Gophers-Michigan game officially changed

Aaron Blake

The Big Ten announced Wednesday that Minnesota’s football game versus Michigan on Oct. 11 will be moved to 7 p.m. Oct. 10 to avoid a possible conflict with the Minnesota Twins postseason schedule.

In addition, the contest Oct. 18 versus Michigan State has been approved for a move to 7 p.m. Oct. 17 if necessary, for the same reason.

The Michigan game could create a clash if the Twins advance past the division series and into the American League Championship Series. The Michigan State game could interfere with the first game of the World Series, which will be held at the American League team’s home stadium.

In addition, the Gophers will be financially responsible for any extra expenditures Michigan or Michigan State incur because of the scheduling change. The applicable costs include hotel, travel and administrative expenses.

Fans who planned to travel from either school can also seek reimbursement for financial loss related to unusable game tickets.

“This is something that was part of what the commissioner recommended in his proposal,” University Athletics Director Joel Maturi said. “I can respect that. I’m hoping the dollars are not significant. I don’t anticipate the dollars to be significant, but obviously that remains to be seen.”

Michigan and Michigan State both initially opposed moving the games to their respective Fridays, but an administrative council composed of the 11 Big Ten athletic directors approved the change unanimously Tuesday.

Michigan agreed but remained defiant.

“We are sympathetic to the situation that Minnesota finds itself in,” Michigan Athletics Director Bill Martin said via e-mail. “We are opposed to playing Big Ten football on any other day than Saturday, and we will work to ensure that the Big Ten Conference remains a Saturday-only conference.”

The administrative council will also review the schedules for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons, should similar conflicts arise.