Tennessee pulls the trigger
Now, a thought about the late, great Kentucky-Tennessee football all-star game, which was supposedly killed off because officials from the two states couldn’t agree on when to play. (Read the story here.)
This game is gone because the Tennessee coaches’ association wanted it gone. Jimmie Reed and the folks at the Kentucky High School Coaches Association were bending over backward to keep the game alive, but only if it could be played in June.
The Tennessee coaches had said for some time they wanted to move the game to December, but they had to know Kentucky officials would never go for that. As Reed pointed out, the problem is that the selected players would have to miss school if they had a week’s worth of practices as all-star teams have in the past.
Tennessee’s desired date of Dec. 15 falls only a week after the Kentucky state finals, one week deeper into the chill of winter and 10 days before Christmas. That would mean an even smaller crowd for a game that usually struggled to draw more than 3,000 to 5,000 fans.
Tennessee has established a successful all-star series with Georgia that hasn’t always been there, and it’s easy to see why folks there would consider that more prestigious than a series with Kentucky. (We’ll be watching to see if that game moves to December.) So they wanted this game to go away, and they made it happen.
That’s a pity, because Reed and his people did good work on this end to run a good game and to get good coaches and players from Kentucky to participate. An East-West series will have to do as a substitute, and I hope it thrives, but it’s possible that more college-bound players will give into their college coaches’ wishes to head off to campus in early June rather than play in an all-star game that might not be quite as attractive.