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Bob Gardner Addresses Knight Commission on High School Football

By NFHS on October 30, 2017 nfhs news Print

Recently, NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner took part in a panel discussion of the Knight Commission on key issues in college football. Gardner spoke about the state of high school football and how the college game affects football at the interscholastic level.

Gardner reported that, while football participation has dipped at the high school level, participation data tells the game remains strong with more than 1 million participants. In addition, many other sports have seen a rise in participation, signaling that some high school football players are moving to different sports, not out of education-based athletics altogether.

Other topics Gardner addressed included:

  • The increase in 8-player football programs as small, rural schools get smaller.
  • The ongoing effort to track and study injury data nationwide, including concussions, which have seen a decrease in recent years.
  • Implementation of practice guidelines to minimize risk.
  • The success of the online education courses on concussions.

Gardner also spoke about some of the concerns the NFHS has for football at the high school and college levels, including the desire to keep collegiate recruiting of football players in the high school setting, instead of out-of-season leagues. Gardner also lamented the encroachment of college games on Friday nights and the early enrollment of high school seniors into college programs.

The entire discussion is available to view here.

About the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
The Knight Commission was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 to promote reforms that support and strengthen the educational mission of college sports. Over the years, the NCAA has adopted a number of the Commission’s recommendations, including the rule that requires teams to be on track to graduate at least 50 percent of their players to be eligible for postseason competition. The Commission’s Athletic and Academic Spending Database provides financial data for more than 220 public Division I institutions, creating greater financial transparency on athletics spending.