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The AHSAA Central Board has made adjustments in several proposals during the current pandemic and sports stoppage. Some of the newest changes could affect local high school athletic programs. Photo Contributed

New High School Guidelines And Rules Changes Advance Through The AHSAA

MONTGOMERY- Despite the stoppage in schools and high school sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Central Board has been busy ratifying legislative proposals and new rules, which go into effect June 1. The Legislative Council ratified a record 11 proposals during its spring meetings held via teleconferencing for the first time in AHSAA history. The Central Board also approved some rules changes among its endeavors in the annual meetings.

Included in the proposals were three items centered around student transfers- 1) allows all transfers competing below varsity level athletics to be immediately eligible, 2) amends Academic Rule to allow unlimited units earned in approved summer school if completed by the first fall contest, 3) allows dependent children of full-time school workers transfers to new school and eligible to participate in athletics at new school.

Changes in some direct competition rules were also included in the Central Board’s discussions. The Competition Committee approved the annual North-South All-Star Football Game to be moved to December to be played the week following the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. In addition was a first in the sport of wrestling for the AHSAA- approved three regular-season wrestling tournaments specifically for girls’ participants.

The recommendations also included the “Mercy Rule” in basketball to be extended through regional play with one addition- stopping the clock in the fourth quarter for free throws. However, it will not be used during the AHSAA State semifinals and finals.

The Committee also approved a requirement that all head bowling coaches take a bowling rules test and moving the cross country section and state meets up one week in the season schedule.

Additional legislative proposals approved included ejections to include players for unsportsmanlike conduct and leaving a bench onto the field. Those players will also be suspended for 20-percent of the team’s total number of regular season contests; Clarification of students from being coached by a school’s employee outside of the allowable dates; Amendment to overlapping transfer rule allowing students to be immediately eligible; Allows fall sports (football, volleyball, cross country, swimming) the option of having a spring evaluation period or starting official practice a week early;

The AHSAA also approved the requirement that all AHSAA coaches complete the NFHS Mental Health course as part of the coaches’ certification. The courses has been lauded as an excellent tool for coaches to recognize the signs of depression.

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