Illinois’ 2021 football opener vs. Nebraska is moved from Ireland to Champaign

Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune
·1 min read

Illinois will kick off the 2021 football season against Nebraska at home instead of in Dublin, Ireland, because of COVID-19, the team announced Wednesday.

The game will be played Aug. 28 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

“This is very disappointing for our athletic program, our team and for the fans who were planning to attend the game in Dublin,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “For our players, staff and fans, this would have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We will work diligently with Irish American Events and the Big Ten Conference to find a future opportunity for us to take Fighting Illini football to the Emerald Isle.”

The statement did not detail information about refunds, but it said ticket holders will be contacted by their purchase providers.

The Big Ten released 2021 schedules Feb. 5, and at the time, the game still was scheduled for Ireland. It would have been Illinois’ first overseas football game and the seventh FBS game to be played in Ireland.