Was the Big Ten thinking that its plan to have Friday night football games would be met with minimal resistance?
According to the head of Nebraska’s high school athletics association, the conference was not expecting the level of “blowback” it’s gotten to the announcement that Big Ten teams will play on Fridays starting in 2017.
“The commissioner [Jim Delany] made the comment that Friday night games have been happening all across the country,” [Jim] Tenopir, executive director of the Nebraska School Activities Association, told Land of 10 during Day One of the Big Ten Conference Joint Group Meetings.
“They did not expect the blowback that the Big Ten got on Friday nights.”
High school officials, per the report, met with the Big Ten regarding the Friday night games on Monday at the conference’s spring meetings to talk about potential pros and cons of the idea.
The conference announced its plans for Friday night games last fall and the reaction wasn’t incredibly positive. Penn State and Michigan had said they were against the idea from the start and Northwestern pushed back after it was revealed the Wildcats were scheduled to host Maryland on Friday Oct. 13 and playing at Michigan State on Oct. 27.
[More college football from Yahoo Sports: Big Ten spring practice summaries]
The conference granted Northwestern’s wishes in April — both games will be played on Saturdays. The move to take Northwestern off the Friday night schedule means there are six Friday night games scheduled for 2017 beginning with Washington’s game at Rutgers Sept. 1.
Logistics and tradition aside, the decision to add Friday night games was an easy monetary one for the conference. Yeah, it gives teams who may not play in marquee games on Saturdays a bigger platform, but it also can help bring in more revenue for the conference. If the move to have some games on Fridays was simply revenue-neutral, it’s doubtful the Big Ten would make it.
But the conference should have seen resistance coming. Putting tradition aside like we did in the paragraph above is much easier to type than it is to do in real life. We’re interested to see if enough with influence get used to Friday night games after a season or two or pushback will reach a point where the Big Ten punts on the idea altogether.
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