Big Ten

Northwestern hopes next game at Wrigley Field comes as soon as next year

Northwestern hopes next game at Wrigley Field comes as soon as next year

Northwestern wants to return to Wrigley Field, and athletics director Jim Phillips is hoping it can happen as soon as next year.

Phillips told the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein that he's hoping to get the Wildcats back to the Friendly Confines for a football game very soon.

"We're anxious to get something done," Phillips said in Greenstein's report. "I'm close with those guys. I talk to (Cubs chairman) Tom (Ricketts) all the time. Everyone is motivated to do it. It's really on their timeline."

The Cats played Illinois on the North Side in 2010, but the game setup was less than ideal, with both teams marching toward the same end zone given tight dimensions at Wrigley. No one wanted a wide receiver to smack into the brick outfield wall while going for a touchdown pass, a perfectly reasonable safety concern. But the game was mocked for that setup, despite the very cool visual of a college football game in a century-old baseball stadium.

So, the next Northwestern game at the corner of Clark and Addison — Greenstein wrote that as many as five more have been agreed to since 2013 — will have to wait until the ongoing Wrigley Field renovations make a football field and adequate space surrounding the field possible.

Could that be as soon as next season, as Phillips hopes? Sounds like the ball is in the Cubs' court. Or field. Diamond, actually. Whatever.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.