GREENSBORO — The East-West All-Star football game will move from July to December starting in 2023.
Wednesday’s East-West All-Star football game will be the penultimate game played in the summer, at least for the foreseeable future. In 2023, there will be games in July and December.
The N.C. Coaches Association has decided to move its marquee game, which is played at Grimsley’s Jamieson Stadium, to the weekend after the NCHSAA state championship games in December. The state finals typically are played on the second Friday and Saturday in December.
The boys and girls basketball games at the Greensboro Coliseum and boys and girls soccer games at Macpherson Stadium will remain in July.
The football game’s move from July to December has been in the making for at least 30 years, says Phil Weaver, executive director of the coaches’ association.
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“Ever since I’ve been doing it the football coaches have wanted to,” Weaver said. “Splitting up the games is going to hurt a little bit. I guess basketball will become the premier summer event, and that should help soccer a little bit, too.”
The “overriding reason” to move the football game from summer to just after the season ends, Weaver said, is to attract more prominent players. Many college programs will not allow scholarship players to participate in the game because of summer school commitments and the risk of injury.
“I’ll bet out of 72 football kids we replaced more than 30 from the original rosters,” Weaver said. “A lot of it was kids being found late in the (college) recruiting process. … They weren’t standing us up, they just had to go to college.”
Another reason for the move to December is that it will allow Division I football coaches to attend the coaches’ clinics that are held in conjunction with the East-West All-Star game. A NCAA rules interpretation had prevented coaches from attending or serving as clinicians in recent years.
The East-West football game will now be played on the same weekend as the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in Spartanburg, S.C., but Weaver said he believes there will still be plenty of outstanding North Carolina seniors available.
A coaches’ association football committee will meet to determine whether the next East-West game will be played on the afternoon of the third Saturday or the third Sunday, Weaver said. The NCCA has to work through all of the logistical challenges of moving the game before setting the date.
“We have our 75th team being selected in the winter,” Weaver said, “so we’ve decided that for any changes we want to make this is a perfect time to make them.”