Wrigley Field won’t be the site of a college football game between Northwestern and Wisconsin in November.
Northwestern announced Wednesday that the game would be moved because of the coronavirus pandemic. As of now, there’s no guarantee that the 2020 college football season will be played as scheduled and it’s very unlikely that many, if any, fans will be able to attend the games that are played.
“This is a disappointing conclusion to reach, but absolutely the right one in our current environment,” Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said. “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 gameday to the city’s north side when we can do so safely and securely with a packed house.”
The game is not the first 2020 neutral-site game that’s been moved because of the pandemic. Notre Dame and Navy were supposed to open the season in Ireland, but that game will be played at Navy’s home stadium.
Tuesday, the Texas State Fair was canceled, though both Oklahoma and Texas say their annual October rivalry game is still on schedule.
Northern Illinois also said Wednesday that its game against BYU at SeatGeek Stadium in the greater Chicago area would now be played at its home stadium. The game was set to happen in the regular stadium for an MLS team, the Chicago Fire.
Other neutral-site games, like Wisconsin’s game against Notre Dame at Lambeau Field and Alabama’s tilt with USC in Arlington, Texas, are still on for now. But that could change in the coming weeks, especially as it becomes increasingly clear that attendance is going to be significantly impacted at college football games across the country because of the pandemic.
Northwestern and Illinois met at Wrigley Field in 2010 in the first college football game at the historic baseball stadium since 1938. That game was unique for more reasons than its location. Only one end zone was used for fear of a player running into the outfield wall in the end zone in right field.
This year’s game was supposed to be the first game at Wrigley since that 2010 game. Instead, it will move to Northwestern’s Ryan Field if it’s played as scheduled on Nov. 7.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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