Posted: 1:21 am Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

FHSAA’s latest proposals include measure to limit teams to one international player 

By Post Staff

The Urban/Rural Committee of the Florida High School Athletic Association recommended several measures on Monday that included one that would limit a team to one international student per varsity team. It also proposed creating a new division of “rural” schools whose enrollment is 500 students or less in boys and girls basketball, baseball, football, boys and girls soccer, softball and girls volleyball.

This is sure to spark some, let’s say, spirited discussion.

The first recommendation from the committee is regarding a “Division II” of schools that have been designated as rural by the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development and whose student population is 500 or less.

The second recommendation would bring stiffer penalties for recruiting, which is nice in theory but the problem is and will continue to be proving guilt until the FHSAA pours all kinds of resources into policing recruiting.

The third recommendation states the FHSAA should investigate the use of a clearinghouse for international student eligibility similar to the clearinghouse system used to school accreditation. And here’s the big kicker – the committee also recommends only one international student should be eligible per varsity team.

The fourth recommendation states that the FHSAA should seek input from member schools about reclassification and redistricting.

FHSAA Commissioner Roger Dearing had this to say in a statement:

“We have a number of member schools that need issues addressed in terms of equitable competition. We need to make sure people know this is not a public-private issue. This is an issue of small rural schools that do not draw their student populations from larger urban areas or outside the state or country, and have a difficult time competing against those that do. There is a way for all schools to exist and succeed with the advent of this new division.”

It sounds like Dearing is on board with this but it still has to go up for a vote in June.

The team that immediately comes to mind is the Trinity Christian baseball team, which is pretty much a squad of international players. But according to coach Miguel Cuello, the team has been investigated before and wasn’t found to be breaking any rules. So if the FHSAA can’t prove they are breaking any rules, why shouldn’t they be allowed to have international students? Certainly this will be argued by someone at some point before the June vote.

It seems in recent years when proposals this radical have come up, there has been enough outrage to derail them. Most recently it was the schedule reduction policy and a few years ago there was the transfer rule that would have forced transfers to sit out a year. So we’ll see how this goes in a couple of months.

Here’s what else the Board of Directors did at their latest meeting:

• Approved a staff recommendation to extend the competitive cheerleading, flag football and boys and girls basketball seasons at designated schools to allow for special events.

• Approved a staff recommendation to add an employee protection program policy to exhibit good business practice as measured by IRS audits for non-profit organizations.

• Approved the following provisional member schools for full membership beginning with the 2010-11 school year: Barrington Christian (Florida City); Brooks-DeBartolo (Tampa); Diamond Community (Palm Bay); Eagle Charter (Lauderdale Lakes); International Studies (Miami); Oasis (Cape Coral); and Village Academy (Delray Beach).

• Approved a recommendation of the Officials Advisory Committee to create a standard per-match fee for wrestling officials at the rate of $4 per match in individually bracketed or dual meet bracket tournaments.

• Approved a recommendation of the Officials Advisory Committee to require the head coach’s full name, as well as the officials’ first and last names, to be listed on the line-up card/roster/scorebook for all team sports.

• Approved a recommendation of the Officials Advisory Committee to allow baseball umpires the option of wearing blue or black caps.

• Approved a recommendation of the Wrestling Advisory Committee to require the use of the online NWCA Pre-Match Weigh-In Form, within 72 hours after the event, for all regular-season wrestling matches and tournaments, beginning with the 2010-11 season.

• Approved a recommendation of the Competitive Cheerleading Advisory Panel to create two non-tumbling divisions, small (up to 16 student-athletes) and large (17-26 student-athletes).

• Approved a recommendation of the Competitive Cheerleading Advisory Panel to require non-tumbling teams with male participants to enter the appropriate co-ed division.

• Approved a recommendation of the Basketball Advisory Committee to amend the mercy rule to state “At any point during the second half when a differential of 35 points (30 points in games played in six minute quarters) is reached, the game clock shall begin to run continuously during jump ball possessions….”

• Approved a recommendation of the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee to amend Policy 102.2(4) to allow student officials to work non-varsity level games, but not for their feeder schools.

• Approved a staff recommendation to add language to the interpretation of NFHS Swimming & Diving and Water Polo Rule 5-4, Article 3, that states “Competitors shall not wear or use any device that could potentially aid their speed or buoyancy.”

• Approved the following meeting dates for the 2010-11 school year: Board of Directors, Sept. 26-27, 2010; Nov. 21-22, 2010; Jan. 23-24, 2011; Apr. 17-18, 2011; June 13-14, 2011. Sectional Appeals, Aug. 10-13, 2010; Sept. 3, 7-9, 2010; Oct. 5-8, 2010; Nov. 2-5, 2010; Dec. 7-10, 2010; Jan. 4-7, 2010; Feb. 1-4, 2011; Mar. 1-4, 2011; Apr. 5-8, 2011. Representative Assembly, Jan. 10-11, 2011.

• Denied a recommendation of the Wrestling Advisory Committee to increase the number of the top wrestlers from six (6) to eight (8) to be awarded at the state finals.

• Denied a recommendation of the Wrestling Advisory Committee to allow the use of dual meet results to determine the IBT tournament brackets for the second day of a tournament.

• Denied a recommendation of the Officials Advisory Committee to change the language in items 3, 4 and 5 of Officials Guidebook Section 600, “School’s Responsibilities to Officials,” from “should” to “shall.”

• Denied a recommendation of the Officials Advisory Committee to require all schools conduct a sportsmanship briefing for parents in all sports, as well as require parents to sign a form stating their responsibilities to support the program and promote sportsmanship.

• Heard a discussion on the clarification of Bylaws 9.2.5 and 9.3.5.3.

• Heard a discussion on Florida House of Representatives Resolution 9031, which commends the FHSAA for producing student-athlete football players who excel at the high school and collegiate levels.

• Heard a discussion on increasing classifications in competitive cheerleading to two, as well as adding a regional competition, beginning with the 2010-11 school year.

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