UA's Bielema: Don't adjust season

Posted: August 3, 2014 at 2:32 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema has thrown his weight behind the Arkansas Football Coaches Association, which is against an Arkansas Activities Association proposal that would move up the start of the high school football season by one week.

The proposal, which will be voted on Aug. 6 by school administrators across the state, would go into effect for the 2016 season if passed.

"I believe this change would be to the detriment of the well-being of high school student-athletes in Arkansas," Bielema told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "Should the rule pass, it would eliminate a week of practice in August, which ... would not allow players to properly acclimate and condition for the season.

"Additionally, opening games would be a week earlier during a time of the year when heat is a significant consideration. As a coach, I take player safety very seriously and I'd like to strongly urge those voting on the proposal to support the high school football season to continue to start as it has in Arkansas."

Bielema noted that the proposal also could lead to a Thanksgiving weekend dilemma for football fans in the state. The Razorbacks often play on the Friday following Thanksgiving, and if the AAA proposal passes there would be state championship games on that Friday and Saturday as well.

Last year, the Razorbacks sent six coaches to evaluate the state championship games in mid-December after winter weather wiped out a weekend of playoff games.

-- Tom Murphy

Sports on 08/03/2014