Baxter’s Blitz: SCHSL shuffle tops docket

02/21/2013 12:00 AM

02/21/2013 11:52 PM

WITH THE SPRING conference for the S.C. Athletic Administrators around the corner, I thought I’d look at a few of the issues that our athletics program leaders will be tossing around the table.

At the top of the list is the debate of SCHSL realignment. Two months ago, they were ready to vote on the five-class proposal, which seemed to be the best proposal.

At the last minute, several athletics directors brought up a new six-class system disguised as a three-class system — three classifications with two divisions in each classification. That proposal is not too different than what we have now — a four-class system, with divisions in three classes, giving us seven champions.

Along with that terrible idea is the retention of the ridiculous points system for playoff seeding, which discourages natural geographic rivalries from taking place.

Another issue that is sure to be brought up, though it is not on the agenda, is the proposal to banish the private schools from the SCHSL membership.

While those in favor could use words such as “scholarships” and “unfair advantage,” the bottom line and reason for this proposal — which was shot down by the SCHSL executive committee last month — is that two private schools, Christ Church Episcopal and Bishop England, have captured back-to-back state titles in their respective divisions.

Trust me, this is about football.

There were no whiners when the private schools were winning tennis and golf championships, but now that they are beginning to dominate in football, there seems to be a concern. I do hope, however, that administrators consider that districts that allow “school choice” are just as guilty of the alleged recruiting in private schools.

Finally, I believe “out-of-season practice” also will be visited and possibly have change voted upon.

Currently, the rules allow for 21 straight days, including weekends. For football, that begins on May 1. That means, on May 21, you are done with any opportunity to have spring drills.

The problem with that rule is that if there is inclement weather, you lose days because they are consecutive whether you use them or not. The proposed change is looking at doing 15 days, not including weekends, and allowing the athletics director to decide when those 15 days would take place.

This could be a good thing for some schools because there is a time period right now in November where a school could potentially have every sport at the school practicing. Allowing the AD to decide for each sport, taking input from the coaches, could make it a lot better — though it may be more difficult to regulate. Some larger schools that have the advantage of “sports class” may wish to see it stay as it is, because they have an advantage of having their kids in that class.

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