CHICAGO – The future of the Big Four Classic, held the past two years in Des Moines, may be in limbo.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Wednesday the event – featuring the Hawkeye men’s basketball team along with Iowa State, Drake and Northern Iowa – has been a success.
But he declined to talk about whether it will continue beyond the current four-year arrangement.
“It was a four-year contract, and so we have two years remaining,” Barta said. “It’s been very successful. I think all four (in-state athletic directors) would say that it’s met expectations, lived up to what we envisioned in terms of competitiveness, in terms of the fan base interest and excitement.
“It’s too early to talk about whether or not it will continue or not.”
Does that mean it’s up in the air?
“Not really,” Barta said. “Clearly when we made the move to the Big Four, one of the factors that I had included was the fact we had gone to 18 Big Ten games, we had a Big Ten-ACC Challenge, and most recently we came out with the Big Ten-Big East Challenge.
“So it continues to factor in to how I’m going to put a schedule together that gives our program a chance to compete for championships, both the Big Ten championship and deep into the NCAA (Tournament).”
The Big Four was a change from years of Iowa and Iowa State playing both Drake and Northern Iowa on an annual basis.
“At this point, we have two years left and there’s no discussion about whether we’re going to renew that or not,” Barta said. “There’s probably interest in discussion, but at this point we’re not looking to renew it … or not renew it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball