protect Fridays for high school football

With the Big Ten Conference joining the trend to play more football games on Friday nights this season, officials for the national organization overseeing high school sports say enough is enough.

In a resolution aimed to protect the Friday night tradition of high school football, the Indianapolis-based National Federation of State and High School Association (NFHS) is urging schools and teams at the college and professional levels to schedule games on other days.

Here is full text of the NFHS resolution:

“Be it RESOLVED that every Friday night during the fall in America is ‘High School Football Night.’

“Be it FURTHER RESOLVED that college and professional football teams should refrain from scheduling contests on Friday nights. Such restraint would be an investment in their own future success. It would also demonstrate that high school football has value well beyond the field of play. Schools, communities and scholastic teams for girls and boys all benefit when football is strong.

“THEREFORE, the National Federation of State High School Associations urges all parties to observe the central premise of this resolution.”

Some major college football games have been played on Friday nights for about 20 years, the numbers continue to increase with smaller conference seeking exposure. This year, more than 50 major college football games will be played on Friday nights, including eight on Sept. 1 — the Friday night before Labor Day weekend. This season, the Big Ten Conference has scheduled five games on Friday nights, including two involving Illinois. Northwestern was slated to play two Friday night games, but school officials moved them to Saturday.

“The value of tradition cannot be understated,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “Friday nights offer communities a traditional time and place to congregate and support their students. If a major college football game was scheduled in the area on a Friday night, it could affect attendance at the high school game or cause the game to be moved to another day. In addition, many of the Friday night college games are televised, which could result in lower attendance at high school contests nationwide.

“We believe retaining Friday nights for high school contests is a plus for colleges as well as they reap the benefits of healthy programs at the high school level.”

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