Should Pennsylvania have a spring football practice period? We think so.

I know what you’re thinking: Frisco’s sucking up to Joe Paterno, Dave Wannstedt and the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association, who came out strongly in favor of adopting spring footbal. Well, if you say so, but I’ve been leaning toward spring football in Pa. for a while.

The arguments pro and con are numerous, well-documented and well-discussed. I won’t bore you with a comprehensive list (or a comprehensive argument), just the highlights.

The biggest arguments against: Risk of injury, loss of athletes from other spring sports and sheer overkill.

The biggest arguments in favor: A chance for football players to re-sharpen their skills and receive significantly more exposure to colleges at all levels, not just Division I.

The latter point was firmly made by Wannstedt and Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko, last year’s Big 33 head coach and a member of PFSCA’s executive board.

And I agree with them. College coaches swarm the country during May, the contact period allowed by the NCAA. As Wannstedt said, giving a coach the ability to stop by a school and watch the players actually practicing football instead of the euphemistic “conditioning drills” is a huge advantage for those players. You can learn a lot more with a live look than you can with a press box DVD.

Spring practice has proven to be successful in other states. Florida’s spring football is so successful that the practice period ends with jamboree games, either intrasquad games or school versus school matchups. How successful has this been? Schools charge admission to these jamborees; the Florida high school association gets a cut of the revenue.

That might get the PIAA’s attention.

Some states think outside the box with spring football. In Texas, only schools in the top two classifications are permitted to have spring drills. Some schools forgo the spring in order to start fall practice a week earlier than those that conduct spring practice.

Spring football practice in Pennsylvania is a longshot at this moment in time, even with the Paterno-Wannstedt blessing and backing. But I think there are some cracks in the PIAA dam; there’s a chance this could gain momentum and result in some form of spring practice.

Frankly, I would welcome that because I have an agenda: for me, football can never come soon enough.

  One Response to “Daily Rant, May 5: Thumbs up on spring football”

  1. If the proposal is after spring sports is over, which is the end of May, what is that much different than they are doing right now? I know most schools start their summer conditioning after spring sports are over.

    Will spring practice be that much different? I just think we sometimes ask too much of our student-athletes. I know times have changed but I still think kids still need time to study and to be a kid. Perhaps I am too old-school.

    Your points are well taken.

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