"This is how football was
meant to be played, with 11 guys flying around with reckless abandon!"
-Major Joseph R. Clearfield, USMC, Navy 2006
sprint football coach
What is sprint football?
Simply put, it’s the same as any college football!!
Helmets, Shoulder pads, cleats, funny looking balls, 100-yard field, field
goal posts, sidelines, end zones, the list goes on and on.
You name it and it’s in the game.
The only difference is that the players who compete in sprint must weigh no
more than 172 pounds 48 hours prior to kickoff.
But don’t be fooled by size, because we play football for keeps here!!
The evolution of sprint football was started in the early 1930’s by the
president of the University of Pennsylvania. He wanted to assure that the
smaller, talented student-athletes still had opportunities to compete in
football on the intercollegiate level.
Founded as the Eastern 150-Pound Football League in 1934, the original league
had seven members: Cornell, Lafayette, Penn, Princeton, Rutgers, Villanova, and
Yale. Throughout the years, a number of teams have either joined or left the
league. In 1946, Navy fielded its first squad, with army following suit in 1957.
Mansfield started sprint football in 2008 and in the spring of 2009, was
admitted as a member, the first new member in over 50 years!!!
During the first 25 years of the league, athletes became bigger, forcing the
league to increase the weight limit from 150 to 154 pounds initially, then later
to 159 pounds. At that time, the league was called the Eastern Lightweight
Football League. Just two days prior to the 1996 season, the ELFL increased the
weight limit again, this time to 165 pounds. In 2004, the weight limit was
increased to 166 pounds. The current weight limit of 172 pounds was established
During the 1998 season, the word "Lightweight" was replaced with the word
"Sprint." This word better expresses the quickness, speed, and caliber of play
in the league. Sprint also gave the league a better marketing tool to attract
new teams, of which Mansfield is the first. The league was renamed the
Collegiate Sprint Football League(CSFL). Six teams make up the current CSFL:
Army, Cornell, Mansfield, Navy, Penn, and Princeton.
The league has produced some big-time alums, including former Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld(Princeton) and former President Jimmy Carter(Navy). The
league also produced NFL coaching legend George Allen, who started his coaching
career as an assistant coach for the now-disbanded University of Michigan
150-pound team. Allen later was the head coach of both the Los Angeles Rams and
The Student-Athletes who choose to play Sprint Football
At weigh-ins, which are done both 4 and 2 days in advance of kickoff, players
must weigh less than the maximum allowed weight of 172 pounds. Sprint Football
is very similar to Wrestling in that the players constantly watch their diets.
In addition to all the football drills that take place during practices,
athletes may run several times throughout practice and in their free time to
help keep their weight in check.
However, after the last weigh-in, players can eat what they want as most
reach 175 pounds or more by game day. The average weight for the athletes during
the season ranges between 155 and 175 pounds.
During the off-season, players’ weights fluctuate with some going as high as
185-190 pounds!! However, as fall camp approaches, players go through their own
training programs to make weight safely and get ready for the upcoming season.
Height does not matter in the CSFL. Most of the players are generally between
5’6" and 6’0" tall, there are always exceptions to the rule as some are as tall
The CSFL is a perfect opportunity to players to continue to compete in a
sport they love. Most players in the league were told throughout their careers
that they were too small to play intercollegiate football. However, sprint
football gives student-athletes the chance to fulfill their dreams!!!
Because of the players’ size, proper technique and execution are taught
rather than simply "bulking up." Due to this element, sprint teams regularly
beat Division III junior varsity teams that have 300 pounders scattered
throughout their roster