An unseasonable start to the spring has already wreaked havoc on high school sports schedules in parts of the Midwest. Now, it appears that the next level will have to chill for a bit longer, as well.
Iowa State, Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin have all called off their spring football games, citing the likelihood of nasty weather.
Forecasts call for cold temperatures and thunderstorms in the region, and instead of inviting fans outdoors to endure what would likely be miserable experiences, some programs are opting for indoor scrimmages and practices instead.
“For safety reasons, obviously, our fans can’t get to the indoor (facility), so that aspect of it we won’t have,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell told the Des Moines Register. “But we need that practice, and the reality of us, with the weather and what it looks like, I would rather not waste a day.”
Safety and logistical concerns weighed into each school’s decision, as the programs all expressed desires to let fans and other attendees know about the changes with as much notice as possible.
Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez explained in a press release why they made the call early. “We thought it was best to make the call early to give the numerous groups involved in the game, including our team, our fans, our media partners and staff, notice of the cancellation as soon as possible,” Alvarez said.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald cited fan safety. “Maybe fans won’t like me because of it,” Fitzgerald told the Chicago Tribune “but there’s a safety component to this, and if the weather looks inclement, we’re not going to change the schedule to sell a hot dog or two.”
“We are disappointed for our fans and players’ families that this opportunity to see our team compete at Michigan Stadium will not be possible due to weather concerns,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a release. “We made a decision that was in the best interest of our fans, student-athletes and volunteer staff needed to organize this event.”