An Iowa lawmaker is working in the state legislature to stop the University of Iowa from playing on Friday nights because he feels it conflicts with high school football programs across the state.
Hawkeye football recently began negotiating contracts for Friday evening games to broadcast on TV, but Rep. Peter Cownie, R-West Des Moines, says that this is a bad idea, USA Today reports.
“High school football games, sometimes those are the things that bring everyone together in our communities,” Cownie, said. “Some traditions I think are sacred in our state.”
With that in mind, Cownie introduced legislation in Des Moines that would prevent all Iowa universities from scheduling games on Fridays.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany announced in November that new TV deals with ESPN, ABC, and Fox include six prime-time games to be played on Fridays. The six-year contracts will begin this year, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported last year.
University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta confirmed that his program looks to host games on several Fridays this season.
But the Iowa High School Athletic Association came out in stark opposition to the Friday game plan.
“This negative impact would not only be in terms of attendance, but also coverage by radio stations, print media and television highlights,” the organization’s executive director, Alan Beste, said in November. “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.”
Not all college teams are jumping into the Friday games scheme. Michigan and Penn State both noted last November that they are not keen on Friday home games, though Penn State was not completely against the concept for away games. Meanwhile Ohio State and University of Wisconsin both said they are very open to the idea.
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