Friday night not all right with Allen

Friday nights belong to high school football.

Tom Allen’s belief hasn’t wavered.

In the two years that he’s served as Indiana’s coach, Allen has been among the many Big Ten coaches in disagreement with commissioner Jim Delany’s decision to play games on Friday nights.

For Allen, it’s personal.

He grew up idolizing his father, Tom Sr., a former coach at New Castle High School. He followed his father lockstep into the profession, serving as a high school coach for 15 years in both Florida and the Indianapolis area.

Allen empathizes with and respects the work of high school coaches both in-state and nationwide, and he’s not shy about voicing opposition to the Big Ten encroaching on their domain.

“I believe Friday nights are for high school football,” Allen said, “and I stand by that very strongly.”

This week’s game at Minnesota will be the first time Indiana has played on a Friday night since the conference introduced the new scheduling wrinkle last season. The move, of course, is made with television in mind, and it comes as part of the Big Ten’s reported $2.64 billion media rights package.

Allen isn’t the only coach to voice opposition. Far from it.

“I’m a firm believer high school football is played on Fridays,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “College football is played on Saturday. And NFL is played on Sunday (and), I think, Monday night football. I’m a huge believer of that. But I don’t run TV. It’s TV-driven. We know that. And if that’s what’s best for TV and they’re making the calls, then we’ll play anywhere.”

Other schools haven’t been as willing to go along with Delany’s plan.

After the initial announcement in 2016, backlash was swift to arrive from some of the Big Ten’s most prominent programs, such as Penn State and Michigan.

Penn State’s athletic department told the league it would not host Friday night games in State College. Michigan would not agree to play on Fridays, altogether. Northwestern was scheduled to play two Friday night games last season until full-throated opposition from the school eventually led the Big Ten to move both contests to Saturdays.

Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa reportedly only agreed to play home games either on the Friday of Labor Day weekend or the day after Thanksgiving.

Indiana, meanwhile, has agreed to play one Friday night game every three years.

“If institutions had not wanted to play at home, that was an opportunity for them to check the box: We don’t want to have home games,” Delany said. “A number of them did. A number of the schools said: ‘We’d actually like a Friday game.’ That’s occurred in several instances. And so it is an opportunity, I think.”

That’s certainly true. When the Hoosiers and Gophers kick off Friday night, they’ll be playing one of only five Football Bowl Subdivision games in the country. The primetime, national television window can be a valuable showcase for lower-tier Big Ten teams such as IU and Minnesota.

Still, coaches feel it comes with a cost.

This week will mark Indiana’s first Friday night game since former coach Terry Hoeppner’s debut on Sept. 2, 2005 at Central Michigan, and while it may not be the last that the Hoosiers play under Allen’s watch, the coach won’t back down from his beliefs.

“I’m not trying to beat a drum about it, I’m just trying to be honest and open,” Allen said. “I just think Friday nights are for high school football, but I understand. I have been at several places where we played on Friday nights, and when we do we just do what we’re asked to do. We’ll get our team ready and play our tails off no matter what the day of the week we have to play. I just feel like for personal reasons, and things that I believe in, I think Friday night is for high school.”

10 comments

  1. Didn’t know where else to put this(off-topic), but it’s for Ron. He’s been bringing this topic up while most everyone else doesn’t seem to notice or care much….I guess that’s just how jaded to corruption all have become. Makes water bottles, backpacks, and 3-way phone calls sure appear as hypocrisy and protection of the so-called elite which has become the world of the NCAA.

    Anyway, here’s a podcast for you, Ron (or anyone else that may be interested).

    https://www.npr.org/2018/10/25/660499130/corruption-scandal-and-the-multi-billion-dollar-business-of-college-basketball

  2. So what’s the problem? Just another example. The hierarchy of participants, news reporters/ media/federal gov’t/state/university personnel/gov’t/enterprises/
    book writers/sports talk shows personnel/fbi hierarchy etc etc etc = set with that segment of population on top of the pyramid in this country and world. The kings, queens, knights, bishops, rooks, and the rest are pawns is very representative on this planet in which we live.

  3. I’m on Coach Allen’s side here. Living in the Tampa area, I enjoy seeing some great talent on Friday nights. I’m into the whole recruiting process as much as any fan and get to watch games loaded with high level college talent on both sides of the ball. Leave Friday nights for the high schools kids.

  4. Dear Coach Allen- Deliver on your “bigtalk”(e.g. breakthrough) …and then I’ll care about your smalltalk.
    And wasn’t it you who said “I Just do as I’m told”…(as in the sexual assault allegations/case against one of your players)?
    Play on Friday night and just do as your told. Having an opinion on the terrible circumstance of playing a college football game on Friday night seems rather lacking in gratitude.
    I get it…At the moment, it’s just allegations that you can’t coach. But you need to defend your reputation against bigger things than moon cycles and which days of the week you must fulfill that burdensome duty of coaching our Indiana Hoosiers. It’s our opinion of your guilt or innocence of not living up to “breakthrough” that should be foremost on your mind. Smalltalk is earned, my friend. It’s earned by not playing “small football” and acting like you belong as a head coach in the BigTen.

  5. 5. Variables: P.R. dents and dings. T.A. is trying to coach for defense to keep IU in games. If P.R. and offense gets bogged down T.A. needs to pull P.R. before receivers continue to get nailed in 4 and 5 yard pass plays, ineffective rush yards, and frustration sets in and momentum is absent that transfers over to defense and then defense breaks down. Start RT or pull Ramsey if offense boggs down a couple times and or misses on scoring opportunities that defense creates. In other words PR should be on a very short leash and let RT play for a lot of series not just one and out.

  6. I’ll be surprised if RT runs any plays as a QB tonight. He may take a few direct snaps on running plays, but otherwise, if he’s playing quarterback, it’s because the game is in “garbage time” or because Ramsey got hurt. This game is too important, and T.A. is not going to place the outcome at risk by giving a lot of plays to a guy who has no recent experience playing quarterback. RT has only had four days of getting back-up QB practice reps. That’s not much time to prepare to run the offense for a lot of snaps.

  7. I agree. RT is more valuable now as only other qb option and won’t be used under center. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if he throws a couple of passes from a sweep or bubble screen. Ramsey should have big game. Minnesota has the softest of soft coverage. Even his 3 yard throws will go for 7-8. IU wins with big offensive #’s today.

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