Pittsburgh has cancelled their spring game for 2014. Why? Because that 15th and final practice is more valuable than putting on an actual spring scrimmage, according to Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst.
“The thinking behind that is to get one more good work day out of (the players),” Chryst said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Most if not every spring game you end up really sacrificing a lot.”
It takes money to put on a spring game, and considering the Panthers drew just a handful over 3,000 fans for their spring game a year ago, the school may have been sacrificing money with little chance to turn a profit. Moving a team to a facility for a spring game costs money for renting the property, transporting the team (and equipment) to the location and paying for any stadium security and vendors. Without a great option to host the game on campus, it makes little sense to open up Heinz Field for the game for a day, which is why Pittsburgh has experimented with playing the game in high school stadiums nearby in recent years.
This year Chryst will hope to take advantage of one more practice instead. The NCAA allows for 15 practices in the spring. A spring game counts as one of those if held.
“These days are really valuable for us,” Chryst said. “I’m not in a hurry to get through spring ball, and I want to maximize every day with it.”
The problem for Pittsburgh stems from being unable to capitalize on the spring game experience. No matter where the game would have been held, it would have been unlikely to draw a decent crowd. This is s great contrast to other nearby FBS programs like Ohio State and Penn State. Chyrst needs to take measures to get fans to get excited about the team, but if a 15th and final practice helps improve the Panthers on the field in the fall, he will have the last laugh.
Via social media, Jim Harbaugh has attempted to walk back some of his strong talk.
Monday, the Michigan head coach was asked to comment on one of his former San Francisco 49er players, Colin Kaepernick, who kicked up quite the controversy this past week by sitting down during the playing of the national anthem to protest what he believes to be the mistreatment of African-Americans in this country. Not surprisingly, the outspoken Harbaugh didn’t mince many words.
As it turns out, Pankey won’t be alone on the suspension sidelines as WVMetroNews.com is reporting that linebacker Xavier Preston will be suspended for the opener as well. No reason has been given for the punitive measure, and the football program has yet to confirm it.
The third-year sophomore would be eligible to return for the Sept. 10 Youngstown State game.
Preston played in 13 games last season. He has been described as the heir apparent to Nick Kwiatkowski at outside linebacker for the Mountaineers.
Jim Harbaugh doesn’t respect Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit anthem out
The latest sports controversy has reached college football’s borders.
Colin Kaepernick, as you might have heard, kicked up quite the controversy last week by declining to stand during the playing of the National Anthem prior to a San Francisco 49ers preseason game. The former Nevada quarterback’s words explaining to sit the anthem out served to add fuel to the raging firestorm.
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
Kaepernick has spent his entire NFL career with the 49ers, and his first coach at the professional level was Jim Harbaugh. Now the head coach at Michigan, Harbaugh was asked Monday about Kaepernick, who helped lead Harbaugh’s club to the NFC championship game in 2013, and his decision to sit on the bench while the anthem played.
“I acknowledge his right to do that,” Harbaugh said according mlive.com. “But I don’t respect the motivation or the action.”
While more forceful and tinged with personal opinion, Harbaugh’s comments are somewhat in line those made by a former Oregon Ducks head coach who’s now in charge of the 49ers.
“We recognize his right to do that,” Chip Kelly said according to the Sacramento Bee. “It’s not our right to tell him not to do something. That’s his right as a citizen.”