Big Ten college football is coming to Fridays.
The conference announced last Wednesday that their new television agreement with ESPN and Fox will include six prime-time Friday football games starting next year. In a state where college football dominates headlines, how will this affect the traditional high school football night? District Three Representative on the Nebraska School Activities Association Board Jay Bellar says high schools can handle the change.
“I was a little bit surprised because they haven’t done that in the past,” Bellar said. “But we do see it on TV more and more regular now. So I was a little surprised but it’s nothing we can’t work out.”
High school sports governing bodies from Iowa to Maryland have voiced disappointment over the Big Ten’s announcement citing potential problems with attendance, media coverage and increased traffic. Beller says there is certainly some resentment to the decision, largely because it throws off the normal routine.
“Well I think if you would ask the coaches they would rather play every Friday night because they’re in that sequence of doing that every year,” Bellar said. “But they’ll adjust and do a good job of doing that.”
The Huskers will likely play one home game on a Friday night over the next three years and could play some away games on Fridays as well. Beller says it’s up to individual high schools to decide if they want to change their game days when the Huskers play on a Friday.
“Well I think that’s going to be a local school issue. They can figure that out and do what they want to do,” Bellar said. “I think you will see different times played or moving it to a Thursday or a Saturday, I think you could see that.”
While the NSAA and high school coaches are upset with the Big Ten’s decision, they understand that Nebraska is the Cornhusker state.
“Nebraska is Husker football so we’ll do whatever we have to do to make that work,” Bellar said. “We support Big Red all the way.”