For years, spring football has given fans the ability to get their football fix, and, ultimately, given them another excuse to visit campus and purchase their children some apparel. But the sentiment among some coaches around the country is that they are prepared to do away with spring games.
Texas A&M won’t have a spring game on account of the Kyle Field renovation, and even discounting the construction, Kevin Sumlin says spring games are ‘worthless’ anyway, according to SI.com.
“For us, from a recruiting and national perception, like last year with the presentation and 50,000, that’s what you miss,” Sumlin said. “From a coaching standpoint, we probably gain more from not splitting up the team. It used to be different, when you have 100-something guys and you could split a team up. We have a hard time keeping quality by splitting up. That’s why we go offense and defense. I know fans get tired of that, but it’s worthless to us when you have guys playing with starters and guys that are never going to play just to make two different teams. We’ll probably get more out of it, from a practice standpoint.”
Oklahoma State and Pitt voluntarily said they weren’t having a spring game this year. As John Infante from AthleticScholarships.net points out, it’s a trend that will ultimately be a ‘terminal’ one for the annual spring game. Infante explains why.
The spring game is counted as one of the 15 practice sessions that make up spring practice. In addition to the overall limit of 15, no more than 12 sessions can include contact. Of the 12 contact sessions, only eight can including tackling. And of the eight tackling sessions, only three can devote more than 50% of the time to 11-on–11 scrimmaging. Spring games obviously count as one of those three scrimmages.
The limited contact during spring practice is obviously being driven by concussion lawsuits. The NCAA has even discussed limiting the amount of full-contact practices during the season.
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Most of the spring games are televised, with ESPN running the show. Infante says the only way to resurrect the spring game would be to hold a scrimmage against another team. But with the NCAA watching their backs regarding player safety, that’s doubtful to ever happen.
Would you miss spring games?
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