March 20, 2012
Many folks, including me, will too often focus on the destination more than the trip. More on results than process. The end more than the means.
This is epidemic in sports, on all levels. There’s so much focus on the postseason that it overshadows the regular season.
In contrast, in educational athletics, we are supposed to hold to the principle that opportunities for teaching and learning are as plentiful, maybe more so, in regular season as in tournaments, at subvarsity levels as at varsity, during practices as during games.
This disease affects football as much as any high school sport. There’s been too much focus on the end of the season – playoffs. Postseason tournaments have been the demise of many great Thanksgiving Day high school football classics across the country. Playoffs continue to ruin rivalries and collapse conferences nationwide.
And, disturbingly, the focus on the end of the season misses what is most wrong with football, and may be most threatening to its future. It’s practice. Specifically, what’s allowed during preseason practice and then at practice throughout the season.
We can predict that, in high school football’s future, two-a-day practices will be fewer, practice hours will be shorter and activities will be different. Among proposals we will be presented (and should seriously consider) will be:
- Increasing the number of days without pads at the start of the season from three days to four or even five.
- Prohibiting two-a-day practices entirely, or at least on consecutive days.
- Limiting the number of minutes of practice on any one day.
- Restricting contact drills to a certain number of minutes each week.
If this all sounds silly or radical, remember that the NCAA and NFL are already making such changes. NFL players face contact in practice on only 14 days during a 17-week regular season. Meanwhile, many high school coaches have kids knocking heads and bruising bodies two to four days a week, all season long. Giving critics the impression that interscholastic football for teens is more brutal than the higher levels of football for grown men. Inviting interference from people who think they know better.
Actually, we know better; and we need to do better. Soon.
MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 25, 2023
The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.
The one-day camps will take place between May 16-19 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.
Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.
“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”
Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.
All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.
MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.
“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”
The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.