This upcoming season will mark the final year of the Hy-Vee Classic; Iowa announced on Thursday it is pulling out of the event after 2018.
The Hy-Vee Classic, also known as the Big 4 Classic, began in 2012. The one-day event in Des Moines featured four Division I men’s basketball teams from the state of Iowa: Iowa (Big Ten), Iowa State (Big 12), Drake (Missouri Valley Conference) and Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley Conference). Each year, Iowa and Iowa State rotated playing Drake and Northern Iowa.
Iowa to end its participation in the Big 4 Classic after this season, per news release. Not unexpected with 20-game B1G schedule.
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) June 14, 2018
“In our last agreement we added language that provided each institution an opportunity to opt out of the remainder of the contract if they reached 22 required games by the conference,” said Gary Barta, University of Iowa Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics chair, in the press release. “The addition of two conference games is good for our fans, the Big Ten Conference and our strength of schedule, but unfortunately it created some scheduling challenges that impacts this event.”
Many factors contributed to the end of the Hy-Vee Classic, including the Big Ten’s announcement of a 20-game league schedule. Since the creation of the Big 4 Classic, both Rutgers and Maryland have been added to the Big Ten, and Loyola and Valparaiso joined the Missouri Valley Conference after Creighton and Wichita State departed from the conference.
Although Drake and Northern are not included on future Iowa basketball schedules, the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk game between the Hawkeyes and Iowa State will continue.
The Hawkeyes have gone 6-1 in the Hy-Vee Classic.
“We truly appreciate the support of the fans in central Iowa, the Wells Fargo Arena staff, and Hy-Vee for their commitment to this event,” Barta said in the release. “As we have in the past, the Hawkeyes will continue to evaluate playing in-state schools on a sport-by-sport, case-by-case basis.”
Iowa’s final appearance in the event will come on Dec. 15 against Northern Iowa at the Wells Fargo Arena.