Ben Queen Photography

Pending State Board of Education approval, the WVSSAC votes to allow teams to practice all summer, except for the week of July 4th.

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — High school athletic programs around the state could soon have the entire summer to stage voluntary practices, except for a dead period the week of July 4.

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission board of control approved a proposal Tuesday that would lengthen the current summer practice session from its current three-week window.

“I think it will be well received by most of our coaches,” said SSAC executive director Gary Ray. “I don’t think coaches are going to take all summer for just football or just basketball – I think they will work with their schools and pick a few weeks that work individually for their sports.

“It opens up the window more than if it’s restricted to just three weeks. For example, a baseball coach could take them in the middle of the summer and then the track coach could take them early. They can start sharing kids more and I think that is part of the reason to it.”

The rules changes still have to be approved by the West Virginia State Board of Education, and would take effect for the 2015-2016 academic year.

A separate proposal to stage year-round practices for teams without any dead period was dismissed.

“It was pretty overwhelming that (voters) didn’t want to open up practices for the whole year,” Ray said. “There was a concern that kids would start specializing even more (in just one sport) and they didn’t want to promote that. They wanted kids to participate in a variety of sports. If a coach had access to a kid all year long, there’s a concern that they wouldn’t participate in other sports.”

The compromise vote essentially became opening up the summer practice session.

“The problem we have right now is (athletes’) time is monopolized by travel teams and so forth,” Ray said. “Our philosophy by our member-school principals now is that if their time is going to be monopolized anyway, let’s let our coaches do it—the ones who work with them in an education-based athletics. From that perspective, I think it’s a positive move.”

The West Virginia State Board of Education will put all of the SSAC rules changes on its agenda for May. After a 30-day public comment period, the board will likely vote in July whether to approve the changes.

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Comments

  • Robert Hickman

    Let's see here. Almost year round athletics is ok but not almost year round academics? What business are we in anyway?

  • peleliu

    If a coach has a 2 hour practice, then he must teach a academic class offered at players school for 2 hours. Now see how many coaches and players will show up!

  • Only Comment

    From the article: Gary Ray “I don’t think coaches are going to take all summer for just football or just basketball – I think they will work with their schools and pick a few weeks that work individually for their sports.

    That will never happen. Some schools field 14 or more sports where others could field less than 9. The WVSSAC needs to go back and think about assigning the different sports different weeks or what Mr. Ray stated will start happening. Coaches will look for any competitive advantage they can. I know I will, it's time to start picking athletes that will play on my team by not letting the other practice in the summer time with my school team. You can say what you can but that scenario will happen even more now.

  • CoachJ

    Well considering I am a teacher and a coach, I disagree that teachers should not get 1st pick on coaching jobs. Teachers know how to relate to students of various backgrounds. I do think that teachers who wish to coach should be required to take a sports knowledge test and pass it. That way we only get competent coaches. And the new rule change that has been propsed needs an ammendment restricting either the number of hours at practice or the number of practices.

  • V.Hammes

    The kids will never see a vacation. Year around sports with athletes that play multiple sports will have more injuries. Its taking away from the little time that parents can enjoy their kids. Some coaches in some sports have no limits.

  • Stacey Whitlatch

    I don't have a big problem with it ad most of the time they are conditioning in July, however vacations have to be allowed and coaches have to work with each other. I don't see this happening. My daughter plays 3 sports and it was very difficult and hard on her going from one practice to another and making choices of which sport to go to if they were conflicting.

  • Professor

    As a parent I get tired of going to all the sporting events my kids play. This 3 weeks is a break from it all...and on top of that....saves me a little money!!!

  • ThatGUyOverThere

    I wish I would have never played one down of football in middle school and high school...I wish I would have studied math, science, physics, chemistry, and english more. If I ever have kids they will not play games/sports that abuse their body, they will however be involved in activities that challenge their minds. Now at 31 years old, my old knee injury bothers me every day, my neck hurts me almost every day, my shoulder that i seperated gives me trouble, my lower back hurts from taking a helmet to the spine, etc. etc. etc.

    • Realism

      Thanks for telling the truth. I wish current sports athletes would read your story and focus on academics. Good luck to you in the future. Hopefully your kids will develop the cure for cancer or other notable event or discovery.

  • Frankly

    The summer period will be dominated by football and basketball programs. "Voluntary" is not in our coach's vocabulary. To these guys, you are either in or out.

    • The Truth

      You are absolutely correct!!! Our former high school football coach told the freshman players they couldn't attend their senior Little League State Championship game as it interfered with practice. Half went and half stayed for practice. He blackballed those that went to the championship game. He is no longer here, thank god. So many coaches think they mold young men and woman when in reality they wouldn't know leadership, integrity, empathy, courage or selfless service if it hit them in the face.

  • David Delk

    Can the schools please just leave kids alone in the summer. Think about this quote - “The problem we have right now is (athletes’) time is monopolized by travel teams and so forth,” Executive Director Ray said. “Our philosophy by our member-school principals now is that if their time is going to be monopolized anyway, let’s let our coaches do it—the ones who work with them in an education-based athletics. From that perspective, I think it’s a positive move.”

    Really? Kids can voluntarily participate in private sports programs in the Summer- these high school summer practice periods are voluntary in name only. Most parents know this - they would rather their kids be involved in private programs/camps with professionals who can actually improve athletic skills than with the majority of high school coaches .

    Listen to the interview with the Executive Director- words like Pollyanna and rose colored glasses come to mind. What is "education-based athletics" ? The proper proposal by the WVSSAC and all states is to do away with any out of season/summer high school sports programs. Priorities are way out of place. It's about control by the schools not the actual best interest of the athletes.

  • Mike Queen - Clarksburg, WV

    What a stupid idea!

    Indicating that summer-long practice is good for student athletes is about as accurate as the SSAC suggesting that the current three-week summer practice is "voluntary".

    Summer-long practice is not an option for kids who don't drive or whose parents don't have a work schedule to drop off and pick up their children. What's next? Is the SSAC going to suggest that school boards run buses in the summer?

    And what about multi-sport students…especially in smaller schools? Which sport will they get to "voluntarily" practice with all summer long?

    And what does this do to the student athletes selected for Boys State, Girls State, band camp, the Governor's School for the Arts, History and Science?

    And I guess the SSAC is totally absent of the concept that some of our student athletes are selected to attend church camp as participants or camp counselors.

    Mr. Ray said on Hoppy's show that summer-long practice was a recommendation by high school and middle school principals.

    CALL YOU PRINCIPAL!!

  • Joe Schmoe

    ask college players what the word "voluntary: means. try the word mandatory. Sports are EXTRA-cirrucular. They do not need to practice all summer

  • Single A

    This will be a benefit to the rural teams, we don't have many AAU or travel teams for basketball and now the kids will finally be able to work with a coach to develop their skills at the only available gym in the area without having to drive an hour to get there.

    Amen it's about time.

    • Aaron

      Anyone that wishes to can organize an AAU team.

  • Steve

    Let me get this straight....letting football coaches have practice during the summer will promote playing baseball because....?

  • BamaUSF Dad

    Promise Scholarships award $4,750 to each WV student that obtains HS GPA 3.0 and ACT=21 or higher for college...

    How many WV athletes were awarded even half a athletic scholarship at a WV college or university?
    Answer: Very Few

    More WV Promise scholarship recipients than WV student athletes on scholarship at a WV college or university...

    We are sending our kids the wrong message.

    • Realism

      Been saying that for years. It's the sensationalism with sports and all of the big bucks to follow. You have as much chance of getting a Division 1 ride as being hot by lightning or hitting the lottery in this state. I would live to see the GPA stats for all the high schools athletes. I guarantee you there aren't many qualified for Promise. But coaches don't care. Most parents don't care. Only the students care once their senior season is over and they realize it was all for nothing a trophy and the coach throws them away and awaits the next season.