Pittsburgh cancels 2014 spring game

Pitt coach Paul Chryst says he wants to make the most of each spring practice. (USATSI)
Pitt coach Paul Chryst says he wants to make the most of each spring practice. (USATSI)

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Pittsburgh has canceled its spring game, deciding to use each of the 2014 spring practices to improve behind closed doors. 

The Panthers will still hold intrasquad scrimmages during the 15 practice sessions between March 16 and April 13, but none of the practices are currently open to the public. 

"The thought behind [the decision], honestly, is to get one more good work day out of them," Chryst explained, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Most, if not every spring game I've been a part of, you really end up sacrificing a lot. It sounds crazy, but just being locked into a place, bad weather. ... You're kind of locked into that day. These days are really valuable for us."

The school will organize new opportunities for fan interaction this spring in place of the spring game. Panthers fans can expect details on those events in the coming weeks.

"It's a little bit selfish doing what's best for the program," Chryst said. "You appreciate [the fans]. You don't want it to come off as not being appreciative. It's not the intent. But there is real conviction that for this group of guys, the guys in the building ... you feel really good that this is the right thing. You hope the people appreciate that."

CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd was quoted in a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story on the cancellation. Earlier the story cited Alex Kramer, Pitt football historian and former student manager from 1948-51. Kramer told the Tribune-Review that he can't remember a time when there wasn't a Pitt spring game.

"It's not that uncommon," Dodd said of schools canceling spring games. "It's all for show, anyway.

"There have been years when teams had so many injuries they just didn't want to do it."

Pittsburgh finished 2013 with a 30-27 win against Bowling Green in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl to give the Panthers a winning record on the season and improve the program to 13-13 under Chryst.

Texas A&M also canceled its spring practice due to the Kyle Field renovations, and Oklahoma State will hold just one open practice instead of a traditional spring game.

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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