Deflated footballs in high school are nothing new

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

The sports world is aghast at Deflategate, where the New England Patriots allegedly used deflated footballs in last week's AFC championship game.

High school football has the same rules as the NCAA and NFL: Balls have a required inflation range of 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds per square inch. But you won't see too many officials showing up with a gauge to measure the balls' inflation levels. Most simply do the Charmin test: squeeze the ball. In fact, Charmin should find a way to take advantage of the whole situation with a new ad campaign built around squeezing a football.

Questions about inflating footballs have been around for years. Former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame assistant coach Jeff Kraemer remembers in 1988 when he was a JV coach, Hart's junior varsity coach at the time, Dean Herrington, noticed that the Notre Dame receivers were dropping passes.

Kraemer said Herrington told him, "It's no wonder you're dropping passes. Your footballs have too much air in them."

Herrington, now the coach at Alemany, said while he was playing quarterback, he wanted to use a football under inflated because he had a small hand.

Kirk West, an official for more than 30 years, said he checks balls before games with his hands and the backjudge always checks kicking balls before they are used, because kickers like them to be overinflated.

Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said of the whole situation, "It's a silly thing to be fussing over."

The football advisory committee for the National Federation of State High School Assns. is scheduled to meet this weekend to go over new rules for the 2015 football season, but don't expect any new rule requiring officials to bring a gauge to measure inflation levels of footballs.

It's low priority of high school coaches no matter how big an issue it has become in the NFL.

Twitter: @LATSondheimer


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