CHAMPAIGN — Illinois football will play its Orange and Blue Spring Game next month, the team announced Monday.
Bret Bielema’s first on-field event as Illini coach — albeit an intrasquad exhibition — will transpire at 7 p.m. April 19 at Memorial Stadium and be broadcast by Big Ten Network.
Illinois hasn’t conducted a spring game since April 13, 2019, when Lovie Smith was in charge of the program. Team Butkus defeated Team Grange 24-10, with the former group including the first-team defense and the latter outfit including the first-team offense.
Fans will not be permitted inside Memorial Stadium for this year’s scrimmage, as they were for the most recent spring game.
“Right now, the policy is no fans or family at any of our events,” team spokesman Kent Brown told The News-Gazette.
No spring game was played in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2019 event was the Illini’s first spring game since 2015.
According to a press release, Bielema’s crew will begin spring practices later this month and continue them “through late April, including the week following the Orange and Blue Spring Game.”