09/13/13 – Proposal by Proposal Analysis of 2013 Annual Meeting Proposals

September 17, 2013 Athletic Department Blog Updates

This is the second part of a two-part effort to talk about the 2013 KHSAA Annual Meeting.

During the morning sessions, there are three great workshops. Veteran maintenance and grass/grounds experts Bucky Trotter and Dr. A.J. Powell will conduct a seminar entitled: “Proven Specifications & Maintenance Practices for Kentucky Sports Fields”; Kobie Baker of the NCAA Initial Eligibility Staff will conduct an in depth seminar on the changes coming by the NCAA with his sessions, “NCAA Eligibility 101, 2point3”; and Dan Schuester of the NFHS Coaching Education Department will conduct a great session called “Your Coaches, Your Community” and talk about options available for continued training.

There are only seven (7) proposals on the agenda to change the bylaws of the KHSAA this year and they are detailed at http://khsaa.org/annualmeeting/20132014/annualmeetingproposals.pdf. Four of these came from the Board of Control’s required Annual Review and those represent the very few issues that have arisen in the last year for which the Board seeks the approval of the schools in finding a remedy. Three of the proposals come from the member schools, with each of them designed to address a specific issue among the membership. Below is a detailed description of each of the proposals.

PROPOSAL 1 – Amend Bylaw 3 to restore the start of the four year count of eligibility to the beginning of the first ninth-grade entry, rather than the first promotion from grade eight. Please read the rationale of this proposal for the primary reasons.
In all honesty, the change to starting with the first promotion from grade eight was a good faith effort to get at a problem that was perceived to exist wherein athletes were redshirting illegally, and we gaining an athletic advantage by holding back in grade eight. Instead, these types of requests and moves are now simply being done at a younger age, not eliminated. However, the primary problem with the rule as it is written is that it potentially penalizes a student in the case where a middle school administrator allows a student to repeat following promotion, and unknowingly creates a two-year athletic penalty (the repeat year, and the senior year due to ending of four years). This means that people who don’t know KHSAA rules (and shouldn’t be expected to) are making very critical decisions about kids who also may not know those rules. The rules of the KHSAA are for grades 9-12 and should stay in that area. In addition, the rule is very difficult to administer as the Infinite Campus recording system does not mandate the recording of first 9th grade promotion, and that invariably leads to disputes later in that student’s enrollment in high school. 

PROPOSAL 2 – Amend Bylaws 6, 7 and 8 to add into the section of “athletic advantage”, the “following” of a coach to a new school when the coach changes schools. This change likely needs very little explanation and most is explained in the rationale. Unfortunately for many, the actions of a few necessitate this review. Coaches are very mobile today, and in many cases, when they leave, unusual things occur where the student seems to want to “follow” the coach. This would place into section 3 the specific following of a coach as a reason why a transfer might be denied. This could either be from school based play, or outside play. This rule is critical to the integrity of the high school program.

PROPOSAL 3 – Amend Bylaw 23 to mandate a pre-contact period for spring football practice for specific athletes. Please see the rationale for further commentary. Authored by a member of the Football Advisory Committee, this is a health and safety, along with a liability issue. In some cases, students are coming into the first day of spring practice without any acclimation to the rigors of contact and are allowed to wear full gear. This proposal would require those that have not been conditioning in a formal setting, or playing another sport, to have three days of acclimation. According to the author, it seems unusual to require such total structure prior to fall practice, but allow someone to simply get up off the couch and into full gear in the spring.

PROPOSAL 4 – Amend Bylaw 23 to restructure fall practice for football to move certain activity out of July, and amend the season limitations. Please remember to read the rationale on this proposal as well. This is perhaps the most important proposal being considered. Various medical and advocacy groups are looking very closely at the KHSAA and its football rules. Simply put, if the KHSAA members don’t change the practice rules and word them in a way as to protect the integrity of the program AND the safety of the advocate, these outside groups (sports medicine, training groups, legislative influences, outside entities such as the Korey Stringer Institute) will force change on our schools and on this sport that will not result in positive things for the sport itself. 
Therefore the members of the Football Coaches and ADs Advisory Committee set about restructuring the high school football preseason and season to make it work for the sport, and still incorporate things like a time limit on practices, required rest, and elimination of any possible contact in July. This proposal, written by member football coaches, is based in large part on the recent changes adopted in the state of Texas, who has a fairly strong football tradition. Careful reading of the proposal shows that coaches in most cases, will not have a reduction in practice time from the current system, and a uniform start date is absolutely essential to competitive balance. Unfortunately, with a non-uniform start date for school and differing requirements in the state for professional development, it is likely that there will never be a “perfect” system. But this will at least get football practice (contact) out of July, return to a 10-game, 10-week system, and continue to end football with the finals the first weekend in December, allowing the extreme travel games, the semifinals, to remain on a weekend that optimizes fan opportunity for participation.
The bottom line with all of Proposal 4, is that the schools themselves need to take the initiative to make these changes and approve these changes, and therefore not allow outside groups to force change that may not be desirable for the best conduct of the program.

PROPOSAL 5 –  Amend Bylaw 25 to eliminate an outdated provision. This housekeeping proposal eliminates an outdated and unnecessary part of Bylaw 25 (formerly Bylaw 27). There is no need for a waiver provision since the Kentucky General Assembly removed the requirement for 64 college hours in 2012. 

PROPOSAL 6 – Amend Bylaw 25 to require continued improvement activities by coaches. This proposal would require all coaches to participate in continuous improvement activities as defined by the district. This would be administered solely at the local level, and clarify allowable expenditures for these required activities.

PROPOSAL 7 – Amend Bylaw 27 to add a penalty option for violation of KHSAA rules. It is important to review the on proposal rationale for this proposal. For many years, legislators, regulators, and others have challenged the staff and Board of the KHSAA to shift penalty enforcement from penalizing students in the case of violations, to penalizing the adults. The addition of a “show cause” penalty would allow, in those rare cases where a coach is specifically penalized, that coach and new school to be required to appear before the board prior to continuing in coaching and show cause as to why the penalty shouldn’t carry with them. Frankly, in many cases, schools and current students have been left behind to pay the penalty for adult violations, and this step would help alleviate those concerns.