Iowa AD Ponders Black Friday Football Decision

By Scott Dochterman, Reporter


By Grant Burkhardt

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said he’s unsure if Iowa football will continue to play Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving.

The Hawkeyes have ended their regular season the last two years on “Black Friday” against the Cornhuskers, who have played on that date every year since 1990. Barta agreed to try “Black Friday” twice — once in Lincoln, once in Iowa City — before making a permanent decision.

“We’ve done that,” he said. “Now we’ll talk and see if we’re going to continue it.”

Barta said he’s had feedback both ways regarding the game. A primary positive is the exposure. ABC has aired the game to a national audience the last two years. If it shifts to Saturday, it likely is scheduled opposite Michigan-Ohio State.

“That’s one of the benefits,” Barta said of the exposure. “One of the challenges, and I’ve talked to a lot of our fans that say a Friday is more challenging. They’re trying to be with family on Thanksgiving and then they try to get to Iowa City. Again, I can make a case where it works well, and I can make a case where we should go back to Saturday. As of yet, we haven’t done anything to finalize it.”

The schools originally were slated to end their seasons against one another through 2016. But with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers for the 2014 season and the potential for a future nine-game league schedule, the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers are guaranteed to finish against one another for just one more season. The Big Ten could shift another school to face Nebraska on that date or move another game into that time window.

Barta said he doesn’t have a time table for a decision, but “it has to happen to happen fairly soon for planning purposes.”

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