With safety concerns about an end zone just a few feet away from a brick wall, the Big Ten announced today that Illinois and Northwestern will use just one end zone when the teams meet at Wrigley Field this weekend.â†µ
Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald had already stated his plans to have a separate game plan for each end zone based on safety concerns. Northwestern was supportive of the move, despite how unconventional it is.â†µ
"Though it's not ideal, it's the right thing," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "We've been planning for this for a while, there were no surprises. The field came out the way we thought, it ended up maybe being a little closer with some of the padding.â†µ
While both teams seem to support the change, the Cubs were surprised by the last-minute move.â†µ
"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," Kenney said in the statement. "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."â†µ
Why the Cubs are taking this move as a perceived slight to them, or their ballpark, is beyond me. Let's hope that this, and the game between Notre Dame and Army this weekend at Yankee Stadium, are the last of the 'football games in baseball stadiums' trend we see for awhile.