The Big Ten has released its first-ever schedule of Friday night prime-time football games, set for 2017.
Penn State is not playing in any of the six Friday night games. The school had previously said it would not play host to Friday night home games.
Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson, noting the importance of high school football across the state, said his school would agree only to an occasional home day game on the Friday following Thanksgiving.
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said "significant operational" issues make Friday night football in Happy Valley a no go. Barbour pointed out that fans generally travel more than an hour to get to the stadium. She also said shutting down the school on a Friday was not an option.
The 2017 Friday games, which will be televised by ESPN and FOX, are as follows:
Sept. 1, Washington at Rutgers.
Sept. 1, Utah State at Wisconsin.
Sept. 8, Ohio at Purdue.
Sept. 29, Nebraska at Illinois.
Oct. 13, Northwestern at Maryland.
Oct. 27, Michigan State at Northwestern.
The Big Ten's decision to play Friday night games did not sit well with some folks, especially high school football coaches and fans, who believed Friday night Big Ten games would do harm to the high school tradition of Friday night football.
The Big Ten issued the following statement on that issue:
"As a result of the conference’s new television agreements, every Big Ten football game over the next six years will be nationally televised by ABC/ESPN, FOX or BTN. Of the approximately 600 games scheduled to be broadcast by our television partners in the next six years, 36 games (six per year) will occur on Friday night. While not all institutions are able to participate in Friday night matchups, all 14 institutions will participate in the broad initiative to provide more primetime exposure on national platforms.
"The Big Ten Conference appreciates the significance of high school football within the region and has worked to minimize the impact of this initiative by limiting the number of Friday night games. Overall, these games represent approximately 6 percent of Big Ten home games annually, and no institution will host more than one game in any given year. Friday night games will also be announced at least 10 months in advance to provide all parties adequate time to prepare."