Summers will be busy from now on
Charles Prince, Sports Editor
On March 17, the Alabama High School Athletic Association's Central Board of Control voted into effect five new proposals for prep sports in Alabama.
One of those proposals may well change the summer vacation for high school athletes in the state for years to come.
It was proposal No.19.
The proposal to be voted on was worded as follows. "Proposed that a school may participate in seven days of competition per sport during the time school is out for the summer until the first day of fall practice. Any competition between two schools will count as one of that school's seven days."
The rationale behind the rule is this: It will provide competition for all athletes rather than just a few who are invited to join special all-star teams and travel teams for summer tournaments.
In addition, the schools proposing the rule believed it would give athletes something to look forward to during the summer break and provide them with a reason to work over the school break.
The thinking behind the proposed rule also had in mind the chance to spread out competition over the eight weeks of the summer break, instead of concentrating it all in one team camp.
Some coaches have already moved to take advantage of the change, while others didn't feel they had enough time to schedule events this year.
One sport, however, may not be affected by Proposal 19.
A softball coach felt travel softball was too entrenched to be affected by the rule change.
It appears most other sports will be affected by the rule. One local soccer coach told me he wasn't sure what effect it would have this year, due to the late date it passed. He felt coaches didn't have enough time this spring to take advantage of the change, but thought the impact would really take full effect next summer. He foresees organized summer leagues by most schools, and perhaps fewer trips to team camps.
A local baseball coach told me he's planning on scheduling seven doubleheaders spaced out over seven weeks next summer.
A basketball coach told me a round-robin summer league had already been set up for many schools this June, and he expected even more schools to do so next year.
A football coach informed me his team would participate in a weekly seven-on-seven passing camp rotating at different school campuses in the Huntsville area during July.
A second football coach plans on Monday night practices beginning in June.
He feels the rule will have a greater impact on sports like basketball and baseball than on football.
Finally, a volleyball coach told me she has scheduled three all-day tourneys for her team to compete in.
One will be at home and two will be on the road.
She said she would have scheduled more, but some schools didn't have time to organize the dates needed for this year. She thinks by next year, all seven days allowed will be scheduled and the majority of schools which don't plan to participate this year will do so in future summers.
One thing seems to be a certainty. Summers will be busy for high school athletes in Alabama from now on thanks to the impact of Proposal 19.