Figure skating watching NFL's plans
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- U.S. Figure Skating doesn't want to take on the NFL.
The federation will consider moving its national championships if the NFL, as expected, goes to an expanded schedule, executive director David Raith said Thursday. Nationals in non-Olympic years are typically held in late January, when the NFL takes off in preparation for the Super Bowl.
But the NFL is considering adding two games to its schedule and could ultimately hold the Super Bowl on Presidents Day weekend. That would mean early-round playoff games the same weekend as nationals.
"The NFL schedule will most likely affect the dates of our U.S. championships, and we are waiting to see exactly what transpires," Raith said. "We're prepared to make any adjustments we believe are necessary."
Nationals were once held the same weekend as the conference championships, and U.S. Figure Skating moved them to avoid the conflict with the country's most popular sport.
U.S. Figure Skating hasn't awarded nationals beyond 2012, which are in San Jose, and Raith said he has let potential host cities know the schedule could change.
"It's a big caveat we have with them," Raith said.
Conflicts are unavoidable in Olympic years, when nationals are held earlier to give athletes more training time ahead of the Winter Games. They were spread over two weekends last year, and Raith said it's too soon to say whether that will be done again in 2014. Opening ceremonies for the Sochi Games are Feb. 7.
"The NFL schedule is a key factor and it will be a key factor in our dates as we go into the future," he said. "Sochi is not Vancouver, it's not a couple of time zones away. In 2014, we'll be looking to go as early as possible in January and, right now, it's wild-card weekend in the NFL.
"As we look at all other years, we'll pick the best weekend we can and, hopefully, not have any major conflicts with the NFL."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press