Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany admitted Monday there has been pushback to the conference’s decision to play games on Friday nights, a time traditionally reserved for high school football.
Speaking about the issue at the opening press conference of Big Ten Media Days at McCormick Place, Delany said, “It led us to open up even more communication with the high school directors. We do have some, what I would describe as non-Labor Day Fridays. We have two of them. We've been doing Labor Day Friday for a number of years, probably since the middle of the decade, maybe around 2006 or so. That never really created a lot of controversy.”
The Big Ten will have two games on Friday nights this season. Purdue will host Ohio on Sept. 8, and Nebraska will play at Illinois on Sept. 23.
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Here are some other highlights from Delany’s press conference:
• On the overall strength of the conference, Delany said, “I think we have good depth, good coaches, great players. Each year is hard to predict. Each year writes its own story. So I'm always reluctant to be overconfident, but I think what we have in place in terms of coach leaders and players, venues, television, all conspire together to give us a great offering to college sports. College football has never been healthier, but it's also never been more fragile. We have health and safety issues. We have litigation issues.”
• On the return of Penn State to prominence, Delany said, “It's been an incredibly difficult time. I think the university is one of the great ones in the country. I think the culture is one of the great ones in the country. And it's obvious that, maybe the least important is how good their football team is. But their football team is now healthy after having come through sanctions over the last five years. They've got great leadership, great players, and we're really happy that they've gotten to the other side, if you will, after five years.”