MG Football Camp: Creatively works around NSAA rules to foster player Development

Posted on June 1, 2008. Filed under: High School Football | Tags: , , , , |

By Will Cummings
Hit News from


    The annual MG Contracting and Design: 2008 High School Football Jamboree is scheduled to kick off on Monday, June 2, at Northwest High School. The camp is directed by Mark and Jill Goodrich and various area high school coaches will provide individual instructions on football fundamentals. The camp will conclude on Thursday, June 5th, with full contact scrimmages that will be held at Central High School.

     Unfortunately, the four day MG camp is the closest semblance to spring football practice that occurs in the State of Nebraska. However, this anomaly is not by official design: It is the legal result of individuals creatively working around the Nebraska Schools Activities Association (NSAA) rules and regulations to foster player development.  MG participants adorn  helmets and full-pads and participate in full-contact drills and scrimmages. All of which the NSAA strictly prohibits its member schools to engage in during the off season. So how do they pull it off? 

    First off, the camp is not sponsored by any NSAA schools, but by a private concern—MG Contracting and Design.  Secondly, the participating athletes voluntarily attend the camp as individuals and not as representatives of a school. Third, participating area coaches also attend and supervise the camps as individuals, who instruct all participants regardless of school affiliation. And finally, without getting into all the NSAA minutiae regarding the following: The preceding is possible because the MG camp takes place after the official end of the school year. Consequently, all this is why we get to enjoy a little spring football in the Omaha Metro area.

     The NSAA’s decision to prohibit—any manner—of organized spring football programs and its no-contact rules throughout the off season and its prohibition of any preseason scrimmaging—as well as its rule of prohibiting member schools from competing against non-NSAA member schools (which means no competing against other states)—is based on many factors from increased insurance liabilities to the encroachments of football on other sport programs. Nevertheless, the culmination of individual  reasoning by NSAA officials  that led to these prohibitions has and is hindering the development of Nebraska high school football players and Nebraska high school football. Moreover, as long as these policies  continue—at best—they  will contribute to stagnating player development in comparison  to other state high school governing bodies that incorporate into their scholastic calenders spring football and/or preseason scrimmages and/or interstate competition.  At its worst, the future prolongation of these rules can produce an even  greater disparity in  the quality of play of Nebraska high school football  in contrast to states like: Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina (adopted full-contact spring football this year) and many other states whose governing bodies enact rules more conducive to fostering player and program development. 

    The majority of state high school governing bodies prohibit full contact spring football. However, most of these states allow non-contact spring football practices or have liberal summer practice regulations like the State of Indiana, which allows full pads and full contact during the summer. Or like Ohio, many state governing bodies at least allow preseason scrimmages and interstate competition.  Conversely, during the summer, the NSAA  prohibits any contact even with “mechanical devices” like blocking sleds and tackling dummies, and it prohibits any preseason scrimmages. Of course, all  that’s good news for the insurance companies and helps it helps to keep premiums in check, but it is no way to keep up with the Texans and Floridians. Not only do these  states have the sheer numbers that produce numerous D-I caliber football players—they spend more time developing these players.  That’s a double dose of woe!

    Spring football allows coaches to spend more time teaching fundamentals and developing younger players and it helps to foster more team unity. The very nature of football, with its diversity of playing positions, plays, techniques, strategies and just the sheer number of participants, demands time to bring it all together. Allowing two  weeks of practice during the spring would certainly help in developing better fundamentals. If that’s too much for the NSAA to chew, they should at least allow a couple of preseason scrimmage games.

      It’s in the best interest of the athletes and ultimately to the viability of Nebraska high school football that the NSAA re-evaluate and tweak some of its policies in favor of player development.  It took many years for the powers that be to wisely put full contact football back into the Omaha middle schools. Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long for the NSAA to figure out that their current policies are counterproductive to maintaining and developing a strong state high school football tradition that will not lose further ground to other state high school football programs.


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