Taking advantage of a change in Big Ten nonconference football scheduling policy, Iowa announced the addition of a game against Northern Iowa to its 2020 football schedule on Thursday.
The Hawkeyes completed their schedule for that season by adding a home game against the Panthers on Sept. 5, 2020, and moving a game against Northern Illinois previously scheduled for that date to Sept. 26.
Both games, as well as a nonconference game on Sept. 12 against Iowa State, will be played at Kinnick Stadium.
The match-up against the instate opponent became possible when Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany announced this summer the league was changing a three-year-old policy that prevented conference teams from scheduling non-league games against opponents from the Football Championship Subdivision.
The intent of the original policy was to strengthen schedules and enhance postseason playoff opportunities for Big Ten teams.
It was changed because in years when teams play four conference home games, Big Ten teams were having issues finding an opponent for a seventh home game, something most league teams need to meet revenue requirements to operate their athletic departments.
Big Ten teams are still not allowed to schedule FCS programs in years when they host five conference opponents.
“We didn’t anticipate those scheduling problems so we have modified the policy,’’ Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said at the league’s annual kickoff event in July.
In making its initial policy in 2014, the Big Ten allowed previously contracted games against FCS programs to be played as scheduled, and Iowa will host Northern Iowa on Sept. 15 next season in addition to its newly announced 2020 game.
The Hawkeyes and Panthers last met in 2014, when Iowa needed a pair of second-half touchdown passes by Jake Rudock to hold off UNI 31-23 and overcome a 380-yard passing performance by Sawyer Kollmorgan that included 203 receiving yards by Clinton’s David Johnson.
Northern Iowa previously announced agreements to play its other instate rival, Iowa State, in odd-numbered years through 2023.