New CIF practice rules defy common sense
It is a shame the CIF has to make rules that are covered in most part by common sense. However, in my 40-plus years in education and high school athletics I have come to realize that common sense is not always as common as it should be.
Just look at some of the recent Letters to the Editor about our school board. Just because somebody votes “present” does not mean that that individual is all there.
This year the CIF has handed down rules and regulations regarding how many hours a week and how often teams can practice.
The new standard for high school student/athletes participating in interscholastic athletics is 18 hours per week, which is great until one does the math.
The rule states that practices, competitions, weight training, film studies and chalk talks can only add up to 18 hours a week. Teams, such as football, can no longer have two-a-day practices two days in a row and, on such days, the combined total of hours for both practices cannot exceed four hours. Competition days, no matter how long it takes for the game or the trip to the game, count as three hours.
Team meals, team bonding and equipment distribution and repair do not count. There can be no practices or games on Sundays. None of these rules apply to cheer, song, band or other extracurricular activities that do not compete under the auspices of the CIF.
The reason the CIF had to mandate the above guidelines is that coaches often go a little overboard and all too often flat-out cheat.
Let’s take a look and see how the cheaters will find a way to interpret the rules so far as to make bending them an understatement.
Team meals: “Today we are going to have a four course meal. Our first course will be an appetizer.” Every member of the team will be given a cracker. After an hour of conditioning to digest the cracker the team will get a second course: an energy bar. The team will then be given an hour to digest the energy bar while they are practicing defense. Next the main course will be a be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course one must digest such a large course. While doing so the team will work on offense. The final course, dessert, will be a Popsicle, which will be followed by a lecture on special teams, out of bounds plays, penalty kicks or relay hand-offs. After the team meal we will have a practice or our first practice of two-a-days.
On game or competition days we will have a team breakfast — shoot around, walk-through, batting practice, chalk talk — and then a bus trip on a bus that has videos of our opponents, and then a game and a real meal before we go home. Some sports play more than one game a day in tournaments. Therefore, a trip to the coast, a warm-up for the first game, two hours between games, the second game warm-up and game, and the trip home will count as three hours. Track invitationals often last more than six to eight hours. A trip there, the entire meet, and the trip home count as three hours. Wrestling tournaments last over 12 hours; new math says that they count as three hours.
Sundays are sacred. Not really! I know of open gyms, prayer meetings, days at the park and picnics here in Ramona that have been open to only to team members.
In the old days, teams were limited to 10 consecutive weeks in the off season. Coaches got around that by forming Boy Scout troops and multi-denominational church leagues. Or the coaches would have a stooge act as the coach and then sit a row or two deep in the stands or behind the dugout and coach. With so many parents doing the same thing, it was hard to pick out the coaches.
On the books for the near future is limiting football to 90 minutes a week of scrimmaging or contact. Most teams don’t hit on Saturday or Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday are scrimmage days. Thursdays are usually non-contact days and Fridays are games.
I can’t wait to see the cheaters’ definition of scrimmage or contact — “Our kids were hitting bags. That is not a scrimmage.” Of course the bags were very small and were being held by 11 other players trying the play offense or defense.
It is not the fault of the CIF. The cheaters have parents who are bigger cheaters. They have moved or use phony addresses. They have lawyers, lots of lawyers! They shop their kids to the highest bidders.
As to whether RHS will have a difficult time adjusting to the new rules, Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Damon Baldwin, said, “We have been doing what they now mandate for about six years in football. Our other head coaches have too. We will have no problems.”
RHS went through its mandated two-week “no contact” period. During that period coaches are not to meet with players. Each school mandates its own two-week period. Next year the first two weeks of the summer are being proposed, but it is not final. It doesn’t make sense that every sport has the same two weeks off.
In the past our tennis coaches have been professional tennis instructors. That rule makes it difficult for them to make a living. Our golf coach works full time as a golf professional. Does that mean that he can’t work or that his players can’t golf at his course?
The travel team coaches in soccer, volleyball, softball, baseball, etc. can’t coach their players during those two weeks. The purpose of the two-week dead period was to give the players a two-week break. Now they just come up with substitute travel team coaches for two weeks. Guess who is getting the break!
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