NIXA – The Nixa High School athletic director confirmed the Eagles’ football season opener against Jefferson City Helias Catholic will not appear on ESPNU as planned. But Brandon Clark said Nixa was not as uncooperative as Helias coach Phil Pitts made it out to be.
Pitts criticized Nixa in a Jefferson City NewsTribune story that appeared online Thursday.
The Crusaders and the Eagles agreed in May to play at 3:30 p.m. Sunday with a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
Instead, they will meet at 8 p.m. Saturday at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City. ESPNU will not televise because TV crews couldn’t break from prior engagements.
With high temperatures forecast to reach 100 degrees Sunday, representatives of the two teams negotiated to reschedule the game.
ESPNU reportedly offered a time of 7 p.m. Sunday night, but Clark was against it.
A bus ride pushing three hours one way, Clark said, would bring Nixa’s football team home sometime after midnight Monday. Clark said the late return goes against the Nixa High School vision of “learning first.”
“I just couldn’t in the right conscience go against that on a school night and possibly have our kids out until 1 or 2 o’clock,” Clark said.
In the NewsTribune story, Pitts claimed his team offered to play the game in Nixa on Sunday night.
Clark said he did think about hosting the game in Nixa, but did not offer to do so because he thought it would be hypocritical to ask Helias to make a late-night bus trip that the Eagles weren’t willing to take.
“We’re here to educate students and the extracurricular activities are that, they’re extra,” Clark said. “I don’t ever want to put that ahead of education.”