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Penn State AD: Pitt/PSU football series may not return until after 2030

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 8:19 a.m.
Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa.
Pitt's Quadree Henderson runs the ball against Penn State in the first quarter  Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at Beaver Stadium.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Quadree Henderson runs the ball against Penn State in the first quarter Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at Beaver Stadium.

The Pitt/Penn State football rivalry that drew nearly 180,000 people to Heinz Field and Beaver Stadium the past two seasons, appears headed toward its second decade-plus hiatus this century.

Speaking Tuesday night in advance of a coaches caravan stop in New York, Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said she expects the schools to look beyond 2030 to resume the series. The schools also did not play from 2001-2015.

"We've had conversations, but I think at this point we both agreed that based on Big Ten and ACC scheduling principles — and you know it's a complicated puzzle nowadays — that we're probably not going to do anything at this point and look at some point after 2030 to maybe do something," Barbour said, according to Landof10.com and other media outlets.

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke said April 25 that she has presented a proposal to Penn State to resume the series with a four-game agreement starting in 2026. At that point, she said she had not heard from Penn State.

"We're going to wait a tad more patiently," Lyke said, "but not much. We can't. We have people who want to play us and good opportunities to play what would be a very attractive game.

"But I think out of the respect for Penn State and the opportunity within the Commonwealth, we want to play Penn State. If they don't, we will obviously shift gears."

Penn State must play nine Big Ten opponents every year, leaving room for just three non-conference games. Penn State will play Virginia Tech and Auburn in 2020 and 2021, West Virginia in 2023 and 2024 and Virginia Tech again in 2025. Pitt, which plays eight ACC games, has a four-year agreement with West Virginia starting in 2022.

This year's Pitt/Penn State game at Heinz Field on Sept. 8 appears headed for prime time. The Pirates announced last month that their game that day at PNC Park will start at 1 p.m.

Barbour said Tuesday she hasn't heard a start time for the football game. "I'm not quite sure what the Pirates were doing," she said.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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