Big Ten football to play on Friday nights beginning in 2017

By Kevin Kelley -

The Big Ten will begin playing football games on Friday nights beginning with the 2017 season, commissioner Jim Delaney announced on Wednesday.

The league will begin playing a package of six prime-time Friday games in 2017 as part of their new agreement with ESPN/ABC.

According to the Big Ten Network, the games will likely be televised by an ESPN network, FOX, or FS1. No Friday night games will appear on BTN.

All six Friday night games will be played in September and October, and two of those games in 2017 will be on Friday night of Labor Day weekend, according to Big Ten senior associate commissioner for television administration Mark Rudner.

“We saw the need to have more windows because there are more games being televised nationally each week,” said Rudner. “If you look at other conferences like the Pac-12 and the ACC and even the Ivy League, they have had a clear presence on Friday night. In fact, over the last three years, each of those conferences has had double-digit games on Friday nights.”

Additionally, commissioner Jim Delany said that the six games will be split evenly between non-conference and conference games and that no team will play on Friday night more than two times.

A few schools have balked at hosting games on Friday nights. Ohio State and Penn State are expected to pass, while Michigan has reportedly already said no.

The Big Ten previously released their football schedules for the 2017 season. According to the Chicago-Tribune, the Friday night games for that season “will be revealed this week, as early as Wednesday afternoon.”

Big Ten Football Schedules

  1. Kyle
    November 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Why not some Thursday night games?

  2. Rich
    November 2, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    the need for “tv dollars” has really whored the sport out. I hate ESPN.

    • Richard
      November 2, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      I personally like spreading out more B10 games. Dislike having two or more B10 games I want to watch on at the same time. And without some Friday night games, you’ll often have 3-4 B10 games crammed in to the 11AM/noon or 2:30/3:30 time slots.

      And Friday night games won’t disrupt classes the next day or lead to a short week/competitive disadvantage situation.

    • Shep
      November 3, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Richard gets it

  3. Day
    November 2, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Actually this is a good theme for the BIG, BIG Friday Night. Depends on which games they will be playing I guess.

  4. James
    November 2, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    so they never have played on Friday

  5. gator HATER!
    November 2, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    I don’t like it
    Friday Night – High School
    Saturday – College
    Sunday – NFL

    Simple

  6. Shep
    November 3, 2016 at 10:20 am

    I’m all for it, it should just be mandatory for all schools to go through a rotation. As an adult with no kids, I really don’t care at all about Friday being for high school. If you have to choose, go with your priority. Some people like myself went to more than one school and am often forced to choose between games, so cry me a river.

  7. Joe
    November 3, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Not all of the schools will participate. Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State won’t play Fridays. Many of the coaches were against it for recruiting purposes.

    And still the Big Ten goes ahead with this idea.

    And they wonder why they are chasing the SEC? Really?

    • Richard
      November 3, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      The SEC has played weeknight games for years now. Yet their recruiting seems to go at least OK.

      And only UMich is unwilling to play any Friday night games. PSU and OSU are willing to play Friday night games on the road (PSU won’t host and OSU won’t host besides the week they have fall break).

      We’re talking about 3-4 Fridays after Labor Day weekend mostly hosted by schools like Northwestern, Illinois, and Purdue.

    • Joe
      November 4, 2016 at 6:47 am

      The SEC doesn’t play games on Fridays, except during a holiday situation. They refuse to compete with high school football and rightly so.

      Big Ten coaches know this will negatively impact recruiting and they realize they can’t take the hit. This move will only make teams like Indiana worse. And that’s not a good thing.

  8. Jordan
    November 3, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    As an Nebraska fan, I would hope that we are not chosen to host a Friday game. I believe it will devalue an already unstable B1G conference. We are rebuilding right now, and this would only set us back about 5 years.

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