Let’s keep Friday nights in the fall for high school football

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 5:33pm
  • Opinion
Karissa L. Niehoff

Karissa L. Niehoff

By Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS executive director

Some of the top football matchups featuring Ohio teams this past Friday night were Mentor vs. Shaker Heights, Cleveland St. Ignatius vs. Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati St. Xavier vs. Massillon Washington and Northwestern vs. Ohio State.

That’s correct, Northwestern University vs. Ohio State University, on Friday night. While the game was in Evanston, Illinois, and not Columbus, it was televised on the Big Ten Network. Ohio State, one of the nation’s top-ranked college teams with one of the strongest fan bases, played on Friday night in direct competition with the several hundred high school games across the state.

And that wasn’t the only college football game on Friday night. There were three other FBS (I-A) matchups, including an Atlantic Coast Conference game between Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Through the first eight weeks of the season, there have been about 25 major college football games on Friday night.

A number of high schools in Ohio moved their games earlier in the hope of finishing before the start of the Ohio State-Northwestern game. Others moved their games to Thursday or Saturday. At least one school – Ursuline Academy in greater Cincinnati – urged its fans to not watch the Ohio State game:

“Please make a statement to Ohio State by NOT watching their Friday night game this week. Friday nights are for HS football. Let’s keep it that way. Support your local team. We play Boardman, and would love to have you in our stands, but that’s not the point. Support HS football.”

High schools should not have to adjust their schedules to accommodate colleges playing on Friday nights. High school coaches, administrators and fans are opposed to colleges playing on Friday nights. The NFHS and its member state associations are opposed. Even leaders in the Ohio State administration did not initially support the idea of the Buckeyes playing on Friday night. Friday nights are for high school football and should remain that way.

Two years ago, the NFHS membership adopted the following 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.”

In addition to the Big Ten Conference, teams in the Pac-12, Mountain West, Atlantic Coast and American conferences, as well as Conference USA, have played on Friday nights. When these current television contracts expire, it is the desire of everyone within the high school community that new deals would preserve Friday nights for high school football.

Friday nights offer communities a traditional time and place to congregate and support their students. As was the case last week in Ohio, a college game on Friday night impacts interest and attendance at high school games.

Let’s maintain Friday nights in the fall for high school football. It is a win-win for everyone.

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is in her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Ind. She is the first woman to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Points of contention on police inquests in King County

Inquests frequently unfold against a backdrop of sadness and drama: Family members’… Continue reading

Guests gather to view a photo of Pilchuck Julia during the naming ceremony of the Snohomish River boat landing named for her in August, 2019. (Kevin Clark / Herald file photo)
Editorial: What history is owed through our monuments

The decisions regarding whom we honor in our public squares require deliberation and consensus.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Defund the police department? | Roegner

Our country is at a defining moment in our search for true… Continue reading

Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial

Moving forward, the Auburn Reporter will capitalize Black when referring to the… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
The search for selfhood

What really matters is the desire to find.

Valley police chiefs of King County release unified message in response to death of George Floyd

Police chiefs of Des Moines, Tukwila, Renton, Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Algona, Pacific, Black Diamond and the Port of Seattle pledge to stand with communities.

Pandemic illustrates the need for government action

Despite spending most of my life in government and politics and working… Continue reading

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

How using a face mask to cover my Asian face could put me in danger

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.