University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is a native of West Virginia, so it seems natural that he would want to do something to help young West Virginia football players who live in communities devastated by recent flooding. Saban has asked football coaches across Alabama to help high school teams in West Virginia by donating one full uniform.
The NCAA reports that the Alabama High School Athletics Directors and Coaches Association is joining with Saban, who says many of these high schools will not have football teams this fall if others do not step up and help.
"Football was such an important part of my childhood in West Virginia, and to see the devastation the flooding has caused, and how it has threatened so many high school football teams, we wanted to find a way to help," Saban said. "We are asking each high school from across the state to donate a full uniform to help these schools get their kids back on the football field this season."
Many of the schools affected by the flooding need football uniforms and padding. High schools that decide to donate are asked to give one uniform consisting of a pair of shoulder pads, a helmet, two knee pads, two thigh pads, a girdle, practice pants, practice jersey, and one pair of cleats. The sizes most needed are small and medium, but the schools will accept large sizes as well.
The Alabama football program will be accepting donations until July 25. Items should be sent to Mal Moore Athletic Complex, Attn: Jeff Springer, 323 Bryant Dr., Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.
Included in the article asking for donations in the Times Daily, Alex Byington mentioned a new college football Power 5 conference agreement to change time restrictions for student-athlete scheduled activities.
A press release announced that the action is being put in place to balance students' athletic play and practice, campus life, academics, work experience, travel, and rest time. The move centers on what is being called a "Flex 21." It would include one athletic-free day a week during the season, 14 additional days off during or outside the season, an 8-hour block of free time every night between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and a seven-day period of recovery that involves no activity after the season is complete.
Florida State University head coach Jimbo Fisher is also a West Virginia native, and he too is reaching out to football coaches across the state of Florida.
Two high school coaches who have heeded the call are the Leon Lions' Tim Cokely and the Godby Cougars' Todd Lanter.
"Other football players, they're our brothers in arms," said Cokely. "I think it's going to be an awesome opportunity for our team to really reach out to another team."
Lanter added that it costs approximately $1,600 a year for one player to suit up for practice and games, according to WCTV-TV's James Buechele.
The floods that hit West Virginia on June 23 resulted in the deaths of at least 24 people. CNN reporters Steve Visser and Martin Savidge write that authorities said 111 homes and 14 businesses were destroyed in Greenbrier County, where most of the deaths occurred. This disaster was the US's highest death toll from flash flooding since May 2010, when 27 people died in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.