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TSSAA revises fall football schedule

Published: 8:13 PM, 06/14/2013

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

High school football teams across Tennessee will essentially be afforded an additional week of practice this upcoming preseason.

The TSSAA Board of Control made the ruling in its regular session quarterly meeting this week in Murfreesboro.

The Board ruled to make an exception to the portion of the 2013 Football Sports Calendar that lies between the end of the summer dead period on July 8 and the first official practice date, which was originally set for July 29. Football teams will now be allowed to wear helmets and shoulder pads in practice settings beginning on July 22.

Heat acclimation was the reason the TSSAA made the calendar revision. Because of the calendar change, the TSSAA now will require each team to practice in helmets and shoulder pads for a minimum of three days prior to hitting the field in full pads.

Over the 15 days that span from the end of the summer dead period through July 29, schools may practice 10 days with other schools - which include 7-on-7 passing leagues - however, they may not wear shoulder pads during these events.

Teams were previously allowed to hold conditioning activities, which include the summer passing leagues, prior to the first official practice date in pads. That practice date has been set as the Monday that falls in the week of August 1 for the past several seasons and teams were unable to wear any pads until that practice date.

The exception is currently only for the 2013 sports calendar, but will be presented to the TSSAA Legislative Council to be considered for official change.

Other major rulings made by the Board of Control this week include a lengthening of the coaching box in basketball. Coaching boxes had been only six-feet long, however, the board ruled to increase that size to 14-feet at this week’s meeting.

The change is the maximum amount allowed under the National Federation of State High School Association rules, which state that the coaching box be bounded by a line 28 feet from the end line, the sideline, a line no more than 14 feet from the 28-foot line toward the end line and the team bench.

Finally, in the final major ruling made by the board, they denied a proposal in the sport of golf. The proposal made by Farragut High School, which would allow on-course coaching from green to tee in the state championship, was defeated by an 8-1 margin. Knoxville Fulton representative Jody Wright was the member to vote in favor of the proposal.

On-course coaching is allowed at the NCAA level, but is against USGA rules. Nearby states, including Georgia and Kentucky allow coaches to advise players during their respective state championships.
TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said the main concerns with the proposal include pace of play and identifying the correct head coach. States which allow coaching from a head coach, but have athletes receive coaching from someone who is not the head coach are disqualified.

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