Busload of Badgers

Wisconsin gets first taste of rekindled Big Ten rule

Badger fans making the drive to West Lafayette Friday might just pass the Wisconsin football team along the way.

Due to a new version of an old Big Ten rule, Wisconsin must make a five-hour bus ride to Purdue. The Badgers and Boilermakers kick off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Ross-Ade Field.

"It's not that far of a drive but I just have to hope they have some movies," senior defensive end Jonathan Welsh said.

"It's a cost containment measure; a rule set by the Big Ten," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "We did this probably in the mid to early '90s and I remember Minnesota was supposed to bus down [to Madison] but they got a good price on a plane. So they chartered and then someone else did and it went up for grabs and the rule went out the window."

The rule returned over the summer, mandating that when teams travel to an opponent that is within 300 miles of their campus, they must drive there but can charter a plane for the trip home. This season Wisconsin will also drive to Iowa City for a Nov. 20 game at Iowa. In future campaigns the Badgers will also need to make bus trips when traveling to face Minnesota, Northwestern or Illinois.

"We were not crazy about it," Alvarez said of Wisconsin's take on the rule. "We have a tremendous contract with Midwest Express…Our savings is not substantial and we talked to the league about that because we had another year on our contract. Yet, they felt like it was important enough just for everyone to bus and wouldn't give us any leeway on it."

"It reminds me a little bit of high school but we never had to drive that far," junior tight end Owen Daniels said. "My junior year we had to drive down to Champaign [a 150-mile drive from Daniels' native Naperville] for a state championship game. You just try to make it go by as quickly as possible. Listen to music or read or watch a movie or something. It is not something that anybody really wants to do."

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