Indiana was scheduled to play Florida State tomorrow night at 9:30p in the Big 10/ACC Challenge. Game time has been changed to 7:15p, which is far more convenient for those of us who work for a living.
Games that start at or after 9p end after 11p – sometimes well after 11p – and the cooling down period can cause fans to put off their sleep for another hour if the game was close. That would means a weary Thursday, if the game was to be played as scheduled.
We understand why ESPN and other networks like the late starts. They accommodate the viewers in the Pacific Time Zone, for whom the game begins at 6p and ends roughly at 8p. The staggered start times are purely for the viewers and cash available for more events, and that explains why Purdue plays Miami today at 5p. Lining up three sets of games at 5p, 7:15p, and 9:30p is more profitable for ESPN, the Big 10, and ACC than a more crowded slate of games at 7:00p. As we know, it’s all about the cash as student-athletes and our love for the alma mater are “exploited.”
When Bob Knight was the coach at IU, he used to rail against the 9p starts as inconvenient for student-athletes. His point was that if a team tipped off on the road at 9p, it was unlikely his players’ heads would hit the pillow before four in the morning. If kids had early morning classes, that would cause them to be less than his best as professors presented critical information about sociology, finite math, or Taoism. Oh the humanity.
Remote learning has virtually eliminated student-athlete concerns, so that worry is part of a lost era. And let’s be honest, knowing what we do about Knight, it was much more likely he was pissed about his own inconvenience than the players. After all, wasn’t he well known for calling a practice after they got home if his Hoosiers lost?
My concern about start time is purely selfish. The academic welfare of Trayce Jackson-Davis is his problem – not mine. When I was a student at IU, my bedtime was immaterial to me, so why would I invest my energy in caring deeply about when Khristian Lander gets home?
What I do care about is when I get to bed, so the Hoosiers playing at 7:15p beats a 9:30p start because it means I get a head start toward a good night sleep and a productive Thursday.
I’m not sure when Knight goes to bed these days, but I’m guessing he’s as happy as I am game time has been moved up a couple of hours – and not because it improves the academic experience for Archie Miller‘s players.