Fed Ex Field seats many more than Philadelphia stadium and is closer to State College and much of the PSU fan base.
Let's Just Put Delaware State In The Big Ten
The November 20, 2010 game between Penn State and Indiana will switch locations from Indiana's campus in Bloomington, Indiana to [The Stadium Formerly Known As Jack Kent Cooke] in Landover, Maryland. [TSFKAJKC] is home of the NFL's Washington Redskins.
The stadium in question is about four hours from State College. It's eleven hours from Bloomington. Indiana just sold a home game for three million dollars. And Penn State got one for free.
This sort of thing has a long tradition in college football—Michigan State didn't play a home game in their series against Michigan until 1948 and didn't start equitable home and homes until a decade later—but died out at about the same time segregation did. And nobody wants to bring that back, hmmmm? [/sportstalkradio argument]
Let's stipulate that schools have the right to do whatever they want with their nonconference schedules. The effect on the rest of the conference is minimal there, mostly limited to "you scheduled who and they did what to you?" Feel free to insert your favorite recent humiliation there: The Horror, Iowa State, USC, Louisiana Tech, etc.
Once we start talking about conference schedules, though, people have a right to bitch. Every team is playing for a conference championship. The schedules need to be as equitable as possible. Yes, playing eight games against ten opponents naturally inserts some wobble in average schedule difficulty. Creating protected rivalries enhances that. (Would you rather be Michigan State (Penn State and
Ohio State Michigan [ed: whoops lol] every year) or Purdue (Northwestern and Indiana).) But in both cases everyone has agreed to the potential imbalance and decided that the alternative—years without The Game or I-AA snackycakes—is worse.
Not so with Indiana's decision to sell a home game, which benefits exactly one team, has been approved by no one, and compromises the integrity of the league schedule. It also sets a dangerous precedent. No Big Ten team has been so craven since balanced schedules became commonplace. A rundown:
- Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, and Minnesota have never scheduled a neutral site conference game.
- A few teams did so back in the stone age but not since. Michigan hasn't played a neutral site conference game since they lost to Northwestern 2-3 in 1925, and that was in Chicago. Illinois played home games against Ohio State in Cleveland in 1944 and 1942. Purdue did the same in 1943.
- A few teams have moved games to neutral sites without giving up at least the appearance of a home game. Indiana played a neutral site game against Penn State in 2000 and against Illinois in 1984, both in Indianapolis. (They did sell a home game to Northwestern, also in 1925. Northwestern won 25-0, their only win of the season.) Ohio State moved a 1991 home game against Northwestern to Cleveland. Northwestern has a fair number of games listed as "@ Chicago, IL," which Evanston is basically a part of.
- Aaaand there's one bizarre outlier I didn't remember: Wisconsin gave up a home game to play Michigan State in Tokyo in 1993.
That's it. No modern-era Big Ten team has ever agreed to move a conference game to a location almost three times closer to the road team than the "home" team. No one has ever moved a conference game out of state with the freakish exception of that Tokyo game. Even that game was a decidedly neutral site, which TSFKAJKC will most definitely not be in 2010.
The Big Ten should shoot this down, and do it soon. This is the I-A equivalent of forfeiting a conference game so you can get paid by Michigan. Insert some bylaw that says any attempt to move a conference home game out of state or to a point that's closer to the nominal road team than the home team must be approved by the league first, and look very sternly at the Indiana administration when you do.
This team is really just a embarrasment to the Big Ten in football.
I like the idea of the occasional neutral site game, specifically two instances:
-I think it would be fun to have UM v. MSU @ Ford Field once a decade or so. Set up specific section for each student section (right next to each other?) and it could be a fun experience.
-Any season that Michigan only plays MSU once in basketball, they should play at the Palace.
I realize this places us at an advantage since 90+ percent of Michigan residents who didn't go to MSU are Michigan fans (the 10% being family of MSU students/alum), but kvetching by the Spartys aside it would be pretty cool.
I'd prefer to see us play the directional schools at Ford Field in a sort of two for one deal.
A couple of points
According to Glass, in an interview with Adam Rittenberg, not only has the conference signed off on the game, but the other nine ADs have as well -- a week ago. Don't fool yourself. A game against Indiana is not going to give Penn State a leg up in the chase for the Big 10 title, regardless of where it's played, and the individual schools recognize that. The real harm here is the precedent that this sets.
But let's be honest. To liken what Glass did to what Delaware State did is short-sighted -- Indiana is still playing Penn State and taking away substantially more money that if it would have played Penn State in Bloomington. To put completely arbitrary limits on distance is laughable. It needs to be be an all-or-none scenario. Teams can raffle home games or they can't. Period.
Arbitrary limits, no. But a home game should be, you know, close to home for the home team. And it's reasonable that it should be at least closer to home than to the away team. That's not arbitrary.
The ADs signing off on this means money trumps fair play. I know that's not earth-shattering news to anyone. But, as noted before, there were 15 other NFL venues closer to Bloomington, IN. So this is what it looks like it is. Shameless money-grabbing. Great example you're setting for the youngsters.
The new Meadowlands Stadium is supposed to be open by the 2010 season. Would anyone raise an eyebrow if the game was to be played there? No. We'd talk about playing a game in the New York market and how it expands the footprint and gives out of market alums a chance to see conference teams.
So why is there a problem with a game being played in the National Capital Area? Washington DC is probably home to third largest Big Ten alumni base in the country and is a top 10 market. That it is closer to one school than the other is of no consequence... this will be spun as nothing more than a game in Washington for the benefit of the conference.
Has anyone even mentioned this as a way to "expand the footprint"? That's a secondary rationale to attempt to cover for what's really going on, which is painfully obvious. And besides, it isn't the B10 conference that initiated this change-of-venue (for the sake of expanding exposure, or whatever). It was the teams.
If the teams are initiating a neutral site game, pick a place that's actually neutral. Not someplace that's 75 miles from the PA border and 500+ miles from the Indiana state line.
The fact is, this is exactly what it looks like: a home game for Penn State.
Some have rightly pointed out that PSU will win this regardless of location. That fact (plus the money) is why they're gonna get away with this. What really matters, though, is that a B10 team basically forfeited a conference home game, turned into a home game for someone else, and did it all for money.
What's the limit to this precedent?
I never said it wasn't that, but the spin job here is impossibly easy. There's a reason every Big Ten AD plus Delany (!!) signed off on this. Again, would you have the same objections if the game where in New York?
(A) It's not in New York, so your point is an interesting speculation, but not the reality at hand.
(B) Nobody but you is spinning it as exposure-in-a-different-market ("expanding the footprint")
(C) Therefore, it's a shameless money grab by IU, which the entire B10 signed on for, including the commissioner.
(D) Thus, my objection.
And so as not to avoid your point about the Meadowlands entirely ... if the B10 approached the teams in question with the vision of a game in NY/NJ that expands the footprint of the B10 (or whatever), then that would be a great idea. You're right.
But that's not what's happening.
A hypothetical counterpoint to your hypothetical counterpoint: Let's say the CFL expands to Windsor, Ontario in 2011 and builds a kick-ass stadium there. Wisconsin is having a bad streak of seasons, not selling many tickets, sees a home game against Michigan that season, and proposes to move that game to Windsor. You know, to expand the footprint. Is that objectionable? I'm saying it is.
You're saying it's not.
A) Is Washington, DC not comparable as a neutral site to New York?
C) Sure. But I doubt everyone would sign off on it if they saw no personal benefit.
You refuse to just answer the hypothetical because we both know a game in the New York area, despite being much closer to PSU, would be considered a neutral site regardless of who came up with the idea.
Distance is less important than culture. The game might be played at a site geographically close to Happy Valley, but the Washington, DC area is not Penn State mad... there's a close BCS team in Maryland. In fact, I'm willing to bet there are a crapload of Indiana natives and alums in the District. In this case culture > location.
Windsor, Ontario is so close to Ann Arbor that they literally get all the same TV channels over the air. Try harder.