Only one end zone will be used for offense Saturday at Wrigley Field for the Illinois-Northwestern game because of safety concerns, the Big Ten announced Friday, and the Chicago Cubs said the decision caught them by surprise.
NCAA rules state the field dimensions must have adequate space surrounding the playing surface: “Limit lines shall be marked … 12 feet outside the sidelines and the end lines, except in stadiums where total field surface does not permit. In these stadiums, the limit lines shall not be less than 6 feet from the sidelines and end lines.”
Wrigley’s east end zone is a few feet away from the right-field wall, and although there is padding, there were concerns players could be injured there.
I had to read the article two or three times before I could actually believe that was reading. But it sounds to me like every time a team gets the ball they’re going to march to the corresponding yard line on the other side of the field. There have been a few instances in Delosa over the years where special accommodations had to be made or just weren’t made when some bleachers were declared unsafe or an endzone was discovered to be unsafe because of a misplaced cart. In one sense, the first incident was worse than this because people who had bought tickets suddenly no longer had tickets and at least everyone is going to get to see this game. And unlike the second case, nobody had their leg shattered. Even so… wow. What a disaster and an embarrassment for both the Chicago Cubs and the people that organized this.
On the other hand, it’s brilliant in its own way. I am going to surf all of the channels tomorrow and see if I can catch this game. Otherwise, I couldn’t be less interested in a game given my antipathy towards the Big Ten and that neither of these teams are real national contenders. So in that sense, I guess it works out. It does bring a lot of attention to a game that would otherwise be ignored.
Update: The game is on now. They definitely made the right decision. This was very poorly thought out. I am inclined to say that heads should roll over this, but the announcers are doing a pretty good job of talking it up so maybe I am overreacting. On the other hand, I was wrong about fans not getting stiffed on tickets. Some folks bought tickets at the endzone and will likely never see any scores there. And unlike the Delosa incident, they won’t get their money back. A story to tell their kids about, I suppose.