Hy-Vee Classic to end after 2018, as Iowa announces it’s pulling out

    The classic hy-vee will be no more.

    The mid-December college basketball event, which featured all four of Iowa’s Division I schools, will end after this season, Iowa announced Thursday. the event first started in 2012.

    Reading: Big 4 classic des moines

    Hawkeyes fans Rodney Richardson, left, and Jon Luke Talton, both of Des Moines, show their support for West Des Moines native Peter Jok when Iowa played Northern Iowa during the Hy-Vee Classic on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

    The Hawkeyes cited an increase of Big Ten games among the reasons it was pulling out after the upcoming season. The final Hy-Vee Classic is scheduled for Dec. 15 at Wells Fargo Arena. Iowa will face UNI, while Iowa State will battle Drake.

    “In our latest agreement, we added language that gave each institution the opportunity to cancel the rest of the contract if they made it to the 22 games required by the conference,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said in a statement. release. “The addition of two conference games is good for our fans, the Big Ten conference and our schedule strength, but unfortunately it created some scheduling challenges that impact this event.”

    The 2018-19 season will mark the first of the Big Ten with 20 conference games. The Big Ten is also paired with the Big East for the Gavitt Throwing Games, which were introduced in 2015, and the Acc for the Big Ten/Acc Challenge. the cy-hawk series between iowa and the state of iowa is also under contract.

    The Hy-Vee Classic was created as an alternative after Iowa and Iowa State ended their annually alternating home-and-homes with Drake and UNI. But the event, which was held at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, never really gained the anticipated traction.

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    For decades, the unique configuration of middle schools housing the top five schools generated excitement across the state. In even-numbered years, Iowa visited Drake and Iowa State traveled to college. In odd-numbered years, Hawk Eyes headed for Cedar Falls and Drake played host to Cyclones. Iowa basketball fans craved those matchups.

    that vibe never translated to classic hy-vee once iowa and the state of iowa opted to discontinue home and homes.

    2017 attendance for iowa’s victory over drake and iowa state’s victory over northern iowa was 13,828; It was the first time attendance fell below 15,000 since 14,512 entered the Wells Fargo Arena in 2013. Attendance at the inaugural event in 2012 was 13,180. Wells Fargo Arena’s official capacity is 16,110. /p>

    “This was not a surprise,” Iowa Events Center General Manager Chris Connolly told the record. “We knew it was a possibility. We’re disappointed. We didn’t want it to end. We’re sorry to see it go. For the past few years, it’s been full or close to capacity.”

    returning to the old home and home model seems highly unlikely, which means future matchups between the top five schools and iowa middle schools remain to be seen.

    In its statement, Iowa said “uni and drake are not currently included on future iowa men’s basketball schedules.”

    iowa state athletics director jamie pollard said in a statement that while the cyclones “would certainly appreciate continuing to play uni or drake in the future, our ability to do so will likely depend on each institution’s willingness to play “. games at the hilton coliseum.”

    “We have certainly enjoyed being a part of the Big Four event in Des Moines,” continued Pollard, “and while we are disappointed that the event is no longer taking place after this year, we understand and share many of the same programming challenges the university of iowa is experiencing.”

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    With no guarantee that iowa and iowa state will face drake and uni for years to come, both top middleweight athletic directors expressed disappointment to see the event come to an end.

    “We are extremely disappointed that the big four classic will end after this year’s event,” uni director of athletics david harris said in a statement. “This event has provided a great opportunity for basketball fans in the state of Iowa to see all four teams compete in one building on the same day. The Big Four Classic was played at a great venue in a centralized area of ​​the state. to help create a great basketball experience in iowa.

    “We certainly appreciate the hard work put in by the staff members from all four schools and the staff at Wells Fargo Arena who enabled the event to attract so much interest. scheduling outside of the conference has been a huge challenge for us due to the success we’ve had over the last few years. our focus going forward will be to explore other options to continue to have an attractive and competitive non-conference schedule for our program and our fans.”

    drake athletic director brian hardin detailed his thoughts in a series of tweets.

    “what has made our state unique in the college basketball landscape was the willingness and cooperation between the state’s four division i colleges to play each other on a regular basis, either on local rotating courts or at a neutral site in our capital city. ”, tweeted hardin.

    “I understand the position that iowa and the state of iowa believe they are in. however, it is a sad day for the passionate basketball fans of the four programs who have enjoyed nearly a century of history and rivalries between these four schools that were played on several great stages in our state. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Iowa, Iowa State, and the University to determine an appropriate next chapter for our Big Four Games.”

    dargan southard covers iowa and uni athletics, des moines recruiting and registration preparation,, and the iowa city press-citizen newspaper. email him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter at @dargan_southard.

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