In this day and age, as Mt. Vernon athletics director Brandon Ecker points out, there are no longer “clear dividing lines” between the various levels of football.
Furthermore, the line will become even more blurred in 2017 with the Big Ten Conference electing to play a handful of games on Friday nights — a tradition typically reserved for high school football.
The IHSAA, like other state athletic associations, has opposed this move in the past. However, it released the following statement Nov. 3.
“The IHSAA believes that the most recent decision of the Big Ten Conference to play a limited number games on Friday nights represents a positive opportunity to collectively cross promote our football programs and continue to grow this great sport in our state,” IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox said. “I have the utmost respect for both Fred Glass and Mike Bobinski and I’m confident, through their leadership, both the collegiate and high school games will benefit from this fresh thinking.”
But how are high school coaches and athletics directors across Hancock County reacting?
Mt. Vernon athletics director Brandon Ecker
The NFL got Sundays and Mondays, colleges got Saturdays and high schools had Friday nights. That line disappeared years ago with football being played almost every day of the week. I would prefer that Fridays be left to the high schools in Indiana due to the fact that for many schools, football plays a major factor in the revenue brought in at the gate for the year. At Mt. Vernon, it’s approximately one third of our total ticket sales for the year.
Eastern Hancock head football coach Jim O’Hara
We have no control over what they do. It seems a little selfish. Money and more money is all they care about.
Greenfield-Central head football coach Adam Sherman
I think it’s good for the universities, because they will probably get more people to come to games. It stinks for the Lafayette and Bloomington area high schools because now their fans have to choose what game to go to. I don’t anticipate it being a problem for high schools on the whole.
New Palestine head football coach Kyle Ralph
I just feel Fridays belong to high school football. It’s a special night, unique to high school football players. College football should respect that and stop looking to make a dollar.
Greenfield-Central athletics director Jared Manning
Do I think it’s really going to hurt our attendance? Not necessarily. The big marquee games are still going to be on Saturdays. If they were to move the Bucket Game (between Indiana and Purdue) to Friday, yeah it would be a big deal. It will be interesting to see how they schedule it. Maybe they are trying to draw more people to some of the non top-tier Big Ten games.