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Friday nights with no lights

Most communities on Friday nights in the fall are packed into their local high school stadiums. This fall, in many states across the country, those stadiums will sit dark and empty.

And while there has been plenty of discussion about what that will mean in terms of recruiting and the impact of that decision on college bound football players, frequently missing from the narrative are the kids that will not go on to play college football. 

You can surf the internet and find article after article about the impact of COVID season postponements on recruiting. What you can’t seem to find is a whole lot on those who’s athletic careers end when their senior football season concludes. 

Only 7.3 percent of high school football players will go on to play NCAA football. For 93 percent of high school football players, this was one of only four seasons that they were likely to play. 

Some play in high school because they love it, others play to be around their friends, and some, to stay out of trouble.

Many kids dream of earning varsity letters and leaving high school knowing that they had been apart of something, a team, bigger than themselves. Because tackle football is not played recreationally, high school football is the last time some ever get to play.

And while states have said that they plan to play in the spring and coaches, athletic directors and schools will do what they can to make that happen, it just won’t be the same. The biggest concern of pushing football season to the spring, is that it's not a given that states will allow competition at that point either. And if they do, some football players will be forced by circumstance to choose between their football season and their usual spring sport. 

So while stadiums in different states across the country sit empty this fall, we must know that more than “just a season” is being lost.