You all know how much we love high school football here at The List. We really do. On Friday nights during the offseason, we regularly just show up at different high school stadiums, sit in the stands and weep.
But, really, who amongst us couldn’t come up with our own ideas for what we’d change if we were the Grand Master of High School Football?
You know you’ve fantasized about it. That’s what we were doing last week. The premise: Nothing is off the table. Money is not an object. Just make things better.
10. Bigger press boxes
We’re being selfish, you say? No. Of course not. Never. OK, a little. I mean, it would certainly be nice for us to be able to always show up 15 minutes to kickoff, stroll in and grab our reserved (hopefully padded) seat with ample desk space in front of us. And if there was a nice little buffet, all the better. But, to be fair to us (and we always like to be fair to ourselves), press boxes house far more than just us media types. And bigger, nicer boxes would benefit plenty of people who don’t write treatises about the game.
9. Artificial turf everywhere
It’s about far more than just pretty green grass all over. Having this turf, if you can afford the upfront expense, is often a huge money advantage. Little to no maintenance. All sports can use the field the entire year. It can pay for itself over the course of a couple of decades or less. Plus, well, I mean, the green grass really is kind of pretty. Don’t deny it.
8. Bands quiet during play
Look, we have nothing against the great high school bands out there. In fact, we’d buy a high school football band soundtrack if it were available (that’s a good idea on its own, actually). Just not during plays, guys. Let’s allow the boys to play football. The bands can get their spotlight at halftime, during timeouts, stops in play, etc. Love you guys, but let’s watch some football.
7. DeKalb and Atlanta City Schools get their own stadiums
We certainly see the financial savings to a school system sharing stadiums. And, well, you don’t have to pay for maintenance. But there aren’t many coaches or players who wouldn’t pick having their own true home field rather than sharing it with a bunch of other teams. There’s just no replacement for having your own crowd and a stadium you can put your stamp on.
6. Electronic play clock at both ends of the field
It never fails to befuddle us when delay of game is called at these games, given that no one except perhaps the back judge really knows where the clock is at any given moment. Putting in a play clock would make this far more clear for everyone, and it would give us one more thing to watch during a game. Maybe we don’t need the distraction, but we’re all about improving the game anyway.
5. Late-season games start at 7 (or even 6:30)
Is this selfish too? OK, yeah, we don’t want to sit out in the dark cold anymore than we have to in some of these stadiums. But neither do the fans, do they? Let’s keep these late-fall games bathed in as much daylight as possible. Gets people out of the game earlier in the evening, and doesn’t affect the integrity of the game. Would it negate some of the selfishness if we said it would save money on electricity from the lights? But we said money is no object at the beginning. Pay no attention to us.
4. Alternate Finals sites in South and Middle Georgia
Why should the fans and teams of South and Middle Georgia have to drive up here as a reward for making the state finals? I mean, we clearly love Atlanta, but we’re, ya know, here. In a perfect world, the South and Middle Georgia teams that make it that far could have an opportunity to stay closer to home and make our metro-area guys head down their way sometimes. At Georgia Southern? Valdosta State? West Georgia? Just spitballing here.
3. No advertising and/or total revenue sharing
Yes, that would go throughout the state. It’s pretty socialistic, sure, but it could also help balance out the haves and have-nots everywhere. All the money programs collect goes into a pool, and it’s distributed evenly to all the public schools. Private schools go into a separate division. No, it’ll never happen, but it’d be interesting.
2. GHS would be able to seriously investigate recruiting
They occasionally catch a school or have them self report, but it’s typically rather tough for the GHSA to mount a thorough investigation, just due to staff, money and time limitations. Now that we’re taking those out of play, the GHSA can hire all the full-time investigators it needs to keep a close eye on recruiting all over.
1. Use Boddy Dodd Stadium instead of Georgia Dome for Finals
The Georgia Dome is nice, but it’s maybe a little too nice. It’s so cavernous, and it’s indoors. It just seems a little antiseptic for our tastes for what should be a rowdy high school football championship game. Georgia Tech’s stadium would bring weather back into play, and there are 16,000 fewer seats, so there’d be that many fewer empty chairs staring back at us all.
Now it’s your turn … you’re the Grand Poobah of High School Football. What are you changing? What’s high on your priority list? Which ones of our changes make us sound like crazy people? Let us know in the comments here or hit us up on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.