Illinois scraps Soldier Field games against Northwestern

Josh Ferguson #6 of the Illinois Fighting Illini scores a touchdown against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half on November 29, 2014 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Josh Ferguson #6 of the Illinois Fighting Illini scores a touchdown against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half on November 29, 2014 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman says the Illini will no longer play Northwestern at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Illinois in recent years has played Northwestern every other season at the stadium. The Illini gave up on-campus games against the Wildcats to try to gain visibility in Chicago.

Northwestern’s home dates in the series are played at its campus in Evanston. The teams will meet there Nov. 26.

Whitman said in a news release Tuesday that “we feel strongly that we should play our traditional rivalry games in Champaign.”

Illinois will continue to play what he described as a “major non-conference opponent” at Soldier Field every four years.

The next such game will be against South Florida on Set. 15, 2018.

Northwestern did not immediately respond to a request for comment.