The N.C. High School Athletic Association board of directors approved adding a 10-day period for off-season football skill development sessions in May and eliminated all other out-of-season football skill development sessions beginning on Monday.
In the fall, though, some NCHSAA football games will be televised through an agreement between the NCHSAA and Time Warner Cable. The cable supplier is expected to request specific games be moved to Thursday to be televised. The schools will have the option of whether to move the game and be televised live or not be on television.
The board also denied a request from the state’s cross country and track coaches to create a separate state championship for adaptive athletes. Points scored by athletes in wheelchairs helped Winston-Salem Mount Tabor win the state 4A outdoor track title in 2014.
Beginning Aug. 1, 2017, every NCHSAA head coach and all paid coaches must be certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator).
The board also voted to allow Cardinal Gibbons to move to the 4A classification beginning next fall.
A change in off-season football practice has been discussed at NCHSAA board meetings for years. The board voted 12-5 on Thursday to create the special 10-day window for coaches to work with all of their potential football players.
Schools now may hold skill development sessions throughout the school year, but coaches cannot work with more than 21 players in a day.
Beginning Monday, coaches will not be allowed to have football skill development sessions until the 10-day period near the end of the school year. Coaches can continue to have players in weight lifting and conditioning, but skill development is banned.
“If there is a ball on the field, it is illegal,” Whitfield said.
The 10-day period is scheduled to begin on the 165th day of the school year and must be concluded by the 175th day on a 180-day school calendar. The workouts can be no longer than 2 1/2 hours.
There can be no workouts during the last five days of the year, a time reserved for final exams. Athletes who are participating in spring sports are prohibited from attending the 10-day sessions until their spring sports seasons are completed. There will be no body to body contact.
The players may hit padding.
Dwayne Stallings, chair of the NCHSAA Sports Committee, said coaches have been forced to tell players who wanted to work on their skills that they could not participate that day because the practice already had 21 players scheduled.
No adaptive division: The board denied a request to create an adaptive division from what was called an “able bodied division” in track.
Davis noted the current rules, which count the points earned by athletes in wheelchairs and other adaptive devices in the overall team standings, have been in place for years.
“The board made that decision years ago. To change it now would be going backwards, not forwards,” he said.
The board did approve a request by the cross country coaches to increase the number of runners advancing as individuals from the regionals to the state finals from five to seven.
Indoor track practice will begin on the same date as other winter sports beginning in 2015.
Basketball regionals: The NCHSAA will continue to discuss its regional basketball formats. The state quarterfinals and semifinals are now played at a central neutral site in all 4A classifications.
The format occasionally requires two neighboring schools to travel for hours to play at a neutral site.
It is not unusual for two Wake County teams to travel to Fayetteville to play in the 4A quarterfinals or semifinals, for example.
The regional format was adopted after high school gyms were overwhelmed by spectators during the playoffs. Parents were sometimes denied admission because the gym was full.
The NCHSAA will consider other options for the 2015-16 playoffs.
Concussions: The NCHSAA has been asked by the Department of Public Instruction to develop penalties for violations of the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act.
All North Carolina public high schools and middle schools are governed by the law, which requires schools to have emergency action plans, to educate coaches, parents and players about concussions, and to use established protocols before returning players to practice or competition.
There currently is no penalty for violations.
Davis Whitfield, the executive director of the NCHSAA, said Gibbons based its appeal on an enrollment growth, not the success of its athletic programs.
The enrollment at Gibbons, which won five state 3A high school sports championships this fall, has grown to 4A size since the last alignment two years ago. The school asked to move from 3A to 4A and the board voted 12-5 to allow the move in the middle of the current four-year alignment of schools into classification and conferences.
“It is growing steadily and has a 4A enrollment now,” Davis said.
But the Crusaders have been extraordinarily successful in athletics. Principal Jason Curtis recently said the non-boarding parochial school has an unusually high rate of participation among its students.
“We are really excited for the opportunities to have new relationships with the schools in the PAC-6 and continue our relations with the Big Eight schools,” Curtis said Thursday. “To us, the move to 4A is about creating new opportunities for our students.
“We are most appreciative for the opportunities that we, and all member schools, have in the NCHSAA. When I made our presentation on the appeal, I was impressed with all the people there who were committed to helping our boys and girls.”
The Crusaders won state 3A championships in boys’ cross country, girls’ cross country, boys’ soccer, girls’ tennis, girls’ golf and girls’ volleyball this fall. The school has won 50 NCHSAA 2A and 3A state titles since moving to the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association.
The school’s success has created some discord among the NCHSAA’s member schools.
In 2012, the member schools voted 235 to 50 in favor of a motion to expel Gibbons, Charlotte Catholic (39 state titles in the past 10 years), and Kernersville Bishop McGuinness (15), plus new member Huntersville Christ the King, the non-boarding parochial schools.
The measure needed a three-fourths majority, 293 votes, to pass.
The NCHSAA is in the second year of a four-year alignment, but schools have the ability to appeal their classification during the second year. Gibbons now has as many students as many 4A schools.
Gibbons will join the PAC-6 4A, which will become a seven-team conference.