football

Too much to overcome

PurdueathleticdirectorMorganBurkeinsistsheandNotreDameADJackSwarbrick"workedeveryangle"totrytokeeptheschools'footballseriesgoingwithoutinterruption.
But,ultimately,thereweretoomanychallengestoovercome.
Theresultisnotonlyafive-yearbreakinaseriesthathasbeenplayedannuallysince1946butalsonoguaranteethatthetwoschoolswilleverreachthatkindofconsistencyagain.
Oncetheteamsresumetherivalryin2020afterthebreak,there'sstillatwo-yearspanin2022and2023inwhichthegamewon'tbeplayed.
"Attheendoftheday,thesearetheslotsthatwecouldbothagreeonandwouldbothworkforus,"Burkesaid."Wetriedtogetitoutto2026,sopeoplewouldknow(itmatters).Ithinkwe'regoingtoplaysixtimesina10-12yearperiod.Wedidn'twanttojusttalkaboutwhatwasgoingtohappennextyearandahiatus.Wetriedtolookbothintothenextdecade.
"Bothofusaretakingalittlebitofarisk.Idon'tknowwhatthefutureconfigurationoftheBigTenwillbeorthecommitmentswe'llhaveforconferencegames,andthere'ssomeuncertaintyinhislifeaswell.Bothofusrespectthetradition.Ithinkthiswasourwayoftryingtosay,'Look,we'regoingtocontinuetoplayonaperiodicbasisbutanannualgameisnotgoingtobetheforeseeablefuture.'"
Theimpetusofthechangeswaslargelyspurredataconferencelevel,Burkesaid,andoutoftheschools'control.
TheBoilermakers'issuewastheBigTenexpandingandaddinganextragametotheconferenceschedule,andtheIrishweredealingwiththeircommitmenttotheACC,Burkesaid.
InsteadofplayingNotreDamefrom2015-2019,PurdueaddedVirginiaTechandiswaitingonasignedcontractfromMissouritofillsomeholes.BurkealsosaidtheBoilermakershaveanotherBCSschoolthatwillbeaddedto2017,buthewouldn'treleaseitonThursday.
EvenwiththeadditionoftheHokiesandtheTigers,it'slikelymanyfanswon'tviewtheswapwiththeIrishasafairtrade.
ButBurkesaidhedoesn'tthinklosingtheNotreDameseriesonanannualbasishurtsPurdue.
"Idon'tthinkourfootballprogramdependsuponplayingNotreDame,andIdon'tthinkNotreDame'sfootballprogramdependsuponplayingPurdue,"Burkesaid."Havingsaidthat,thesetwoschoolshaveplayedalotofgamesagainsteachother.Wehavealotofthingsincommon.Wehavealotofrespectforeachother.Idon'tliketoseetraditionsbroken,whichiswhywetriedtolookatitintothefutureandcreateapathwaysopeoplewouldn'tthinktherewassomekindofchasmbetweentheschools.
"Butattheendoftheday,thisisgoingtogivePurdueanopportunitytobringsomepeopleintoRoss-AdeStadiumwehaven'tbeenabletodo.Soyou'regoingtocontinuetoseeaBCS-typeconference(opponent)inhereandyou'realsogoingtoseeanextraBigTengame,bothofwhicharesomethingourfanbasesaidthey'dliketosee,aschedulethathasmorestrengthtoitandthat'swhatwe'retryingtocreate."
Askedwhetherbudgingonhisinsistenceonsevenhomegamesinaseasonhadanythingtodowithnotbeingabletoextendtherivalry,Burkesaidno.
"Whenyouschedule,ittakesbothsidestoschedule.Ithinkwe'veshownsomeflexibilityandmovingsomethingsaroundandthelike,andIthinkJackdid,"Burkesaid."Therewasarumorifwewouldhavewenttosixhomegames,wecouldhavekeptitgoing.Thatwasneverreallyafactorbecauseitwouldn'thavemadeadifference."
SouthEndzoneupdateThenextstepintheSouthEndzoneprojectisconductingamarketstudy,whichwilloccurinthefirsthalfof2014.
AsBurkehassaidbefore,theprojectincludesthreemajorelements,technology(videoboards,soundsystem),anewcontemporaryseatingoptionandimprovinginfrastructuretothestadium.
Whiletalkingabouttheareasoftheproject,BurkementionedhewilldeterminesomeoptionsforlightinginRoss-AdeStadium.Thattopichasbeenheatedlydiscussedamongsomefans,andBurke'sstancegenerallyhasbeenthatwhenadonorsteppedupandpaidforthem,Purduewouldhavethem.
Hehasn'tnecessarilychangedhisopinion,butwithapotentialshiftintheTVlandscapeupcoming,heislookingattheoptions.
"It'scleartomethatinthatnextroundof(TV)negotiations,wecananticipatemoreprimetimegamesbeingontheBigTenplate,"Burkesaid."Bottomlineis,weneedtoatleast-aswe'regoingtogothroughthisefforttolookattheSouthendzone-weneedtoatleastunderstandwhatouroptionsaregoingtobe.Wewilldothataspartofthiseffort.
"We'dberemissifyou'regoingtolookatthemajorinvestmentinthestadiumifyoudon'tlookatwhatthoseoptionsare.I'mnotgoingtosaywe'regoingtodothem,butwe'dbesillynottolookatit.Iliketoremindpeoplethatnetworkspayforlights.Wemayfeelbestoptionisto(continueto)workwithMusco(Lighting)."
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