1990 football schedule: two Big 8’s, one Big 10

By Jeff Kirik

The 1990 NIU football schedule, which features games against Nebraska, Kansas State and Northwestern, was one of 16 schedules approved by the NIU Athletic Board Wednesday.

The other 15 NIU sports also had their 1989-90 schedules approved at the board’s meeting in the Heritage South Room of the Holmes Student Center. Several of the schedules are still incomplete.

The contest with Nebraska, the Huskies’ second game that season, will mark the second year in a row NIU will have visited Lincoln, Neb. The first matchup with the Cornhuskers will take place this season on Sept. 9.

To keep its Division I football status, the NIU football team will have to meet NCAA attendance requirements during the 1989 or 1990 season. To qualify as Division I, teams must draw at least an average of 17,000 per home game or an average of 20,000 for both home and away games.

Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell said he thought the 1990 schedule would give NIU a good chance to meet those requirements if the team does not qualify in 1989.

“I will say that if everything goes the way it should (in 1990), yes, we should qualify,” O’Dell said. “The only other way we could have done better would have been to try to schedule Florida, Oklahoma … and put ourselves in the situation we were in a few years ago.” (In 1986, NIU took its lumps from Iowa, West Virginia and Miami of Florida).

The Huskies will open the 1990 season on Labor Day (Sept. 1) against Western Illinois. O’Dell said he hopes to sell at least 10,000 advance tickets for that game, in spite of the fact that Labor Day games usually have poor attendances.

The third week of the season will see NIU travel to Toledo. That game should be the Rockets’ first in their new stadium, if the structure is completed in time.

The Big Eight’s Kansas State will visit Huskie Stadium the following week. In reference to that game O’Dell said, “If we can’t sell out that game, then there’s something wrong.”

After playing at Northwestern on Sept. 29, NIU will play home games versus Fresno State, Murray State and Arkansas State. The season will end with road contests against Akron, East Carolina and Southwestern Louisiana.

The men’s basketball schedule, which has all but four dates filled, is very similar to the Huskies’ 1988-89 schedule. O’Dell said he will wait until a new men’s basketball coach is chosen before settling on final dates for NIU’s games against Toledo, Rice, Lamar and Western Kentucky.

Board members Lou Jean Moyer and Joel Swift voted against approving the men’s basketball schedule because it features a game at Northern Iowa (Dec. 9) that is on the weekend before finals week. All other schedules were approved unanimously.

The board adjourned the meeting before addressing a proposed change in the university’s athletic eligibility rules. That issue, along with two operational resolutions, will be discussed at the board’s May 3 meeting.