The University of Wisconsin football team will not play Northwestern at Wrigley Field this season.
Northwestern's athletic department and the Chicago Cubs announced Wednesday, July 8, the decision to move the game, which is scheduled for Nov. 7. The move was made due to a number of uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Northwestern's website, the game will be played at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. The kickoff time is yet to be determined.
"This is a disappointing conclusion to reach, but absolutely the right one in our current environment," Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips said in a statement. "The uncertainty of football and baseball schedules, and the possibility of limited attendance, made this an easy choice to make for our student-athletes and fans. We're grateful for our outstanding partners from the Cubs, and look forward to bringing the passion and pageantry of college football game day to the city's north side when we can do so safely and securely with a packed house."
Northwestern last played at Wrigley Field in 2010, marking the first college football game at the baseball stadium since 1938. Northwestern has an agreement in place to play there in 2022, '24 and '26.
The Wildcats' 2010 game against Illinois at Wrigley Field brought a good deal of fanfare and prompted a visit from ESPN's "College Gameday," but the field had just one end zone due to dimensions of the ballpark. Renovations in recent years would have allowed two playable end zones had UW and Northwestern played there.
College football's return this fall is far from guaranteed, and many questions are waiting to be answered, including whether fans will be allowed in the stands.
UW's game at Wrigley was one of two games scheduled for nontraditional college football venues this season. The Badgers are scheduled to play Notre Dame on Oct. 3 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay as part of two-year agreement with the Fighting Irish, with the 2021 game scheduled for Chicago's Soldier Field.
Doubt about that game's viability began last month when a report stated the Lambeau game might be moved, potentially to one of the teams' home stadiums. UW deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh told ESPN Wisconsin that no discussions had taken place with Notre Dame, but Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said during a radio interview in mid-June that it was a possibility.
Wherever they play, it will be the first matchup between UW and the Fighting Irish since 1964.
The Badgers are scheduled to open the 2020 season on Sept. 4 against Indiana at Camp Randall Stadium.
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