The Governing Body of the Arkansas Activities Association will hold its annual meeting Monday. As is typically the case, the board will consider various proposals to alter policy. One in particular has some coaches up in arms.
Proposal 6, as it is known, would limit to eight the number of competition days for athletes during the summer. Those lining up in opposition to the idea are the bigger and, dare we say it, private schools that spend virtually all summer in team camps, 7-on-7 tournaments and the like.
Consequently, many folks are of the opinion that this is aimed at football. I’m not so sure. Check the number of competition days volleyball and basketball have during the summer and get back to me.
I’m reminded of the Tesla-Edison debate over alternating versus direct current argument. When someone is against change mainly to preserve their desires they tend to point out the potential dangers. In Edison’s case against Tesla’s change in thinking it was that alternating current couldn’t be trusted and to prove the point a convicted ax murderer was put to death in an electrocution chair, resulting in the killer’s skin melting.
How’s that for a mental picture?
In our case here coaches who oppose the proposal paint a picture of a potential loss of control to folks who may not, heck probably don’t have the athlete’s best interest at heart. Like misused electricity, that danger does exist, but that doesn’t mean the change isn’t necessary.
Coaches argue it could lead to the creation of private organizations, read AAU football, or select summer football teams and elite 7-on-7 teams. For one thing there has been a movement to create AAU football anyway. I hope it fails miserably as I said in a November 2012 column, because there is enough seediness in AAU basketball to make your skin crawl. The select or elite? We’re already there, they’re called 7A and private schools.
Another argument is that the proposal really hurts an athlete who is involved in multiple sports because they would then have to choose which competitions in which to participate to limit themselves to eight.
That’s funny because that’s precisely why the smaller schools are breaking away, even if doing so quietly, from the thinking of the large and elite. I’ve spoken to representatives at multiple schools in the area and they are fine with the proposal. AAU football is not coming to rural western Arkansas and they know it.
As far as the competitions, most sports programs at smaller schools around here don’t even have eight. They can’t, or their athletes and parents can’t afford it. One area football coach told me his team has five events, but he did say another program in his school has 16. Cutting that in half, even for the specialist athlete, will limit school and or personal travel by about half depending upon where the competitions are held.
Oddly, the Arkansas Football Coaches Association is also claiming there will be an adverse effect for the minorities and poverty stricken. Again, political doublespeak by the richer and powerful.
Rather than summer meal and feeding programs being offered during athletic activities because of the number of available recipients, practices and or conditioning activities are scheduled around the meal times and are outside the eight-is-enough umbrella.
Instead of the sky falling a kid may actually have a little bit more of a summer break.
What a novel idea, which is probably why the 18 members of the board of directors were unanimous in recommending a do pass for the proposal.
Superintendent’s who vote on the proposals generally follow the recommendation of the board, which also throws shade on the AAA notion that they only do what their members want, but that’s another column, because this time the directors got it right. We will just have to wait until Monday to see if a majority superintendent’s agree at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock Monday.