High school coaches lament Big Ten’s Friday night plan

Earlier this fall, the Big Ten Conference announced plans to play six Friday night football games in the next six years.

That decision hasn’t sat well with a lot of high school coaches, including the ones here in Columbus.

Columbus North coach Tim Bless grew up the son of a college coach and is one of three brothers coaching high school football in Indiana. He went to his father’s college games just about every fall Saturday during his upbringing and has been at a high school game virtually every fall Friday night his entire life.

“I’m a traditionalist, and Friday nights are for high school football and Saturdays are for college football,” Bless said.

Meanwhile, Columbus East coach Bob Gaddis is the executive director of the Indiana Football Coaches Association, which has come out against the Big Ten’s decision. Gaddis also is a member of the National Organization of Coaches Association Directors (NOCAD), which is against the plan.

“I think it will absolutely affect high school football,” Gaddis said. “If there’s any local affiliation with our games college-wise, there will be people that will have to make a decision. That’s not fair to the fans, to the colleges or the high school.”

The Big Ten’s plan, Gaddis said, is driven by money. The conference stands to make millions from TV deals.

Gaddis, who spent 10 years as East’s athletics director, noted that high school football games are most schools’ biggest source of revenue and help fund other sports.

“That’s how high schools survive,” Gaddis said. “We’re their lifeline. You want kids and community members to have the chance to support you on Friday night.”

In his position with the IFCA, Gaddis plans to talk to Big Ten coaches in the offseason. The conference’s two most high-profile coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh — have voiced their disagreement with the plan.

But Gaddis doesn’t think the decision has come from the Big Ten’s coaches. More than likely, it’s come from the presidents and athletics directors.

“We really don’t have a recourse at this point,” Gaddis said. “It wouldn’t be fair to our kids to keep them from talking to Big Ten coaches or prevent them from going to their camps. That would hurt the kids even more.”

Gaddis said he has talked to directors of coaches associations from Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas, and they are all against the Big Ten’s plan.

They are in the process of drafting a statement that they will send to the conferences and the NCAA.

“Now, will it do any good? Probably not,” Gaddis said. “But maybe it will keep some other conferences from jumping on board.”

Bull Dog named All-State

Columbus North senior Addy Lang was selected to the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association girls first team last weekend.

North senior Ian Hussey was named to the ISCA boys third team. North junior Jannis Anderson and Columbus East junior Scott Hammond made the boys honorable mention list, and North senior Natalie Teo was a girls honorable mention pick.

The Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association also has released its girls soccer team. East senior Maggie Lewis and freshman Lindsey Stoughton and Lewis are on the third team.

Olympians make All-HHC

Seven members of the Hoosier Hills Conference champion and Class 5A state runner-up Columbus East football team have been named to this year’s All-HHC squad.

East running back Jamon Hogan, wide receiver Cam Wilson, offensive linemen Harry Crider and Jared Clark, defensive lineman Zach Sutton, linebacker T.C. O’Neal and defensive back Ethan Summa made the first team, along with Jennings County defensive lineman Brendan Sutton and defensive back Tucker Marsh. East quarterback Josh Major, running back Jaedin Miller, tight end Tyler Thomas and defensive lineman Clayton Cordier made honorable mention.

East’s Scott Hammond, Eli Newell and Dustin Rodgers and Jennings’ Robbie Beal are on the All-HHC boys soccer team. East’s Justin Copas and Jayvon Thomas and Jennings’ Adrian Miller made honorable mention.

In girls soccer, East’s Lindsey Stoughton, Maggie Lewis, Morgan Martindale and Karlee Dowd and Jennings’ Baylee Byford made the first team. East’s Addy Galarno, Brooke Hamblen, Mila Lipinski and Sarah Park and Jennings’ Mackenzie Byram are honorable mention selections.

East’s Cortney VanLiew, Bailey Western and Kendal Williams are on the All-HHC volleyball team. East’s Brooke Banister and Jennings’ Carissa Kinney made honorable mention.

Senior wins North MVP

Senior Mitchell Burton has been named the Columbus North football MVP for the third consecutive year.

Burton also was picked as the team’s most valuable offensive back/receiver. Senior David Redding was named most valuable offensive lineman, senior Coleman Tennyson was picked most valuable defensive lineman for the third straight year and senior Tucker Payne was selected most valuable linebacker/defensive back.

Senior Harley Huser won the Bull Dog Award. Senior Tanner Payne received the John Skobel Scholarship. Senior Mark Salle-Tabor won the Tom Orr Award, which goes to a player with a passion beyond athletics.

Burton, Huser, Redding and senior Alex Downin were recognized as team captains.

Sophomore Trenton Kelley won the JV Bull Dog Award, and Hunter Huser took the Freshman Bull Dog Award. Darius Bennett won the Freshman Scholar-Athlete Award.

Wrestling matches moved

Columbus North’s home wrestling match scheduled for tonight against Franklin has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 18.

Also, the Hoosier Hills Conference duals scheduled for Saturday have been moved from Jeffersonville to Floyd Central. Matches will begin at 9:30 a.m.