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May 22, 2008

New MPSSAA interpretation changes out-of-season policy

by Greg Kohn, Online Sports Editor
For the first time, Blair's sports teams and the rest of Maryland public schools can practice during the summer with all their coaches and players, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) ruled in their Board of Control meeting on April 25.

In their new interpretation of the rules governing out-of-season play, MPSSAA requires that teams must play in non-school sponsored summer leagues in order to qualify, and are limited to one practice for every league game.

Montgomery County unsuccessfully voted against the decision, according to William Beattie, countywide Athletic Director. The final vote was 27 in favor to 21 against.

"While there were some positive aspects of the proposal, the negative aspects seemed to outweigh them," Beattie said. He cited the pressure on students to participate in the summer teams in order to make the team during the school year, as well as potentially forcing them to choose between two sports both practicing during the summer as such negative aspects. "If two coaches of different sports but from the same school both have summer teams at the same time, would the student make one coach or the other angry that student did not choose his team?"

Under the former interpretation, all teams were given only two weeks before the start of their season to organize tryouts and practice with coaches. Out of season, members of the coaching staff could only train players in limited numbers - a maximum of "80% of the returning players of what would constitute a starting lineup in that sport or a modified version thereof," according to the MPSSAA website.

Now, from the last state championship game of the spring season to the commencement of the fall season, coaches from all seasons may train under the new summer rules without a limit to returning players. The rest of the time, the 80 percent restriction rule still applies.

For the full news release, visit the MPSSAA website .




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