Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
I just got off the phone with Indiana athletic director Fred Glass, who made some waves today when he announced that IU's 2010 home game against Penn State has been moved to FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Indiana will pocket $3 million from the game, which will be played Nov. 20, 2010. The Hoosiers still will play six home games in Bloomington next season, and Glass said an agreement for that sixth game is nearly finalized.
A few notes and quotes from Glass on the game:
The Washington Redskins approached Indiana about the possibility of playing at FedEx Field, which also will host Boise State and Virginia Tech in 2010. Glass acknowledged that a neutral-site Big Ten team wasn't on his short-term agenda, but the financial gains from the game intrigued him, especially since Indiana ranks second from the bottom in the league in revenue spent per sport.
"We needed to have this extraordinary financial commitment to make it worth our while, frankly," he said. "We put up a big number there that we thought actually might scare them off. We'd find out if they were serious or not. And they embraced that. They had wanted a higher ticket guarantee than the one we ultimately agreed to. I wanted a ticket number that we could accomplish very easily. I didn't want to be chasing my tail band and eating into my payout because I came up short of my ticket guarantee. They were very cooperative, very collaborative."Indiana head football coach Bill Lynch was the first person Glass approached about the game. This isn't a major surprise, but it does reinforce the confidence Glass maintains in Lynch, who many consider to be on hot seat entering the season. The fact that they're discussing a 2010 game indicates that Glass expects Lynch to be on the sideline at FedEx Field.
"If he didn't want to do it, no amount of money would be worth going against what he felt we needed to do from a competitive perspective," Glass said. "Sure, it'll be a different atmosphere, although not necessarily a more negative atmosphere. We think a lot of IU fans are going to be in there. When you have the energy of 90,000 people, that's pretty exciting. Secondly, coach Lynch really saw it as a real opportunity to put an outpost in an area where we've had success in recruiting. We'd like to have more success in recruiting, create a once-in-a-student's-lifetime experience in terms of a bowl-game atmosphere."After Glass discussed the game with Lynch, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Penn State AD Tim Curley, the league's athletic directors voted on the game during a conference call last week. It was approved by a unanimous vote of 9-0 (Penn State and Indiana abstained). Big Ten associate commissioner for television of administration Mark Rudner told me the location was approved "with the conditions that the game is treated as a home game in every respect, an Indiana home game."
"With our revenue sharing, the Big Ten is going to make more money off this game than they would have in Bloomington, Indiana," Glass said. "They're going to have a chance to have a high-profile game on the Eastern side of our boundary, which I think is a good thing, and show the Big Ten flag to recruits and others. I think it's a win-win all around.”Indiana will market the game aggressively, especially to its 10,000 alums living in Washington D.C. as well as others in the surrounding area. Glass expects to easily sell Indiana's 7,000-ticket allotment. He also remains realistic about Penn State's sizable fan base and how the atmosphere will change from a normal Hoosiers home game.
"I went into this with the calculus that there's going to be a lot of Penn State people there and this may end up looking a lot a Penn State home game," Glass said. "I took that into account and won't be surprised or regret that we went with the game if it ends up having a big Penn State crowd. It will be a big-time atmosphere, and that will be pretty exciting."This will mark the first Big Ten game to be played off campus since Indiana hosted Penn State at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis in 2000. Northwestern and Ohio State met at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1991, and Northwestern might play a Big Ten game at Chicago's Wrigley Field in 2011. Though Glass doesn't want to make this a common practice, he'll continue to look at ways to boost Indiana's revenue."I'm open to color outside the lines a little bit," he said. "We need to be a little bit more creative in looking for opportunities, not only to have some paydays like the one we're going to have against Penn State, but also creative ways to enhance the profile of our program. This one was a little different than we thought about, but we were open to doing it, even though it's a little out of the norm. ... I don't think we should be doing this on a regular basis and disrupting our home schedule. It's a once-in-every-several-years opportunity."