Report: Pitt cancels 2014 spring game in order to ‘maximize limited practice time’
A few programs cancel their spring games each year for a variety of a reasons. Texas A&M, for instance, won’t have one for the next two years because of renovations to Kyle Field. And it looks as if Pittsburgh won’t host one in front of fans, either. Coach Paul Chryst has canceled the Panthers’ outing in order to “maximize limited practice time,” according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Jerry DiPaola.
Spring games can be a lot of work for very little actual benefit — Wake Forest’s game ended with the score 3-0 in 2013. Then there’s the matter of attendance. While some schools, such as Alabama and Auburn, make huge spectacles out of their spring exhibitions, others draw barely any spectators at all. The latter group includes Pitt, which brought in just 3,642 fans last year. (The full attendance numbers can be found in this handy SB Nation chart.)
In some cases, playing a spring game instead of working on individual drills can be heard to justify. Players could get injured, after all. Instead, a better option might be to host a couple of scrimmages, open them to the public and go about regular spring practices as usual.
Sure, fans are going to complain: We deserve it!” Coach just doesn’t care about the fans! He isn’t committed to the community! But coaches don’t really see things that way; they’re focused on winning and readying their teams for the fall.
If Chryst feels like the spring game isn’t worth it, that’s his prerogative. And if the Panthers find a way to improve on last season’s 7-6 record, fans will quickly forget that the spring game never happened in the first place.