Opened the Findlay Courier last week to read the sports pages and, "boom!" headline - "Banging the drum for spring football." Long time friend sportswriter Dave Hanneman wrote an article spring football for Ohio high schools.
Sub-heading - " OSU coach Urban Meyer wants to see Ohio HS spring grid drills."
Yes, Urban Meyer is pushing the idea to have an entended period in the spring to run football practices. No, a two week period in the spring to wear equipment and practice football will not happen, and should not happen.
Good conversation. Florida and some southern states have spring football. I guess, it is the real thing and works for football. In the "ideal world," probably not a bad idea. But in the real world for Ohio schools, probably not a really good idea. Problems.
Coaches - Many schools have a hard enough time to find quality football coaches who can actually coach kids and communicate with them. Old school coaches who spent a lot of time on the game are retiring. Young coaches with young families watch the clock more than they should. Now they will ask coaches to spend two weeks in the spring, but also ask their time in getting ready for spring ball.
Football budget - Spending money on sports is tough now. Pay for play. Not only at smaller schools, but even schools like Lakota West have instituted "play for pay." Will football players have to pay additional money to participate for two weeks in the spring?
Coaches' salary - How much will the football coach's salary will be for those two weeks. Will it be part of his regular stipend for coaching in the fall. Many coaches already have half of their summer taken up with 7on7 and team conditioning.
Spring sports coaching - Many coaches coach a spring sport, either as a head coach or an assistant. How would this work? Will the coach have to take a break in his spring sport to coach two weeks of spring football. Actually, more than two weeks, because there would be pre spring football practice planning. Two very prominent football programs in Cleveland are coached by men who also coach very respected track programs in the spring. How would this work.?
The athlete - Top sprint star is also a top football player. Does he risk getting hurt in two weeks of spring football and miss the rest of track season and a chance to win the 100 meters at the OHSAA State Meet? Does that top pitcher who is also a QB miss two weeks of baseball to play spring practice?
Practice equipment - Do the helmets get reconditioned for a second time? Does the practice equipment get replaced for a second time? Costs of maintaining practice facilities?
The list goes on and on.
Last December, Assistant OHSAA for football, told me that my QB/REC camp was a violation of Rule 7.8. I accepted his ruling, but did not agree with it. Costs me in the area of $400. But since I am a just a guy, tough luck John. When a person from a prominent high school in Cleveland called the OHSAA; When the Cleveland Browns called the OHSAA; When a rep from Ohio State football called the OHSAA; A different rule was now in effect and for some reason my camp would have not been a violation. But nothing was ever said to John McCallister, because I am just a guy. The answers were given to me given to me at the OHSFCA Regional Directors Meeting. Thank goodness, "Real Guys" got involved.
What the majority of high school football coaches want is more freedom to work with football players in the off season. Work on QB drills on a Sunday afternoon. Work with linemen after school on pass techniques. The OHSAA has a new rule into effect that a coach can work with four players at one time in the off season. This would be for all sports.
The other major concern that I have is the "AAU scare." Legally or illegally mover 7on7 teams are being formed in Ohio. All-star teams who will play teams from other states. Big in Cleveland. If the 7on7 is one high school team, for example Kenton, no problem. Coaches coach their own players. All-star teams. People other than the players' high school coaches coach the team. Now the mentality of AAU and "handlers," Not good. Now - "who is coaching your son?" AAU basketball, once thought to be good by high school coaches is pout of control. Who is making money????
Years ago, the OHSAA under a different commissioner put in rule 7.8, to limit the amount of strength Ohio high football coaches were getting. The OHSAA feared that high school football would get too strong. Hopefully that rule is no longer in effect and rule 8.3 is now the rule to follow.
Spring football like football teams follow in the Southern state is not the answer. More time (legally) for high school football coaches to work with their players in the off season is the answer. Seven at a time is a good number for high school coaches to work with their players. Last year I saw a team near Toledo going team offense against team defense in April. Not so good. Of course, they are not the only high school guilty of breaking the rule.
Remember - " McCallister is"Just a guy." But I hope "Real guys," use good judgment.