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WIAA passes amendment limiting spring, summer football | Prep sports news
In 2012, athletic directors from several districts around the state championed an amendment to the WIAA Handbook that would have effectively ended spring football in its current form by disallowing athletes from using school-issued football pads during the offseason.
The amendment was met with harsh skepticism by area coaches and ultimately failed to pass through the WIAA Representative Assembly.
This time around, things were much different.
The WIAA announced on Monday the passage of an amendment that will limit high school football practices during the offseason and also place constraints on fully-padded workouts and a maximum number of practices.
WIAA High School Amendment 10, entitled "High School Football Practice Requirements," limits the number of days a team can practice between the end of spring sports and July 31 to 10 padded, full-contact practices and a total of 20 days under the supervision of the coaching staff. While weight lifting and conditioning workouts would not be subject to the new 20 day rule, seven-on-seven competitions and team camps would.
Common practice among KingCo schools is two weeks (ten days) of spring football, passing camps or seven-on-seven tournaments in the summer and a team camp hosted by a local university (Puget Sound, Central Washington) that serves a team-bonding experience and allows for controlled scrimmages with other schools.
New Interlake football coach Dave Myers, formerly the head coach at Garfield, said passage of the amendment would force him to rethink some of his offseason scheduling. But, he added, it would be far from the death-blow some around the state are making it out to be.
"We will have to get creative," Myers said. "It makes it harder to do a team camp and full spring ball."
John Miller of the WIAA, said despite the skepticism of coaches in opposition to the amendment, it is simply another added dimension to the safety concerns that are currently reshaping the game.
"It revolves around the current stuff we're seeing with regard to the risk of concussions," Miller said. "We see throughout the country that limitations are being placed on the amount of contact coaches can have with athletes during the off-season." Miller cited a new piece of legislation in Texas-a place where football is as firmly ingrained into the culture as anywhere in America-that aims to limit full-contact practices to once per week.
Washington's most notable prep program is on Wolverine Way, where coach Butch Goncharoff and Bellevue have surged to national prominence after a decade atop Class 3A. Goncharoff was not available for comment, but Bellevue athletic director Lance Gatter said before the amendment's passage his program already had a plan in place for spring and summer football that would be in compliance with the new regulations.
A "practice" is defined in the WIAA Handbook as follows under Rule 17.5.7:
"Practice is defined as a regularly scheduled team physical activity designed for the preparation of athletes for the ensuing sports season and must be conducted under the supervision of the school coach. A practice is further defined as any attempt by the coach of a school team (paid or volunteer) to teach any phase of a game or activity to their squad or part of their squad or have their squad or part of their squad engage in drills under the supervision of that coach, or from directions provided by that coach."
The Reporter will update this story as more information becomes available. This story was updated to reflect Rule 17.5.7 of the WIAA Handbook.