Friday Night Lights….EVERYONE knows that all about High School Football on Friday nights. We all saw it coming when the college’s began to dabble with playing some college football games on Friday nights. Well apparently Fox has decided now is the time to crap on the long storied tradition of Friday nights is for High School’s and are planning a season long schedule of Friday night games. Games that no loinger feature a ranked team against a terrible team or 2 unranked teams. They are looking at pitting a pair of top 10’s against each other on Friday nights.

The Eli Sports Network has been a staunch supporter of Friday nights are for High School Football and in fact we ban our announcers from mentioning any college game being played on a Friday night and absolutely no score updates they may see. Simply the money grubbing College and NFL are dead to us on Friday nights. 

The National Federation of High Schools Chief Executive Officer, Dr Karissa Niehoff blasts the Networks for encroaching on the hallowed ground of Friday nights and we here at ESN couldn’t agree more with Dr Niehoff’s position. In fact we ban our announcers from mentioning any college games being played on Friday nights and passing on scores is also forbidden. 

From our perspective this is a money grab at the expense of the sport. Dr Niehoff’s column hits the nail on the head. Following her column we have reached out to a cross section of Washington State Head Football coaches for their opinions and thoughts and have included them word-for-word at the bottom of this post.

NFHS Disappointed with Plan to Increase Television Coverage of College Football on Friday Nights


Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Chief Executive Officer  

@KarissaNFHS        @KarissaNFHS


Last week, reports circulated that Fox Sports intends to increase its television coverage of college football games on Friday nights this fall, with the expanded list expected to include top teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 Conferences.

In fact, early indications are that Fox plans to have a regular Friday night game involving teams that would be on the same level as its Saturday noon games – the time slot where the Ohio State-Michigan game aired last year.

The Big Ten Conference intends to schedule at least nine Friday night games on Fox networks in 2024 – up from five last year. In an interview with The Athletic, Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti said, “It’ll be significant in terms of the amount of national exposure that we have on Friday night on Fox.”

While there have been more and more college games on Friday nights over the past several years, the plan to schedule games involving Top 10-level teams on the night traditionally reserved for high school football is extremely disappointing. Except for the Labor Day weekend and the Friday after Thanksgiving, the four to five games on Friday nights in previous years have been mainly on cable and not pitted Top 10 teams. This plan, in essence, would make Friday night a second day of regular college football programming for Fox.  

On any given Friday night in the fall, there are about 7,000 high school football games being played in communities throughout our country. But they are more than just “games” – they are symbols of school and city pride and prime opportunities for people to stand together while cheering on their hometown squads. Simply put, FOX’s plans stand as a threat to these impactful community events.

The NFHS and its member state associations are opposed to colleges playing on Friday nights. High school coaches, administrators and fans are opposed. And while the climate has changed dramatically in college sports, playing on Friday night is not a universally accepted idea on the part of college coaches and fans.

In fact, among teams in the Big Ten Conference, Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa have expressed reluctance to play at home on Friday nights, and Michigan has said “no” altogether to playing on Friday nights.

In an article on the SI.com website, an Ohio State spokesperson said the program is far from excited to potentially have games on Friday due to the logistics of student-athletes’ schedules and the impact on recruiting.

“They do present challenges, namely: significant all-day traffic concerns on a Friday with classes in session and our stadium on campus; and the fact we don’t want to go head-to-head with the rich tradition of Ohio high school football on Friday nights,” the representative said. 

There seems to be a message from those universities about preserving Friday nights for high school football in the states of Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. 

In addition, former Indiana University football coach Tom Allen, a former high school coach himself, had strong feelings about playing on Friday nights: “ . . . Friday night is for high school football, bottom line. I’ll say it ‘til I’m blue in the face, ‘til somebody tells me to shut up. Then I’ll probably say it again. Friday night is for high school football.”

And as news of the expected uptick in televised college games on Friday nights has circulated, it was a reminder of recent trends in that direction. According to the Austin American-Statesman, when Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark announced last fall that the conference was looking into playing more games on Friday nights, Austin Westlake High School football coach Tony Salazar told the American-Statesman that college programs should “stay out of the domain of high school athletics.”   

Dating back as far as the early 1960s, there have been agreements to preserve Friday nights for high school football. It frankly helps every level of the game to keep it that way.

In 2017, the NFHS and its member state associations adopted a resolution regarding Friday night high school football. A portion of that resolution stated 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.” 

High schools should not have to compete with colleges for that revered and time-honored space of Friday night. In the past, some high schools have had to move games to earlier in the day or to other days of the week to accommodate conflicts with colleges playing on Friday nights. This should NEVER be the case.

Instead of flooding every day of the week with college football games, we urge the major conferences and TV networks to leave Friday nights alone, because in the fall, those nights should be spent in the stands, not on the couch.

Some thoughts from Washington State Coaches

My thoughts on Friday Nights.  Traditionally we have always kept it Friday for high school, Saturday for college and Sunday for NFL.  It makes it a great weekend for those who love this game.  You get to watch your local high school team, your favorite college team on Saturday and favorite NFL team on Sunday.  If College Football starts to play on Friday nights, you are taking away some of that and the glory of those high school kids that will have a once in a lifetime experience on the grid iron in front of an audience.  How about if we don’t worry so much about the dollar and start actually worrying about the game we love. 
Randy Affholter
Kennewick High School

“I’m a traditionalist, I like “Friday Night Lights” High School football, Saturday College football and Sunday/Monday NFL”
Blake VanDalen
Lynden Lions Head Football Coach

I don’t like college football taking attention away from “Friday night lights” and high school football. It’s hard enough having to play on Thursday or Saturday because of official shortages. 
I would have to assume this has to do with NIL money and the generation of revenue to pay these players now. Where has football gone?
Coach Jeff Lidey
Liberty Bell Football
I am completely against this idea. Friday nights are a sacred environment for high school football and by continually invading this space with more college football games purely for more advertising profits it will eventually remove the mystique around it. As I always tell my players, they never wrote a best selling book or made a movie called “Thursday nights in the Gym”. Friday night lights should be protected at all costs and reserve its rightful place in American sports. 
Darren Tinnerstat
Tenino Football

As the son and nephew of High School Football Coaches and a current High School Football Coach, I am a traditionalist in the belief Friday Nights are for High School Football, Saturday Afternoon For College Football, and Sundays and Monday Night are for the NFL. 
Steve Amrine
Kelso HS
Head Football Coach

It used to be that the College networks respected the tradition of Friday Night Lights for the High school Student Athletes. In my opinion It all comes down to a lack of respect and it is mostly due to the greed we are seeing in College athletics that is causing the absolute chaos that is in College football today. Our society has gotten away from respect and doing the right thing and this is another example of the almighty dollar overshadowing the experience and purity of high school football.
Dave Miller
Lakes High School Football Coach

As a high school football coach for over a quarter century now, I have serious concerns about how this collegiate schedule will impact high school football.  It will certainly take away from the spotlight that shines on thousands of high school athletes each week.  More detrimental though, is how it will ruin the fabric of hundreds and hundreds of communities.  High school football is the largest weekly community gathering in many cities and towns around the country each fall.  It is unfortunate that a dollar is more important than the great things that are happening in this country every Friday night for kids, parents, fans, schools and communities.

Josh Fay

Napavine High School


By paulb

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