PBS’s Frontline ran an excellent piece last night called ‘Football High,’
which examined how high-school football has gone big time in every regard – from larger players to national TV contracts. It’s sick. … They’re going to destroy the game. By ‘they’ I mean grown-ups trying to make a buck off of amateur kids. Full-time head coaches. Professional scouts and marketing people. ESPN sponsoring and promoting high-school games of the week. It all feeds into the NCAA own profit-making football machine, which has its own obscenely compensated adults trying to make a buck off of amateur kids. The NCCA in turn has become a mere minor-league feeder for the NFL. The whole system is becoming corrupt.
One quibble with the Frontline piece: Its focus on two young Arkansas players who were overcome with heat stroke during practices. One of them died. To a certain extent, it’s easy to associate the tragedies with the game of football and its emphasis on macho Marine-like physical conditioning. But heat stroke can hit any athlete. The real problem with American football is how adults have tolerated the spike in player injuries over the past decade or so – due primarily to the increasing size of high-school football players. I’ve ranted
on this issue before
. So I won’t get into it again except to say: Football, reform thyself, before it’s too late.