Urban Meyer: Limit Conference Road Night Games to Two Per Season

By James Grega on October 11, 2017 at 10:10 pm
Urban Meyer

When Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus, he brought night games with him. 

After playing just seven home night games during the Jim Tressel and Luke Fickell era, the Buckeyes have played 10 since Meyer arrived at Ohio State in 2012. In addition, the Scarlet and Gray have also played 10 true Big Ten road games at night since Meyer arrived.

Ohio State has at least one more conference night game facing it this season, as the Buckeyes are set to play Nebraska at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Meyer, who has advocated for night games in the past, said Wednesday that while he thinks primetime contests have been good for the Big Ten, the amount of night road games a team should play in conference should be limited. 

"I think night games have helped the Big Ten. Obviously, coaches aren't involved in television contracts, but there should be a maximum of two on the road in my opinion," Meyer said. "When I start thinking of players and what is expected of them during the week, you can't recover. You can't get those hours back. I'm talking academically, I'm talking about just your body and just student-athlete welfare. There is no way they should play four road night games."

Already this season, half of Ohio State's games have been played in primetime, two of which have come on the road. In addition, the Buckeyes are not scheduled to play a night conference game at home this season for the first time since 2010.

Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson spent six years as a head coach at Indiana, but did not play in many primetime contests. However, he said Wednesday that he has been impressed with the way Meyer and strength coach Micky Marotti manage the team for multiple night games a season. 

"I think night games have helped the Big Ten. Obviously, coaches aren't involved in television contracts, but there should be a maximum of two on the road in my opinion."– Urban Meyer

"There’s a lot of things you do, and as coaches, we try to work really hard to create energy," he said. "Don’t want to peak too soon, but as you go through the week, I think having been here now for several weeks, there’s a very, really rhythmic way that we approach the week of practice and that leads up to gameday. And I think the kids are comfortable and confident the way we do it."

The preconceived notion about players is that they traditionally prefer night games. However, Ohio State linebacker Dante Booker said Wednesday that waiting around all day to play a game can be draining. 

"It's hard to manage your emotions. A coach will say something and get you pumped up, but then you don't play for another (few) hours," Booker said. "If there is (another) game on, we will watch it. Just watch ball, get off our feet."

After the game against the Cornhuskers, Ohio State will have played each of its Big Ten road games in primetime. While the Buckeyes' regularly scheduled game against Michigan is already set for a traditional noon kick, there is a chance their Nov. 4 contest against Iowa could still be scheduled for a primetime slot. 

Meyer said Wednesday that while he doesn't know whether or not the game against the Hawkeyes will be in primetime, he already thinks four road night games is two too many.

"I understand TV contracts rule, but when you talk about student-athletes, you shouldn't have to play four night games on the road," Meyer said. "I'm going to bring it up to our commissioner and we will find out if we really do care about getting home at 4 o'clock in the morning. You don't do that."

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