CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said Tuesday it’s likely the Hawkeyes will play one primetime football game at Kinnick Stadium this fall.
As to which opponent Iowa will face, that is undetermined.
“It’s turned out that it’s been Penn State for several years. Northwestern last year,” Barta said. “Those have been great. Our fans really enjoyed it. I’m certainly worried about safety. There are certain teams that maybe the fan base mixed for a night game wouldn’t be as good. So far it’s worked out good.”
Barta hinted that the annual Iowa-Iowa State game isn’t an option under the lights.
“We haven’t been asked to play that game at night,” Barta said. “I think it works better in the afternoon.”
Iowa has played a true home night game (6 p.m. or later) five times since 2006. All but one — the 2007 game against Syracuse — was a conference game. Last year on May 12 the Big Ten announced its 2011 primetime football games airing on the ESPN family of networks. One week later, the league revealed its BTN primetime games.
The Big Ten’s media contracts prevent outdoor night games played in November. If Iowa’s recent tradition continues of playing home primetime games against league opponents, that puts the Sept. 29 homecoming game against Minnesota and the Oct. 20 game against Penn State in play.
Iowa and Penn State’s last two meetings at Kinnick Stadium have ended under the lights, including a 7 p.m. kickoff in 2010. Iowa and Minnesota have played 105 times but never in September.
“It falls within the guidelines, which is we won’t play one in November,” Barta said of Iowa-Minnesota. “But at this point, again, we’ll keep talking to them. They haven’t made any final decisions.
“I sort of told the Big Ten that one is comfortable for us. We’ve gotten used to it. I think our fans like it. Our campus can manage it. Two, we’d have to think seriously about it but certainly be open to the discussion. It just hasn’t gotten to that point.”