In November, the Big Ten’s announcement that it would schedule games on Friday nights was met with some backlash from coaches and fans.
One of those critical coaches was Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, who opposed the Friday night scheduling because of its encroachment on high school football, which typically plays games on Fridays, and the disruptive impact on his players’ class and practice schedule.
“I believe Fridays are for high school football, first and foremost,” Fitzgerald told ESPN after the proposal. “I think playing on a short week is a mistake. I’d prefer to keep Big Ten football on Saturdays.”
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Fans, citing work schedules, traffic and tailgating time, also opposed the notion.
After the announcement of Friday games, Northwestern had been scheduled to play two such football games for the 2017 season. However, when the conference released its spring prospectus, those games appeared on Saturdays.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the conference heard from university leadership, and rescheduled the games for Saturdays after recognizing the “unintended consequences” of the school playing under the Friday night lights.
Other Big Ten programs, including Michigan and Penn State, have reportedly voiced similar concerns and an unwillingness to play on Fridays.