The Fox River Classic Conference will play its football games on Thursdays to start this season.
The majority of contests during the first three weeks will be on that night, a move the league’s athletic directors and coaches felt was best for its players.
All the games take place before students are back in school. Opening night for the FRCC will be Aug. 17.
The discussion began because of the early start date for football in 2017, with the first day of practice scheduled for Aug. 1.
“We are looking at this as a positive experience for our athletes,” Green Bay Southwest co-coach Patrick Wallace said. “With the games on Thursday, we will be able to allow our athletes the opportunity to have a couple extended weekends to spend with their families. The plan is to get them out Friday morning and not expect them to be back with us until Monday.
“We believe that many of our families will enjoy the opportunity to spend quality time together for a few extra weekends in the summer.”
Teams usually play a scrimmage on the Friday before Week 1. So the shorter turnaround will be a challenge, Wallace said.
“However, for the coaches that have been around for many years, we remember having to prepare for three games over a 10-day span when the former WIAA playoffs had levels one and two held on Tuesday and Saturday,” he said. “Again, great opportunity to get our players some extra family time and a couple weekends away as the school year approaches.”
Bay Port athletic director Otis Chambers said the “Friday Night Lights” aspect of high school football is big to a lot of people, and some don’t want to get away from that.
There was no interest in going to Thursday nights for all nine regular-season games, although it’s possible this could become a trend in the FRCC and other conferences now that college football is moving games to Friday nights.
Chambers said the decision to change the first three games was left up to the schools and a majority of administrators were for it. He said the vote to test it out was unanimous at the coaches meeting and the athletic directors meeting.
He estimated of the 15 FRCC games being played in the first three weeks, all but a handful will be on Thursday.
“The other thing that we talked a little bit about is that this may help us free up some officiating crews,” Chambers said. “It may give us a chance to pick and choose our Thursday night football crews.”