COLUMN: Oklahoma State should eliminate the spring football game for good (as long as it finds a substitute for fanfare)

Apr. 18—With Boone Pickens Stadium renovations occupying much of the last two offseasons, Cowboy fans have seen the disappearance of the annual spring football game since 2021's game. When head coach Mike Gundy spoke with media members on Tuesday, his words convinced me that the game should be gone for good.

There's many ways for a football program to garner fan interest, and the spring game may rank at the bottom of that list. Typically less than 1/4 capacity is achieved to watch a glorified flag football game in which starters really only play for maybe a handful of drives anyways. From a coaching standpoint, it's nothing but a hassle.

"It's not really a football game, and it's hard to watch," Gundy said. "It's hard for me to watch. The referees don't know where to mark the ball down. I'm blowing the whistle chasing the guy with the ball telling him to bring it back. The crowd's upset because they want it on the 20, he wants it on the 10...It's not really that great in my opinion, unless you just say 'go play and make it all tackle.' We could do that, but I can't get over that hump."

Some of the greatest benefits of hosting a spring football game can be achieved in ways that are even more efficient and beneficial.

The fans in attendance really just want to see their favorite players in action or get an up-close look at the team. The same thing can be achieved at a spring finale event without a game. Holding an open practice inside BPS would let the athletes run a few drills and interact with fans for an hour or two and you've got the same effect without the headache of managing a fake football game.

Teams nationwide use the game as a vessel for recruiting visits, but many of those recruits view the game in the same way that Gundy does. In fact, the team has been able to host several droves of recruits at spring practices and the results have been phenomenal.

"They come to practice on Saturday and they actually enjoy it more than the spring game because they feel the same way I do," Gundy said. "When they come watch practice they can see their coaches working and the players. They go to the spring game and they see a flag football game. So, it actually works better for us, the way we've set it up."

Those same recruits no longer have a large chunk of the day taken up by a spring game. They get to truly experience what it's like being a part of the program — the best recruiting pitch you could give.

From a player perspective, getting an extra day of quality practice tops having a day of simulated, half-speed "competition." It also helps to limit any chance of unnecessary injuries from those situations.

The biggest loss from eliminating the spring game is with the fans. That is a very important aspect, but as long as fans are given some sort of spring access to Cowboy football then I'd say good riddance to the spring game for good.

Let me know what you think. Email me at with your thoughts.