Greater Western Ohio Conference school administrators on Wednesday approved a proposal to hike back the kickoff start time of Friday night varsity football games by 30 minutes to 7 p.m. The new kickoff time begins this coming season.
The decision, voted on by member athletic directors and approved by principals, culminated a two-month look into adjusting the traditional start time of 7:30 p.m.
“It was the right move and a good move,” GWOC Commissioner Eric Spahr said. “Our administrators thought that would be the right way to go.”
Spahr cited the evolution of high school football because of an emphasis on the passing game as the main reason for the earlier start time. Incomplete passes stop the clock, whereas the clock doesn’t stop on running plays.
Games often end between 10:30-11 p.m. Visiting teams must then return by bus and unload, meaning students weren’t free until after midnight, “and that’s just too late,” said Spahr.
The decision only affects GWOC divisional and crossover games. As of now, Friday start times against non-conference teams will remain at 7:30 p.m.
Many teams keep their players at school until the game. “That’s what we do,” Beavercreek coach Scott Clodfelter said. “The fans will adjust.”
GWOC boys and girls soccer games are doubleheaders, the JV followed by the varsity. All GWOC girls and boys basketball games are tripleheaders, the freshmen playing at 4:30 p.m., followed by the JV and varsity. Those rolling start times will not change.
Middletown head football coach Troy Everhart said there hasn’t been any discussion among Greater Miami Conference teams for an earlier kickoff time.
“Not that I’m aware of,” he said. “We tried doubleheaders on Saturdays a couple of years ago and it was a disaster.”