Penn State coach James Franklin said Saturday he’s in favor of Beaver Stadium hosting a high school football game — and, in fact, he’d like the stadium to eventually host the state football championships.
“We’d love to get to the point where maybe we’re able to host the state championship games here,” Franklin told reporters during his media day press conference inside the stadium. “I think there’s a lot of reasons why that makes sense. We’re in the center part of the state, and I think it would be exciting for kids to have the opportunity to do that. We see that in other states as well.”
Franklin’s statement comes one day after news broke that Penn State was looking into hosting a high school football game during the 2019 season. At this point, few details are available — candidates for the game have not been made public, there’s no timetable for an announcement and no potential gameday dates — but one report from play-by-play man Eric Thomas said the game would occur during a Penn State road weekend and might involve State College.
Penn State Athletics released a statement Friday that read, in part, “We are working with the appropriate officials regarding the details.”
When asked about that Saturday, Franklin confirmed that’s something he’s in favor of exploring — as long as it doesn’t interfere with Penn State.
“Obviously our No. 1 focus is on Penn State and our football program and our athletic department and our university,” Franklin said. “So we’re not going to do anything that challenges or causes issues there.
“But when we can be great partners in our community and we can be great partners in our state and provide a great experience ... for something that’s going to promote athletics and college football, high school football, in our state, we want to try to do it.”
That being said, don’t expect high school football games to become a monthly staple anytime soon.
“I don’t think it’s something you’re going to see very often,” Franklin said. “But there are going to be times where it does make sense. I do think there’s been some discussions.”
As far as potential dates for a game this season, Penn State’s byes come Sept. 21 and Nov. 2. And the away games are Sept. 27 (Maryland), Oct. 12 (Iowa), Oct. 26 (Michigan State), Nov. 9 (Minnesota) and Nov. 23 (Ohio State).
The final week of high school football’s regular season is Oct. 25.