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Will Big 10 Friday Night Football Hurt High School Games?
Big Ten Announces Friday Night Games
Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delaney tells the Chicago Tribune
"All things considered, we thought it was worthwhile to dip our toe in the water."
The Big Ten's new television agreements with ESPN/ABC and Fox will include a package of six prime-time Friday games starting in 2017.
Below are how some of the High School State Athletic Associations are looking at the impact of these Friday night football games. It might be noted that some states, like Ohio, are playing Saturday night playoff games. This past week Ohio State played at home against Nebraska. Did that impact those games?
IHSAA Commissioner Statement on Big Ten Football Decision
Ohio, Michigan and Iowa Oppose Big 10 Football on Friday NightsYesterday, IHSAA (Indiana) Commissioner Bobby Cox participated in conversations with Jim Delaney, Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference and subsequent discussions with Athletic Directors Fred Glass of Indiana University and Mike Bobinski of Purdue University regarding the conference’s decision to stage a small selection of conference football games on Friday nights beginning in the 2017 season.
State high school associations historically have opposed this overture from the collegiate level attempting to preserve Friday nights for the high school game. While the IHSAA has supported this concept in theory previously, it also recognizes and respects the position of our state universities and their conference responsibilities.
“The IHSAA believes that the most recent decision of the Big Ten Conference to play a limited number games on Friday nights represents a positive opportunity to collectively cross promote our football programs and continue to grow this great sport in our state,” stated Commissioner Cox. “I have the utmost respect for both Fred Glass and Mike Bobinski and I'm confident, through their leadership, both the collegiate and high school games will benefit from this fresh thinking.”
OHIOOHSAA's Tim Stried
“We are disappointed. If feedback had been asked for at some point, we would have expressed we certainly would not have been in favor of that happening.
“Every Friday night around Ohio during the regular season there are, on average, 350 high school football games. Not only are those games important for the teams and their fans, for the home teams those ticket proceeds are crucial for their athletic department. So if there are outside influences, such a Big Ten game on television, that cause fans to stay home instead of going out to their local high school game, then our member schools are not going to be very happy about it.”
IOWAIHSAA Executive Director Alan Beste:
"On Wednesday, November 2 the Iowa High School Athletic Association was informed by Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delaney that the Big Ten’s new media-rights agreement includes six Friday night football games being played annually beginning in 2017. It is the Athletic Association’s understanding that The University of Iowa does not want to host Friday night games, except on Labor Day weekend. It is also our understanding that such games would not be an annual occurrence.
Almost certainly Friday night Hawkeye football games will have a negative impact on high school football games across the state. This negative impact would not only be in terms of attendance, but also coverage by radio stations, print media and television highlights. Due to increased traffic, schools around the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids areas would potentially be impacted more than those farther from Iowa City. Even a nationally televised away game would have a negative impact on high school programs by dividing the fan base.
While the decision to play Big Ten Conference football on Friday nights may be in the best interest of the Big Ten Conference and its member schools, we do not believe it is in the best interests of high school football across the State of Iowa. That being stated, we will reach out to The University of Iowa in the hopes we can work together to mitigate the damage this decision by the Big Ten Conference will have on high school football in Iowa. I am confident the Athletic Association and those who support Iowa high school football will find ways to keep it popular and relevant given this new challenge"
1991 Ohio High School Regional Championship basketball game. Last second shot by Jill Froning for unranked Celina wins the game over Ohio's #1 rated Pickerington (were also rated in USA Today Top 5)...Celina went on to win the Ohio D1 State Championsip game. Game was played at Bellefontaine HS, Dave Schmidt doing the play-by-by for Celina Cable TV.