Ohio State is playing a Big Ten game on the road at night this week. Just like the Buckeyes did on Aug. 31 against Indiana and Sept. 30 against Rutgers. And just like the Buckeyes could do in their Nov. 4 matchup at Iowa.
Ohio State could potentially have four conference road games played at night in 2017, and that’s too many in the eyes of Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes coach stated he thinks a team should play no more than two prime time conference games on the road in a given season.
Meyer pointed out the strain it puts on student-athletes, who often get home from these games around 4 a.m. Sunday morning.
“It sure does (bother me). I understand TV contracts, but when you start talking about student-athletes, they shouldn’t have to play four night games on the road,” Meyer said. “I’ve talked to Gene Smith about it, and I’ll bring it up to our commissioner. We’ll find out if we really do care about getting home at 4 o’clock in the morning four times.”
Being one of the biggest names in college football, Ohio State often draws a prime time slot with opponents for TV purposes. Night games against a big-name opponent often draw a larger crowd as well. But after any on-field advantage is accounted for, night games throw a wrench in the schedule of visiting players and coaches.
Ohio State center Billy Price said most players won’t get back to their apartments until around 5:15 a.m. following a prime time game.
“It’s very tough on the body,” Price said.
Ohio State’s contest this Saturday in Lincoln will be the team’s third straight conference road game at night. It could be four in a row if the Buckeyes’ Nov. 4 contest at Iowa is scheduled after the sun goes down. Ohio State’s only other road Big Ten game is Nov. 25 at Michigan, which has been slated for a noon start.
On the flip side, Ohio State might not host a prime time conference game at Ohio Stadium this year. The team’s Oct. 28 meeting against Penn State will be broadcast at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX due to the network’s airing of a World Series game that night.
“They should want to start thinking of players and what’s expected of them throughout the week,” Meyer said of the Big Ten. “Because if you can’t recover, you don’t get those hours back.”
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