Friday night high school football has been romanticized in film and on television and has been a staple in communities throughout the United States. Friday night high school football was even included as part of the Sports Broadcast Act of 1961, the Kennedy Administration’s gift to the National Football League which allowed Commissioner Pete Rozelle to roll up the league’s 14 teams into one entity to package the league in what really was an auction between CBS and NBC for NFL TV rights in 1962.
But there was a clause in the 1961 legislation. The NFL could not compete with high school football on Friday nights and all day Saturday during the high school football season. Congress and Kennedy wanted to protect high school football from being engulfed by the NFL on television and losing fans at the high school contests.
The NFL has never challenged high school football, which is part of the supply chain, and never scheduled Friday night and Saturday games during the high school season. But college football is a different story along with cable TV networks that need to fill programming time and make money.
The Big Ten Conference will have a Friday night TV package that could feature six games a year starting in 2017. Friday night football isn’t something new, schools have been playing on Friday nights for a while and athletic departments need money so there are all sorts of network packages out there including Thursday nights, Friday nights and all day Saturday.
It is TV programming and as far as high schools, the Big Ten claims it contacted high school football associations and they are fine with additional competition on Friday nights.
TV needs programming and the big-time college sports factories need money and are providing football. But the stars of the show, the players get no money for their work.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.