With the addition of Rutgers and Maryland next year, the Big Ten conference will be moving to a nine-game league football schedule. With one less non-conference game available, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has said that he wants conference schools to stop scheduling games against FCS opponents. That means that Iowa may no longer be playing UNI.
But Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta says he’s told UNI A-D Troy Dannen that Iowa is committed to honoring their current contract with the Panthers. “For those who don’t know my history, I have been at UNI for 7 years, my wife graduated from UNI — and so set that aside, that’s personal affection and feelings — but you know it’s good for the state…and it looks pretty good that we’ll be able to keep the two games that are on our contract and we’ll see after that,” Barta says.
In addition to games against UNI in 2014 and 2018, Iowa is also scheduled to host Illinois State and North Dakota State in the coming seasons. Barta says that Iowa will need to schedule seven home games per season going forward, making it sound like he will try to keep some FCS games on Iowa’s schedule.
He says they have always played Iowa State and one other BCS level school and now they will add another Big 10 school and will play ISU and add some other opponents who are willing to come to Kinnick Stadium without a home and home series.
From a financial standpoint, Iowa would pay an FCS team like UNI somewhere around $500,000 for a game, whereas the Hawkeyes would need to shell out closer to a million dollars to bring in a team from a low-level FBS conference, like Tennessee Tech or Louisiana-Monroe.
Barta says the financial aspect is just one benefit of continuing the series with UNI as he says it’s a good financial deal for both when you can play an instate school. And he says with UNI as a the top team in FCS, it makes for an exciting matchup.
Iowa and UNI have faced off five times since their series resumed in 1995. Prior to that, the schools had not met on the football field in 81 years.
By Jesse Gavin KCNZ Cedar Falls