(10-19-19) Tonight the Big 10 Friday night football game has Ohio State playing at Northwestern in Evanston (Chicago suburb). Since the announcement came from conference officials there has been an outcry from several state associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Ohio football coaches and administrators.
Last night a story in the Toledo Blade looked at the view from both sidelines, high school and the Big 10.
Toledo Central Catholic coach Greg Dempsey, in the above Toledo Blade story said-
“If Ohio State is playing, there’s a niche of fans that are going to watch. Period I always thought Friday night lights were for Friday night lights. But it’s just the nature of television and college football. It’s part of the landscape.”
Pickerington North coach Nate Hillerich told the Columbus Dispatch about their home game against rival Pickerington Central tonight –
“We’ll sell out before kickoff. Fans in our community will always turn out, especially for this game. The big problem might be with schools that aren’t football powers and don’t draw well to begin with. Kids will always come to the game to be with their friends and be part of the atmosphere. Adults may be less inclined to go because they’re more invested in Ohio State.”
Earlier this week the Buckeye game had a TV setback when it was moved from Fox Sports 1 to the BTN, due to a change in the MLB American League Championship series rescheduling a game.
Friday Big 10 games are a part of the conference’s 2017 $2.64-billion TV contract that was approved by every member school.
Ohio State’s first year head coach Ryan Day recently gave his thoughts on playing on Friday night.
“But that’s out of our hands, out of our control, and not much we can do about it. I try not to worry about that. When the schedule comes out, we’re going to go play wherever they tell us to play. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that, because it’s not really under my control or something that I can worry about.”
Not much has been mentioned by those folks on social media who are complaining about the Friday night game, but for Buckeye fans the game starts at 7:30pm Central time, which is 8:30 pm in Ohio. Which should allow fans to get home in time to see the majority of the game.
How does the OHSAA look at Big 10 Friday Night football, OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass told the Dispatch:
“We all know and appreciate that Friday nights are sacred for high school football. When this plan was announced a few years ago to play some Big Ten games on Friday, we strongly voiced our displeasure with it, and there’s no need to harp on it now. I get the reasons: It’s all financially oriented and about the television revenue. There’s not really much else we can do except roll with it and make adjustments as we see fit.”
This year some Ohio schools faced weather related disasters that also caused crowds to be well down. Will Friday night’s OSU football game cause the same to happen…we will find out tonight.
Viewpoint from Illinois –