PIAA considers significant change for football heat acclimatization week

Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 2:17 AM

Heat acclimatization week might become a little more eventful for PIAA football teams.

After finishing five days of mandatory heat acclimation, two schools could join together on that Saturday for a non-contact scrimmage, according to a football steering committee idea discussed this week by the PIAA board.

“They can go to a neighboring school and play seven-on-seven to get some competition in,” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said. “No contact — helmet and shoulder pads only — but they can start looking at some things and developing their team.”

The PIAA called the workout an inter-school practice rather than a scrimmage. The PIAA board supported the proposal at Wednesday’s meeting, but it would need to pass two more votes before it could take effect.

If the plan was adopted for this fall, teams would complete five days of heat acclimation Aug. 10-14 before the inter-school practice on Aug. 15. In a connected move, the first full-contact scrimmage would be move up from Aug. 22 (Saturday) to Aug. 21 (Friday), if approved.

“I thought it was a good opportunity for the board to say, ‘Coaches, we’re listening to you,’” Lombardi said. “I think it’s better for the health and safety of the athletes.”

The addition of an inter-school practice could somewhat compensate schools that play only one scrimmage. Since 2016, schools are allowed to trade their second scrimmage for a nonconference Week Zero game.

This fall will mark the seventh year that PIAA football teams are required to heat acclimate. The PIAA started by requiring three days in 2013 and expanded to five in 2015.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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