity" of college football venues are protected.

Penn football has played in Franklin Field since 1895, and the venue has also been the longtime home of the Penn Relays and hosted the Philadelphia Eagles for many years. 

Franklin Field is one of two FCS stadiums targeted for the caucus' efforts, alongside the Yale Bowl at Ivy League rival Yale. Of the other 16, only two are not hosts to Power Five teams: San Jose State's Spartan Stadium and the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, which does not currently host a college football team. 

The Caucus was first announced by Representatives Garret Graves (R-La.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). Both of their districts also have selected stadiums, with LSU's Tiger Stadium in Graves' district and Wisconsin's Camp Randall within the region Pocan represents. 

The Caucus' efforts will be focused on enhancing security and safety at the stadiums, as well as making technological and infrastructure upgrades. All of these are intended to make sure that these stadiums maintain their historic character and unique energy, while updating certain aspects to keep them up to date with governmental building standards and emergency needs. 

The formation of this Caucus comes at a time when many of these venues will soon be hosting major events. As part of the College Football Playoff's expansion in 2024, several games will be held on college campuses. Additionally, the Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum are slated to be key venues of Los Angeles' 2028 Olympics. They  will become the first two stadiums to see the Olympic Games visiting three times, having also taken part in the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. 

Additionally, the Caucus' efforts come at a time of uncertainty in college football. While most schools — including Penn — have secure conference futures, some do not. In particular, the University of California at Berkeley is currently searching for a new home following numerous exits from the Pac-12 earlier this summer. 

The Caucus' leaders currently plan to send a "Dear Colleague" letter to other members of Congress in order to increase membership in the Caucus. The Caucus has yet to yield a bill designed to boost funding to the selected stadiums.