Thursday, May 1, 2008

Colleges should leave Friday night football to high schools

Before it scheduled a Friday night college football game with Wofford on ESPN2 for Halloween night, Appalachian State’s athletic department contacted its local high school, Watauga, and the N.C. High School Athletic Association to let them know about their plans.

That was a good move, but I still hope this is not a trend.

Friday nights are for high school football. Always have been. College football shouldn’t be played on Friday nights. Ever.

I get why App. State would want to play the game. It’s national TV. It’s a big matchup between teams that shared the Southern Conference title last year.

Bottom line, ESPN shouldn’t even be offering schools these Friday night games as it has done since 2004. Schools, like App. State, are hard pressed to say no to a rare shot at national exposure, which can greatly aid recruiting – and Pandora’s box is opening wider and wider. Can I see a day where we have a weekly Friday night football package of college football? I think I can. And it’s not a good thing.

High schools depend on Friday night football to pay the bills for entire athletics departments. Putting college football games on at the same time creates unnecessary competition, especially when high school football literally feeds the college game with players. Also teams such as Appalachian, which might hope to showcase itself to those potential recruits, would be playing these showcase games at the same time the recruits are playing for their high school teams. So those recruits would have to TiVo.

It’s not a win-win.

The App. State-Wofford game forced Watauga High to move its game to Thursday. I don’t think a Thursday night crowd will be the same as on a Friday. Kids have to go to school the next day, parents to work. I think too many people will stay home. And on Friday, there will be fans of other teams who also stay home to watch the big Southern Conference college game and not support the local high schools.

Again, it’s not a win-win.

N.C. High School Athletic Association executive director Charlie Adams was appreciative that Appalachian officials gave his organization plenty of warning about this year’s game. That allowed schools to change game dates if needed. But he said this can’t continue. And he’s right. Colleges simply can’t call up and say, "Sorry, you’re playing Thursday this week." That won’t make playing on Fridays OK.

"We do not support any college or university televising a football game in the traditional Friday night high school football slot," Adams said. "We hope that this is not the beginning of a consistent pattern of games being played and televised in North Carolina on the primary night that high school teams play, because we believe that could really damage our programs."

And that’s definitely not a win-win.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for saying this Langston. It needed to be. Im an Appalachian grad and I hate this all together.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone is as mad at this as me.

Anonymous said...

Get over it.........

It's about money for the network and money for the schools. That's why they are both business. I would hope to think that anyone locked into their high school would go to the high school game regardless of what's on TV. You may not like the idea, but you also have no numbers to back up the validity of the claim that it's hurting high school football.

Anonymous said...

A lot of least when I was in high school, move the games to Thursday anyway, when a Friday night is Halloween.
Great move on App's part.

Anonymous said...

When did God set football nights in stone? I dont recall Him or any other deity proclaiming Friday nights as High School Football Night. Any university has its own God given, government insured right to play whenever they please. Back the heck off.

Anonymous said...

The NCHSAA needs to grow up and stop acting like babies. God-forbid Appalachian State accepts a friday night football game to get national television exposure. How stupid would it be to turn down a game on espn2 to bow to the wishes of the NCHSAA????? By the way, the few high school football games Ive been to, its just a social event. Nobody even watches the games

Anonymous said...

If Friday nights are for HS football am I to assume thatyou think Saturdays are for college football?

If so, where is your rant regarding the NCHSAA holding their championship games on Saturdays and cutting into the colleges sacred day for football.

As they say, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Anonymous said...

If colleges should leave Friday night football to high schools, then high schools should leave Saturday football to colleges. Independence High School lost a historic game on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2007 to Elder (Ohio). Independence is under the administration of the NCHSAA. So if the NCHSAA sanctioned Independence playing a high school football game on SATURDAY and now speaks out against a college football program playing on FRIDAY, I am left to conclude that the NCHSAA is hypocritical. In addition, the NCHSAA holds playoff/championship games on SATURDAYS.

Anonymous said...

For the sake of it let's just say that CA is right and it hurt high school footballs gate....let's also say that 30,000 people show up to the game and all 30,000 people would have otherwise attended a high school football game in North Carolina that night. Let's also for the sake of it say that it cost $6 to get into a high school football game. So, It cost the state of North Carolina's high school football teams $180,000 for us to host the game. Let's also say that there are some 350 high schools (number rounded) with 175 hosting a game...that comes out to $1028 per game.

I would be willing to bet that less than 25% of those 30,000 would attend a high school what we are really saying is that at best it will cost the average high school in NC around $250 for ASU to play on Friday night. If Chuck and Drip are so concerned about the plight of HS athletics then let the high schools split the entire amount of the of the endowment games. The greed and the arrogance of the NCHSAA is astounding!

Anonymous said...

Langston, I wish it was only High School Friday night football that was at issue. However the some of the comments about the "greed" of the NCHSAA are correct.

If the NCHSAA truly had the High School Athlete's best interest at heart, kids would not be returning from a basketball game at midnight on a school night.

The top heavy managment would not draw the outrageous salaries--- (C.Adams 180K) to walk around and not act like he is dead. He has no value.

And, they would have resolved this Charlotte eligibily issue in a timely manner and not waited until the football games were played and the gate receipts in the NCHSSA bank account.

They need to be held accountable and most of all their hypocritical mantra of doing what is best for the athelete and sports programs reveiwed.

Anonymous said...

Your concern Langston is understandable but, this genie is long out of the bottle. For years, with the expansion and obvious demand for cable sports television, all levels of football have been encroaching on traditional time slots. Even Charlotte area Pop Warner games are being carried by cable. As a longtime App State fan, it is exciting to see this attention being bestowed on a well-deserving NC football program.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd say this. I agree w/you Langston. I usually find your overly dramatic prose a bit much. you hit it on the head here. college on friday will crush the high school game. it's easy for us to come here now and say its just 1 game and it wont cost much. what happens when theres some every week? it will hurt.

Anonymous said...

Friday nights in the Fall will be exclusively HS football. This IS one game in NC that is being played on Friday night. I seriously doubt that this is a trend. Colleges will only move to Friday night for TV purposes. How often will this happen to a NC university? Of course, in other places around the country ESPN may televise Friday night games but I doubt they much impact on HS football in NC.

Anonymous said...

So if ESPN offered to nationally televise a high school football game if the game was moved to Saturday, the NCHSAA would oppose it. I seriously doubt it. The NCHSAA really needs to get over themselves and stop taking their role in the world of sports so seriously. I would dare say this is the most press the NCHSAA has received in quite some time if not ever, which leads me to think this is their motivation for the controversy.

Anonymous said...

A high school football crazy fan will not abandon their local teams weekly for second tier college football on national tv. This is a local issue for one week of the season. This is not a national issue!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Langston for supporting HS sports. With gas prices getting higher and higher the high schools need every opportunity they can get to fund the entire athletic dept. with Friday night games.

Shame on ESPN for sticking it to our high schools.