Friday Night Football

September 23, 2016

There continues to be among high school athletic administrators a great gnashing of teeth over encroachment of televised college football on the Friday night turf that long tradition reserves for high school football games. Little by little and year by year, college games drift to all times of the day and all days of the week, and Friday night is no longer hallowed ground for the high school game alone.

The Friday night intercollegiate fare remains mostly irrelevant games by second tier teams, but televised nonetheless because of the overabundance of production entities and networks seeking live sports events. But high school leadership is right to be on guard.

Known to very few people is a million dollar offer in the 1970s by then NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers to the National Federation of State High School Associations if it would not oppose televised college football games on Friday nights. Clifford Fagan, then executive director of the National Federation, declined the offer from his good friend; and the mutual respect these two men enjoyed brought an end to the negotiation.

Then, as now, the National Football League was prohibited by law (part of its anti-trust exception) from televising games on Friday nights and Saturdays from mid-September through mid-December where the broadcast would conflict with a live high school or college game. Under Byers, and until the NCAA lost control of intercollegiate football broadcasting as a result of a legal challenge by what was then called the College Football Association, college football leadership voluntarily gave high school football the same deference on Friday nights that the NFL did under federal law.

Today, major college football is such a ravenous revenue beast that it will schedule play at any time on any day in any location, televising every game – on college conference-controlled networks if the matchup is not attractive enough for national or even regional broadcasts. The Friday night high school football tradition can expect to be trampled as college football swarms and grunts around the feed trough like hungry hogs.

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 27, 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 15-18 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.