Barta: Iowa to host 2-3 Friday games over five years

Chad Leistikow,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Iowa is likely to host some season-opening football games on Friday nights in the coming years, athletics director Gary Barta confirmed Saturday night.

On the pregame radio show before the Iowa-Penn State game at Beaver Stadium, Barta said that he raised his hand for the Hawkeyes to host games on Fridays, but “only on Labor Day weekend.”

As part of the Big Ten Conference’s new television deal that begins in 2017 with Fox and ESPN, it agreed to schedule six Friday-night games per year – three non-conference games, three conference games. Commissioner Jim Delany told the Chicago Tribune that no team would play more than twice on Friday in a season.

Delany asked for participation among the league’s programs, and only Michigan and Penn State refused to host Friday-night games.

Iowa has two Saturday night games scheduled this season, and in future years will occassionaly add Friday night to the menu.

Barta said he volunteered the Hawkeyes “for the good of the conference,” telling the Big Ten that Iowa “would be willing to participate on a rotational basis.”

It’ll probably happen 2-3 times over the next five years, Barta told Iowa radio. Of course, that'll likely create a conflict with Friday-night high school football games, which starts its season in Iowa in late August.

“Is it perfect? No," Barta said. "Perfect for me is 1 o’clock Saturday.”

Iowa’s season openers are scheduled out for the next four seasons – 2017 vs. Wyoming, 2018 and 2020 vs. Northern Illinois and 2019 vs. Miami of Ohio.