Franklin not a fan of Friday night games
James Franklin doesn’t like that the Big Ten is now scheduling football games on Friday nights — Penn State will play one at Illinois on Sept. 21 — and said the practice is all about “greed.”
“I’m not a fan of Friday night (college) games,” Franklin said Wednesday on a Big Ten coaches conference call. “Never have been. I think all the Big Ten coaches came out unanimously saying the same thing.”
Franklin has mentioned it before, and Wednesday he reiterated that “Friday night is for high school.”
“Saturday is for college,” he added. “And Sunday is for the NFL. I think that’s a great model that’s worked for a long time, and it allowed each separate phase to enjoy on their own. All those complemented and supported each other.”
While Saturday traditionally has been the primary day for college football, the sport has evolved over the years to include several other days of the week. MAC teams often play on other nights, as Franklin pointed out, but a lot of major conferences have played on Thursday and Friday nights for years.
The Big Ten, though, has pretty much always been a Saturday league, and Franklin prefers it to stay like that.
“The smaller conferences like the MAC and others started playing on multiple nights, and people saw there was an opportunity for that,” Franklin said. “It’s created some greed where other people have tried to work their way into those markets.
“I just think we have to be careful, and we have to respect each level and say, ‘Hey, the high schools are going to respect colleges and the NFL, the colleges are going to respect high school and the NFL, and the NFL’s going to respect down to colleges and high school.'”
Franklin was asked to explain his greed comment and discussed how various levels within the sport copy one another.
“Every level is greedy when it comes to trying get as much exposure for their programs and eyes on TV sets,” he said. “So yeah, I think if the NFL is doing Friday and Thursday and Sunday games, that isn’t how the model has always been.
“The NFL sees that colleges are having success on these other nights, and they start dipping into it. Then colleges see that smaller colleges have done the same thing on other nights of the week and start to dip into it.”