HS associations ‘disappointed’ in Big Ten’s choice to play on Fridays

November 8, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
Athletic associations in states with Big Ten schools are expressing disappointment in the conference’s decision to begin playing Friday games during the 2017 football season.

big-tenAssociations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio have all released statements over the last week discussing their positions on the Big Ten’s announcement. The conference, in its new agreements with ESPN/ABC and Fox, will play six primetime games on Fridays next season, and state associations fear that will have a negative impact on attendance, broadcasting and media coverage.

“We are saddened by this decision,” said Michigan High School Athletic Association Executive Director Jack Roberts. “We had hoped that the Big Ten Conference would stay above this. We think this cheapens the Big Ten brand. Fans won’t like this. Recruits won’t like this. And high school football coaches won’t like this.

“We are grateful that Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are trying to minimize the effects of this decision by the Big Ten. But overall, this is just the latest step by major college athletics in the pursuit of cash that is just crushing high school sports.”

The Ohio High School Athletic Association offered a similar opinion.

“We are disappointed by the announcement,” OHSAA director of communications  Tim Stried told Cleveland.com.

“In Ohio on any given Friday night in the fall we have about 350 high school football games across the state. The majority of those folks are Ohio State fans. Something that could keep some folks from going out to see their local high school, obviously we’re not going to be thrilled with that.”

The Big Ten is expected to release its 2017 Friday football schedule in the coming weeks.

Read more on this story from the perspectives of Iowa, Michigan and Ohio athletic associations.

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