We’ve been reading the opinions of people outside school sports that there need to be more rules for school sports, particularly regarding practices.  For example – how many and how long, what days and what hours, what activities.

Writing rules for high school contests is an infinitely more likely-to-succeed project than promulgating rules to govern high school practices.

In the first place, most contests have independently registered and assigned officials to enforce the rules.  This is missing at practice.

Secondly, by definition, a contest involves opponents who will tend to enforce the rules of the game even if you don’t want to play by the rules.  This too is missing at practice.

And if that’s not enough, the paying spectators and working media will tend to hold folks accountable at contests, whereas things might be missed or ignored at practices.

Aside from stipulating the earliest starting and latest ending dates for local school practices and the number of days between the first practice and the first contest, the MHSAA acknowledges it will have difficulty assuring adherence to any rules prescribing behaviors at practices, and few such rules are imposed.

In spite of a huge staff and relatively few schools, the NCAA has a spotty record at best enforcing limitations on practice hours; so, with our small staff and large number of schools, we’re not inclined to add new rules to what’s not very enforceable.

In fact, it is this line of thinking that has many school sports leaders rethinking rules that address the activities between coaches and student-athletes outside the season and especially during the summer.  If there’s no one around to enforce a rule, should we have that rule?

I’m not ready to discard all the out-of-season rules, but “enforceability” must be one characteristic we test as we continue the review and evaluation of current out-of-season coaching restrictions . . . as well as proposals for more rules to govern behaviors at practices during the season.


# maureen
Friday, August 19, 2011 7:07 PM
We love school sports very much and enjoy going to differen't high school sports. However, from my own experience and talking to others with kids
in jr. high or high school sports I have found that some sports take up a very
good part of the students summer vacation. Coaches say it is not mandatory,
but they make it pretty clear that if you miss conditioning or practice for a
family vacation it is frowned upon. And, even though some may deny it, it
will be taken out on the student, unfortunately. I feel this is a major concern
for parents and their student. It is wrong for coaches and/or schools to allow
this type of lash back if a family has a planned vacation it should not be held against the student in any way. Maureen

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From the Director

From the Director is the official MHSAA Blog which will touch on pertinent school sports topics periodically throughout the school year from various MHSAA Staff.