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AHSAA Legislative Proposals’ Survey Begins

The annual Legislative Proposals survey has begun for member high schools of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The list of 11 proposals has been mailed to the schools with a Feb. 26 deadline set for returning their votes to the state office.

All of the proposals are concerns expressed by some of the 408 AHSAA-member high schools, but all of them do not require action by the AHSAA Legislative Council, a 32-member body elected by the eight AHSAA athletic districts. Only the Legislative Council can make changes to the AHSAA Constitution and By-Laws.

Results of the schools’ vote will be provided to the four-member district boards when they convene in Montgomery for the annual March meeting.

The proposals, with the presenting school(s) or committee in parenthesis, are grouped in categories:

FOOTBALL

1. Proposed – That a football coach may coach his team for seven days at competition during the summer. (Tuscaloosa County)

2. Proposed – To begin the school year 2006 by instituting an 11-game regular season football schedule. The starting date for football would remain the same with the first game being played on the third Friday of August. (Colbert County)

Rationale: Since most schools are playing a jamboree an 11th game would get better media coverage and would allow schools to schedule rival games that they normally don’t get to play because of region play.

BASKETBALL

3. Proposed – That with the approval of the principal or athletic director, that schools are allowed to participate in a spring basketball tournament (Friday and Saturday) or two games (Friday and Saturday). (Calhoun)

Rationale: Spring basketball practices, tournaments or games cannot be held during football spring practices. This would allow for extra money for the school’s athletic program in smaller schools to help pay for their football program.

4. Proposed – To allow a jamboree-type game for basketball. This could be an entire game between two schools or it could be split like a football jamboree and play two different teams. This could be played either in the fall or spring. (Sylvania)

Rationale: With the ever-pressing financial crunch we are all going through, this would help with this problem by adding some extra money to the program.

BASEBALL

5. Proposed – For a change in the baseball playoff format. Make all rounds of the state playoffs a best-of-3 series. The first round of the playoffs would begin on April 23-24, 2004. The finals would be held during the week of May 18-22, 2004. The finals would be one week later than the current calendar. This extra week will only affect the 12 schools that are playing in the finals. (AHSAA Baseball Committee)

Rationale: The better team will advance; one dominant pitcher can’t carry a team by him self. The series format creates a great atmosphere, which will help high school baseball increase revenue.

6. Proposed – To allow an additional three weeks of supervised throwing activities prior to the starting date for baseball. (Mary Montgomery)

Rationale: The current three weeks of supervised throwing is inadequate to properly prepare an arm for the season.

SPRING SPORTS

7. Proposed – A five-day tryout period for all spring sports during the fall semester. This tryout period must be five consecutive days and may include new players and returning players. (AHSAA Softball Committee)

Rationale: Fall and winter sports are allowed a tryout period in the spring, but only new athletes may tryout in the fall for spring sports. A fall tryout would make it equitable for all sports, allow for easier scheduling of classes, allow for fund-raising by all team members, and allow spring sports to use practice days for practice not tryouts.

ELIGIBILITY

8. Proposed – That the Fifty Percent Rule be abolished in Class 5A/6A. This rule limits the number of players that could play on competitive teams in all sports outside of their regular assigned seasons. (Oak Mountain)

Rationale: This would allow more students an opportunity to compete on a team from their local community in a sport outside of the regular season. It would eliminate students being left out or having to travel all over the state to compete on a team. NOTE: Alabama and Arkansas are the only states in the Southeast that have restrictions on such participation.

9. Proposed – That the Fifty Percent Rule be eliminated. (Randolph, Tuscaloosa County, Grissom, Northview, Eufaula)

Rationale: In order to develop athletes capable of competing at the state, regional and national level and to provide exposure to college recruiting, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of Alabama school coaches that are being forced to deny opportunities to the best athletes due to conflicts with AHSAA’s Fifty Percent Rule.

Many athletes are being forced to totally abandon club sports due to eligibility issues in the local high school associated with the Fifty Percent Rule. Alabama and Arkansas are the only remaining states in the South to restrict access to high school athletic programs due to participation in club sports activities outside of school. The Fifty Percent Rule unfairly restricts access to our programs and discriminates against players who have otherwise earned the right to play for their high school.

10. Proposed – To amend the Fifty Percent Rule so that it does not apply to incoming freshmen. (Hoover)

Rationale: Often there are large numbers of incoming freshman wanting to play on a club team to prepare themselves for high school competition. As the rule stands, no more than 50 percent can play on a team together. This becomes a problem because of the following:

Students may not know what high school they will be attending; students may not know what team they may make when they attend a high school; there may be numerous middle schools feeding into a high school; students may not now if they will be attending a public or private school.

For example, in volleyball, there might be 30 incoming ninth graders from different middle schools that want to tryout for a team at the high school. As the rule states now, from that group only three can play on a club team together.

Therefore, there must be 10 club teams formed to accommodate these players at that age level. We want these players to mature and develop, but they cannot if they are limited by this rule. These problems are not limited to volleyball. The problems also exist in other sports including soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball.

MISCELLANEOUS

11. Proposed – A school may participate in seven days of competition per sport during the time school is out until All-Star Sports Week. Any competition between two or more schools will count as one of the seven days for each school. Helmets are the only type of protective equipment that may be worn at an organized football competition. Guidelines for team camps and summer competition would remain the same. (Scottsboro)

Rationale: This will help put control of the high school athlete back in the hands of high school coaches, and hopefully keep our athletes on our school campuses away from AAU, club teams, etc. We must combat the exploitation of our athletes. This also reduces the costs to schools that cannot afford camps with alternative, inexpensive competition. This gives athletes something to look forward to and a reason to work in the off-season. Athletes are looking for competition and they will find it even if it means being exploited to obtain the competition.