When the USA women celebrated winning volleyball gold this past weekend at the Tokyo Olympics, it has to be noted that eight of the 12-player team were from the Big Ten, so was an assistant coach, and so were five of the six alternates.
And you can count on a few Big Ten teams being in the national-championship hunt every year and fall 2021 is no exception, with Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue leading the charge.
Accordingly, when the Big Ten Network announces its volleyball schedule, it’s time to mark calendars. The league should be stronger than ever, especially with most of its veteran stars taking advantage of the extra year granted by the NCAA.
This fall the Big Ten Network, no doubt hoping to benefit from the Olympics and planning some new carryover from football, will show a record 47 matches, while six more B1G matches will be shown on ESPN, primarily on ESPNU but also on ESPN2.
That includes Wisconsin, which went to the NCAA-championship match in 2019 and last spring made it to the national semifinals. The Badgers will make 12 Big Ten Network appearances this season. Nebraska and Minnesota will appear on the network 13 times and both they and Wisconsin have ESPN dates.
“The key driver of our expanded coverage has been the willingness at both a conference and university level to collaborate with us at the network on scheduling. Not only has that opened up additional broadcast windows to maximize coverage, but it has also allowed us to pair volleyball matches with other relevant programming,” said Michael Calderon, the Big Ten Network’s senior vice president of digital media and programming.
“For example, on Friday, November 26, Nebraska versus Wisconsin volleyball — two of the conference’s premier programs — will begin shortly after the Nebraska versus Iowa football game ends on BTN. Having that lead in to volleyball results in meaningful viewership increases and additional recognition for the sport. That strategy, along with elite talent in the league, a compelling lineup of doubleheaders and a pretty incredible non-conference schedule, puts us in a great position to help grow the audience for NCAA volleyball.”
What’s more, all non-televised matches will be show on Big Ten Networks+ (btnplus.com). So you can watch every B1G match this season.
“Beyond our TV commitments, we’re also continuing to increase and evolve our digital efforts,” Calderon added. “First and foremost, our goal for this season is to have every non-televised match available to stream on our Big Ten Network+ platform.
“Additionally, we are expanding our ‘At The Net’ offering, a multiplatform, storytelling project which will be available on our social platforms as well as our linear channel. Our B1G Volleyball Instagram account has accumulated about 25,000 followers in less than a year, and we’ll be using additional resources to populate that page with video content.
“With some of the returning star power in the Big Ten, and building off of the momentum created by the U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball team winning gold in Tokyo, we’re optimistic this will be our most successful year covering volleyball yet.”
At The Net includes VolleyballMag.com’s Emily Ehman, who is a regular contributor to our site.
|Aug. 27 (Fri.)||Minnesota vs. Baylor (@Wisconsin)||ESPNU||9:30 p.m.|
|Aug. 28 (Sat.)||Kansas State at Nebraska||BTN||5 p.m.|
|Aug. 28 (Sat.)||Baylor at Wisconsin||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Aug. 28 (Sat.)||Minnesota vs. TCU (@Wisconsin)||BTN||9:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 1 (Wed.)||Texas at Minnesota||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Sept. 3 (Fri.)||Georgia at Nebraska||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 3 (Fri.)||Washington at Illinois||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Sept. 10 (Fri.)||NC State at Rutgers||BTN||6:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 10 (Fri.)||Kentucky at Wisconsin||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Sept. 18 (Sat.)||Louisville at Nebraska||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Sept. 19 (Sun.)||Notre Dame at Ohio State||ESPN2||2 p.m.|
|Sept. 22 (Wed.)||Illinois at Iowa||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 22 (Wed.)||Nebraska at Northwestern||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Sept. 24 (Fri.)||Ohio State at Purdue||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 24 (Fri.)||Michigan at Minnesota||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Sept. 26 (Sun.)||Ohio State at Penn State||BTN||4 p.m.|
|Sept. 29 (Wed.)||Indiana at Ohio State||BTN||6 p.m.|
|Sept. 29 (Wed.)||Penn State at Maryland||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Oct. 1 (Fri.)||Michigan at Nebraska||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 1 (Fri.)||Minnesota at Wisconsin||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Oct. 3 (Sun.)||Michigan State at Nebraska||BTN||4 p.m.|
|Oct. 6 (Wed.)||Iowa at Wisconsin||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 6 (Wed.)||Purdue at Illinois||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Oct. 8 (Fri.)||Nebraska at Penn State||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 8 (Fri.)||Minnesota at Michigan||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Oct. 9 (Sat.)||Illinois at Wisconsin||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Oct. 13 (Wed.)||Northwestern at Minnesota||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Oct. 13 (Wed.)||Indiana at Nebraska||ESPNU||9 p.m.|
|Oct. 15 (Fri.)||Purdue at Ohio State||BTN||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 15 (Fri.)||Wisconsin at Michigan State||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Oct. 17 (Sun.)||Penn State at Purdue||ESPN2||2 p.m.|
|Oct. 20 (Wed.)||Rutgers at Maryland||BTN||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 20 (Wed.)||Michigan State at Purdue||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Oct. 22 (Fri.)||Penn State at Minnesota||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 22 (Fri.)||Ohio State at Wisconsin||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Oct. 23 (Sat.)||Penn State at Wisconsin||BTN||TBD|
|Oct. 23 (Sat.)||Purdue at Nebraska||BTN||TBD|
|Oct. 24 (Sun.)||Ohio State at Minnesota||ESPNU||5 p.m.|
|Oct. 27 (Wed.)||Minnesota at Indiana||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 27 (Wed.)||Wisconsin at Nebraska||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Oct. 29 (Fri.)||Illinois at Rutgers||BTN||TBD|
|Oct. 30 (Sat.)||Nebraska at Minnesota||BTN||8 p.m.|
|Oct. 31 (Sun.)||Wisconsin at Purdue||ESPNU||Noon|
|Nov. 4 (Thurs.)||Minnesota at Ohio State||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 4 (Thurs.)||Nebraska at Illinois||BTN||9 p.m.|
|*Nov. 6 (Sat.)||TBD vs. TBD||BTN||TBD|
|Nov. 14 (Sun.)||Purdue at Minnesota||BTN||3 p.m.|
|Nov. 19 (Fri.)||Michigan at Purdue||BTN||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 19 (Fri.)||Penn State at Nebraska||BTN||9 p.m.|
|Nov. 21 (Sun.)||Penn State at Ohio State||BTN||3 p.m.|
|Nov. 21 (Sun.)||Wisconsin at Minnesota||BTN||5 p.m.|
|Nov. 26 (Fri.)||Nebraska at Wisconsin||BTN||5:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 26 (Fri.)||Minnesota at Penn State||BTN||7:30 or 8 p.m.|