The Hy-Vee Classic, formerly the Big 4 Classic, is coming to an end after 2018. Here's the release from the University of Iowa, who is opting out of the contract:
The University of Iowa announced on Thursday this will be the final year of The Hy-Vee Classic in Des Moines. The one-day event started in 2012, featuring the four Division I men’s basketball programs from the state of Iowa. Each year, Iowa (Big Ten) and Iowa State (Big 12) rotated playing Drake and Northern Iowa, members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
“In our last agreement we added language that provided each institution an opportunity to opt out of the remainder of the contract if they reached 22 required games by the conference,” said Gary Barta, University of Iowa Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics chair. “The addition of two conference games is good for our fans, the Big Ten Conference and our strength of schedule, but unfortunately it created some scheduling challenges that impacts this event.”
Several changes have occurred since the creation of The Hy-Vee Classic. Maryland and Rutgers were added to the Big Ten Conference, and the Missouri Valley Conference added Valparaiso and Loyola after the departure of Wichita State and Creighton. In addition to the Big Ten’s announcement of a 20-game league schedule, the Gavitt Tipoff Games, featuring the Big Ten versus the Big East was also introduced in 2015.
The Hawkeyes will make their final appearance in the men’s basketball event against Northern Iowa on Dec. 15, 2018, at Wells Fargo Arena. Northern Iowa and Drake are not currently included on future Iowa men’s basketball schedules. The annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk game between Iowa and Iowa State will continue as scheduled.
“We truly appreciate the support of the fans in central Iowa, the Wells Fargo Arena staff, and Hy-Vee for their commitment to this event,” added Barta. “As we have in the past, the Hawkeyes will continue to evaluate playing in-state schools on a sport-by-sport, case-by-case basis.”
Iowa has posted a 6-1 record since the first year of the event in 2012.
WHO TV's Michael Admire tweeted quotes from Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard:
Jamie Pollard on the Big Four Classic ending "although we are disappointed that the event will no longer take place after this year, we understand and share many of the same basketball scheduling challenges that U of I is experiencing"— Michael Admire (@Admire_OnAir) June 14, 2018
Pollard on playing UNI or Drake "will most likely depend on each of their institution's willingness to play games at Hilton Coliseum."— Michael Admire (@Admire_OnAir) June 14, 2018
UNI Athletic Director David Harris released this statement:
Drake Athletic Director Brian Harden Tweeted his thoughts:
What has made our state unique on the college basketball landscape was the willingness and cooperation between the state’s four Division I universities to play each other on a regular basis, either by rotating home courts or at a neutral site in our Capital City. I understand...— Brian Hardin (@DrakeADHardin) June 14, 2018
The position that Iowa and Iowa State believe they are in. However, it is a sad day for passionate basketball fans of all four programs who have enjoyed nearly a century of history and rivalries between these four schools that were played in various great venues...— Brian Hardin (@DrakeADHardin) June 14, 2018
In our state. I look forward to working with my colleagues at Iowa, Iowa State and UNI on determining an appropriate next chapter for our Big Four games.— Brian Hardin (@DrakeADHardin) June 14, 2018