Wisconsin-Virginia Tech series set to begin 25 years after it was scheduled

By Kevin Kelley -

College football scheduling isn’t an exact science. There are numerous variables at play that can affect when teams can play each other and where.

Even after a contract has been signed, dates may need to be adjusted or a game or two may have to be postponed or canceled altogether. This happens frequently in college football and can be confusing to fans and administrators alike.

One future college football home-and-home series, Wisconsin vs. Virginia Tech, was brought back into the news cycle on Monday when the Badgers scheduled a new home-and-home series with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Wisconsin will host Alabama in Madison on Sept. 14, 2024 and will travel to face the Crimson Tide the following season in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 13, 2025. It’s a great series for both schools and their fans, but not for the Virginia Tech Hokies who were supposed to play Wisconsin on those exact dates.

As part of Wisconsin’s scheduling announcement on Monday, the Badgers revealed that the Virginia Tech series will now be played in 2031 and 2032.

Originally scheduled 13 years ago on June 16, 2006, the Wisconsin-Virginia Tech series has now been postponed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR times! The two schools were initially supposed to meet in 2008 and 2009, but then the series was pushed to 2016 in Blacksburg and 2017 in Madison.

The second amendment to the contract occurred in July of 2013, which moved the games to Sept. 14, 2019 in Madison and Sept. 12, 2020 in Blacksburg.

Just over a year later in October of 2014, the two schools agreed to a third amendment of the contract. This time the series was postponed to the 2024 and 2025 seasons, the same dates that the Alabama series now occupies on Wisconsin’s future slate.

With the series being postponed a fourth time, it will now kick off in 2031, a full 25 years after it was initially scheduled in 2006.

According to a copy of the latest contract amendment obtained from the University of Wisconsin via a state public records request, the new dates for the series are Sept. 13, 2031 in Blacksburg and Sept. 18, 2032 in Madison. The amendment also includes a new cancellation amount, $1 million, which is an increase of $700,000 from the previous contract.

With the increase in the cancellation fee, it’s evident that the two schools want to see the series they scheduled a quarter of a century ago come to fruition.

Although this situation is unique, it’s not the first time there’s been a huge gap between the signing of a contract and the games actually being played.

LSU and Oklahoma signed a contract for a home-and-home series back in 2005. The games were scheduled for 2018 and 2019, but the series was postponed in 2013 to unspecified dates. Then in 2014, the two schools agreed to play in Norman in 2027 and in Baton Rouge in 2028.

Also in 2005, LSU signed an agreement with Arizona State for games in 2015 and 2016. In 2013, the series was postponed to the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Three years later, the series was pushed back again to 2026 and 2029, and then last year it was changed a third time to 2029 at LSU and 2030 at Arizona State.

That means that the Tigers and Sooners will face off 22 years after the contract was signed, while the Tigers won’t face the Sun Devils until 24 years after their initial agreement.

Athletes that will play in these games were likely not even born when the contracts were signed. Welcome to the wacky world of college football scheduling.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that the Wisconsin-Virginia Tech series has been postponed three times. It has been postponed four times.

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Comments (7)

Actually the 2016-17 dates weren’t the first. I don’t know when the series was scheduled, but it was originally set for 2008 in Madison and 2009 in Blacksburg. The 2006 date reference was when the original dates were scrapped, reportedly at the request of then-Badger coach Bret Bielema because the 2008 date was one week before a Wisconsin game at Michigan.

I think it’s important to remember, too, that the round of conference realignment in 2010 or so also played a part in some of these games getting pushed back.

Since they have postponed the dates 3 times does that mean one school has to pay the “cancellation” fee in the contract. I can see a lawyer saying postponing is not cancellation. Also it was Wisconsin postponing this last time, but who postponed the other two times?

It’s actually been moved four times (edited). If both schools mutually agree to move the game, no cancellation fee is paid.

The contracts don’t specify why the games were moved. But I think it was moved previously when the Big Ten moved to nine conference games.