Iowa men’s basketball still in Hy-Vee Classic but has ability to bow out
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Surprised we are still playing Hy-Vee classic since BIG going to 20 game schedule
— Jon Danielson (@JonDanielson) April 13, 2018
ANSWER: Iowa men’s basketball is scheduled to participate for two more years in the Hy-Vee Classic, which takes place at Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena. The one-day event includes Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Drake. This year, the Hawkeyes meet Northern Iowa on Dec. 15 and face the Bulldogs on Dec. 21, 2019. Iowa and Iowa State play each year outside of the Hy-Vee Classic, while UNI and Drake compete at least twice annually in the Missouri Valley Conference. Land of 10 obtained the contract through an open-records request.
The Hy-Vee Classic took the place of an annual round-robin of the state’s four Division I men’s basketball programs. Until 2012, every school played the other on campus. Usually the first full week of December, Iowa would face Northern Iowa on a Tuesday then followed with a game against Iowa State on the ensuing Friday. The Hawkeyes would end their part of in-state competition with a game against Drake a week later.
Iowa and Iowa State discontinued the round-robin after the 2011-12 season and a compromise was reached. The teams would rotate with a one-day showcase in Des Moines. So far the results are mixed. Whenever UNI plays, it’s usually a competitive game. It’s not the case when Drake plays Iowa or Iowa State. The event struggles to gain television access, and it hasn’t become the must-see celebration envisioned by organizers in 2012.
The event is in jeopardy, however. There’s a clause for any of the schools to leave the Hy-Vee Classic with 18 months notice should its conference commit a team to 22 games each year. With the Big Ten expanding the league schedule to 20 games, plus an annual game in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge and a semi-regular date in the Gavitt Games against the Big East, Iowa has reached its limit. At this time, the Hawkeyes have not pulled out for 2019 but has enough time to do so. I doubt the Hy-Vee Classic will continue beyond 2019, however.
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