CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The state Board of Education tabled a proposal that would have allowed high school athletic teams to practice throughout the summer, primarily because of strong response from critics.
On Wednesday, the board sent the proposal back to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission for additional study.
“I’ve never received so many comments,” said Bob Dunlevy, secretary of the state Board of Education. “There’s a lot of opposition there.”
Summer practices currently are limited to a three-week window, and that will continue to be the case at least through this summer and next. The change would have given school principals the option of authorizing additional voluntary practice times for most other summer weeks, with the exception of the week of July 4.
Supporters of the change have argued extending practices would allow for more flexibility and improved athletic training while helping high school sports—such as football—where conditioning workouts are already part of the summer routine.
Critics, though, have said more practices would lead to additional injuries and burnout for student-athletes. There were questions about what the change would mean for coaches who are paid stipends that do not currently cover summer months, along with the effects on other summer academic and athletic programs.
The board declined to include the proposal on the agenda for an upcoming 30-day comment period, but it could be taken up again later.
“We haven’t voted it down. We’ve just tabled it,” Dunlevy said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline.”