Tennessee high school spring football format changed for safety reasons

Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal

Tennessee high school spring football format changed for safety reasons

Football

Tennessee high school spring football format changed for safety reasons

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MURFREESBORO — High school football coaches across the state will be required to begin spring practice with two days in helmets instead of full pads beginning in 2020.

That among other recommendations from the Tennessee Football Coaches Association were approved Wednesday by the TSSAA’s Legislative Council.

Schools are permitted a total of 12 practices in a 15 consecutive school day period.

Also recommended by TnFCA during spring practice and approved were:

  • Full contact in practice should not occur on three consecutive days.
  • Full contact in practice should not last more than 45 minutes per day per group.
  • Full contact in practice should not be more than 135 minutes per group.

Christian Brothers High School head coach Thomas McDaniel runs his team through drills during the first day of fall camp. (Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

“We were trying to address as a partnership with the TSSAA some of the issues with safety and practice regulations, or lack there are as a state,” said Christian Brothers football coach Thomas McDaniel, who is the president of the TnFCA. “You can see a trend. We want to make sure we have our voice.”

McDaniel said he realizes Tennessee is one of the few states that still offers high school spring practice. A survey by the TSSAA two years ago showed that 14 states have it.

“Spring football is a benefit that we have that others don’t have,” McDaniel said. “The reality is we have all of these rules in the fall and in the spring you can go out and do what you want the first day.”

All measures approved by the Legislative Council came directly from the coaches association’s recommendations, TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said.

The two days in helmets give time for heat acclimation, something that was not in place prior. It is in place for fall practice.

The Legislative Council also approved football teams to have two days of 7-on-7 competition after the school year until the dead period. That competition must take place in Tennessee. However that counts against the 10 days permitted after the TSSAA dead period concludes in July.

The ruling was permitted to give schools a chance to compete in 7-on-7 tournaments. The rationale used was to allow them to compete with their high school team and not on an all-star team.

Reach Tom Kreager at 615-259-8089 or tkreager@tennessean.com and on Twitter @Kreager.

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Tennessee high school spring football format changed for safety reasons
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