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NCAA rule changes bring earlier start to Big 33 game

The Associated Press

NCAA rules changes are prompting Big 33 officials to play the summertime all-star high school football game earlier in future years.

This year's Ohio vs. Pennsylvania game in Hershey, Pa., is set for July 23, but next year's game is tentatively scheduled for June 17.

The late July date has been fairly standard, even though the game's format has changed numerous times since first being held in 1958.

The change allows colleges to pay for summer school for incoming freshmen. In the past, a freshman couldn't begin using his scholarship until the fall.

Big 33 executive director Mickey Minnich said college coaches told him they will try to get as many incoming freshman as possible into summer school to give them a jump on their academics. That could mean a diluted talent pool for the Big 33 game.

''We don't have much of a choice if we want to get the best players in the state,'' Minnich said. ''I know we could be running into some (high school) graduations with that date, but we've pretty much got to have it then because most summer sessions at colleges start that following week.''

Players normally report for practice a week before the Big 33 game. Previously, the late July date worked out well because many players reported for their colleges' training camps a week or two later.

''I always thought the best date for us was in early August because that's when everybody was starting to get ready for football,'' Minnich said. ''But this is a case where we are going to have to change with the times.''