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Open Letter to Jim Delany: Don’t play football on Friday Nights during the regular season

Friday Nights need to be for high school football.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Northwestern vs Pittsburgh William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Commissioner Delany,

I work at a startup in Chicago’s West Loop (soon to be the Loop — aka Chicago’s central business district), and I was not looking forward to leaving work early (maybe) on October 27th to take a 1 (generous) hour CTA Purple line ride to Evanston to watch NU host MSU that crisp fall friday night. Key word on Friday.

That’s really not a whole lot of time to travel and tailgate. And if you know anything about the fans of your schools in the Big Ten: We love to tailgate.

20ish years ago, I used to play football at a school in the West Suburban (IL) Conference, and most of our games were on Friday nights, with some on Saturday mornings, like homecoming. I grew up understanding that Fridays were for high school football, Saturdays belonged to college, and Sunday belonged to watching the Bears.

I’ve been attending games at Ryan Field for 15ish years, and I’ve gotten to know the fellow season ticket holders sitting near me, and a lot of them don’t live in Chicago like I do. They have to commute from different suburbs all over Chicagoland.

Some of my fellow season ticket holders work quite a distance from Ryan Field, and did you really think it would be a good thing for them to drive from like, what, Hinsdale/ Naperville/New Lenox/Lake Forest on a Friday night dealing with Chicago highway traffic to make a kickoff? Not every Northwestern fan lives near Evanston.

Let’s expand this beyond Chicago: Do you think every Maryland fan can get to College Park easily dealing with Beltway Traffic on a Friday night? Or how about a Rutgers fan living in Long Island working in New York City needing to get to New Brunswick on a friday night? I have to believe that NYC/NJ and DC/Virginia traffic has to be worse.

In an extreme case, imagine a diehard Rutgers fan living in Montauk, Long Island (on the eastern tip of the island) who makes the trek to New Brunswick, NJ each saturday? And you want that person to make that trip on a Friday night? In New York City traffic?!? (If that person doesn’t exist, well, I just invented him or her)

Some things are just better handled on a Saturday morning.

I like waking up early or not making (hungover or not from the night before) my own time, taking an uber, driving, or getting the clark bus to the red to purple line to get up to Evanston.

I really would not want to hustle after work downtown up to Evanston.

In the past, I would’ve had to drive from the northern and southwestern suburbs up to evanston on a friday night dealing with Chicago traffic. Not good.

Also, what about all the recruiting that needs to happen? I presume during the season some of our coaches head out to schools to actually watch recruits play instead of rely on YouTube videos.

It’s gotta be hard to do when, oh shit, their teams have to play on friday?!?

I can guess that the Big Ten network or other broadcast partners want more inventory.

Commissioner Delany, you’re the man who upon receiving a lowball offer from ESPN told them “consider them rolled”. You took a risk, and it paid off in spades. You should’ve told FOX/ESPN/whoever thanks but no thanks, we’re going to play football on saturdays during the regular season.

That being said, nothing made me happier then when I read Greeny’s Trib article confirming that you listened to reason (and Fitzy and NU leadership) and moved the Maryland and MSU games to Saturdays where IMHO they rightfully belong.

Play regular season games on friday nights when school is not in session.

— LincolnParkWildcat