UPDATED: Big Ten Makes Changes For Wrigley Game

Big Ten Takes Steps To Protect Players

UPDATE: The Chicago Cubs have released a statement concerning the last-minute change to the Northwestern-Illinois game. Cubs President Crane Kenney had the following to say:

“The Chicago Cubs are surprised by the Big Ten’s last-minute statement regarding changes for tomorrow’s Northwestern-Illinois football game at Wrigley Field. Let there be no doubt: the safety of the student-athletes has been – and remains – the number one priority since the concept of this game was first discussed more than a year ago, and all parties have gone to complete lengths to ensure student-athlete safety for this contest.

LISTEN: Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald Reacts To Changes For Wrigley Game

LISTEN: Northwestern Athletic Director Jim Phillips Talks About The Decision To Make The Changes

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

“The essential item in our negotiations to host the football game at Wrigley Field was obtaining approval of both universities and the Big Ten for the field dimensions as related to player safety issues. The field dimension layout was delivered to the Big Ten approximately eight months ago and was approved by the conference. Last month, the field was built exactly to the dimensions previously approved by the Big Ten. Last week, a Big Ten official performed an on-site visit at Wrigley Field, participated in a field walk-thru and raised no issue with the field dimensions, painted lines and boundaries previously approved by the Big Ten.”

Updated on November 19, 2010 at 12:40 PM

(WSCR)Almost all of the talk regarding the Northwestern and Illinois football game has been about the atmosphere in Wrigley Field and the safety of the players. Today the Big Ten announced that several changes would be made to the game format to help protect the players in the game.

The Big Ten Conference announced a series of adjustments to football playing rules in order to enhance student-athlete safety for the Illinois-Northwestern game to be played on Saturday, Nov. 20, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Big Ten worked with both Illinois and Northwestern to review a number of potential rule or field adjustments to provide the safest environment for the student-athletes. The conference requested and received waivers to several NCAA playing rules in the interest of student-athlete safety.

The following rule changes were determined to be the best of all options and will be in effect for this game only based on the unique layout of the field.

1) All offensive plays will head toward the West end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.
2) All kickoffs will be kicked toward the East end zone.
3) After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the West end zone.
4) As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the West team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the West team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes is of the utmost importance,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “Both Illinois and Northwestern did significant due diligence over the past 18 months, but after seeing the actual layout of the field, all parties felt that it was appropriate to adjust the rules to further enhance the safety of our student-athletes. Wrigley Field is one of the most historic venues in the country, and playing the Illinois-Northwestern game at this facility will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for student-athletes, coaches and fans.”

A Big Ten press release contributed to this article.

  • kurt a stein

    Very surprized that no local stations have picked this game up. I don’t know about your cable / dish package but, the “U” is not on the basic or first upgrade. One must add ‘sports package’, or related to pick up the “U”. Again, as of this writing I am not aware of any other statiion other then ESPNU covering this game?
    That surprize, or dissapoint anyone else?

  • Jon, Montgomery

    i have espnu, so i don’t have a problem, but this is unprecedented in the history of college football, we all remember as kids, playing to 1 endzone, but this has never happened in college/NFL, this game will be very interesting to see how the flow of the game goes only playhing to 1 endzone. just as long as they’re protecting the safety of the players by making this move, i don’t have a problem with it.

  • Denver Smeghead

    This is a complete joke for the Big Ten.

    They KNEW from the start that this would be an issue. There was never a lot of leftover room when the Bears played there, and it’s only gotten more cramped as the Cubs added seats behind home plate.

    Just awful.

  • streamwood bill

    This surely changes the flavor of the game and everything else for the fans who purchased tickets in the OTHER endzone. Not really a college game after all. Why bother having it at Wrigley?

  • Dawgman

    Fans who have seats in wrong end will complain unless the serve beer.

  • http://www.verifiedworldnews.com/only-one-end-zone-to-be-used-at-wrigley-football-game-wrigley-field-football-update/0239 Only One End Zone To Be Used At Wrigley Football Game Wrigley Field Football Update | Verified World News

    […] Only One End Zone To Be Used At Wrigley Football Game Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald dropped a clue Friday morning that the gridiron layout for Saturday’s game at Wrigley Field would not work. Read more on Hartford Courant UPDATED: Big Ten Makes Changes For Wrigley Game There has been plenty of talk about Saturday’s Northwestern and Illinois football game at Wrigley Field. Most of the talk has surrounded the safety of the players. Today an announcement was made to help protect them. Read more on CBS Chicago […]

  • DaaaBears

    regarding the comment about there was room when the Bears played there. for those old enough to have been to the games back in the day the field was set up from the first base side of the field to the left field seats and had more room. huge temporary bleacher seats were erected over the right field stands.
    It’s a joke that they couldn’t map this out on the field to realize the the end zone would end right at a concrete wall., but then we talking about the Cubs organization..

  • Larry

    They knew about this for a year and now change it at the 11th hour? Way to make yourselves look like fools, Big 10.

    Are they not serving beer at this game? Hard to believe people bought tickets if not.

    Wrigley just isn’t a good venue for anything but baseball. Concerts there suck unless you’re on the field. Winter Classic? Best seats were in the outfield upper deck. It just doesn’t work for anything but baseball. But sheep will be sheep.

    • KOOPS

      beer is being server today

  • Geoorge


    • steve

      can we all get over wrigley field now? it’s falling down, overrated. dirty, stinky, dilapidated, and has no parking. other than that, it’s nice enough, for a 100 year old structure.

      wrigley huggers, you should tear it down, cry your eyes out, build a better place and then tell everyone it sucks compared to the old place. then you can feel superior, nostalgic, and holier than thou.

      just like you do now.

  • Charles

    So for 50 years the NFL did not care how the field was set up? when part of the south end zone was just boards over the dugout?

    • Packers Suck, but I live here anyway...

      @ Charles – People were sued less for their own stupidity back then.

  • Joyhn Gonia

    What happens when there is an interception? Which way does the runner go?

    • Jon, Montgomery

      they’ll continue running toward the east endzone once there is an interception or fumble, as long as the player who gets the turnover isn’t down by contact, if by chance he does go all the way, he probably won’t be dumb enough 10 yeards full speed in the east endzone and hurt himself, he’ll probably slow down in time. so they’re not really concerned about that.

      however, if there is a defensive touchdown, they team that scored will be forced to go back down to the ‘safe’ west endzone to attempt the PAT.

      crazyness, 10 months to prepare and now you make this decision? the big 10 makes me wonder sometimes.

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