New regulations from the Florida High School Athletic Association have the potential to “really hurt our teams in a tremendous way,” said Colleen Conklin at a Flagler County School Board workshop Tuesday.
Conklin, a School Board member, was not alone in her concern that the new regulations from the FHSAA, which are intended to stop player recruitment for teams, might impede the ability for the county to have a strong athletic community.
At the workshop, Kristy Gavin, district attorney, explained the changes to regulations, which involve club coaching and use of school facilities.
Students must not be coached on a club team by someone who is affiliated with a school they eventually attend. To prevent students from following coaches to certain schools, the FHSAA prohibits club teams from having any third-party connections.
To keep students from buying their way onto varsity teams, the FHSAA also prohibits students from paying to belong to a club team that is run by a high school coach.
Conklin said she worried that this rule may present difficulties for students who play sports through middle school and then decide to transfer high schools for a special program. For example, a student who was zoned to attend Mantanzas High School might decide to transfer to Florida Palm Coast High School to participate in the International Baccalaureate program, which is only offered at FPC.
Conklin worried that it might be expecting too much of students to have the foresight to avoid any FPC coaches before making that decision, which could force them to decide between athletics and academics.
“If you were affiliated with (an FPC) coach while going to Buddy Taylor Middle School, and if you transfer (to FPC as a high school student) and you aren’t zoned for that school, it’s deemed by FHSAA that you were following the coach,” Gavin said. “It doesn’t matter if you were going for academics.”
It is possible for a student to appeal the case, but unless an appeal is reached, the FHSAA views transfers as coach-following or as a student buying a place on a varsity team, and the student involved loses eligibility as an athlete for one year. The coach involved is charged a $2,500 fine and is prohibited from coaching until the fine is paid.
“If you pay a coach to train you, there can be a perception that the only way you make the high school team is if you are playing the club team — if you are paying the coach to be on that team,” Gavin said. “[Paid training] can be done, but you must be very careful.”
In a similar move to prevent schools from sponsoring camps, the FHSAA mandates that any use of school facilities require compensation.
This too was seen as problematic for board members, some of whom worried that organizations that would not be able to afford renting equipment wouldn’t be able to offer their services — like summer training camps — to the community anymore.
“This is going to decimate our social and our athletic groups outside of our school district,” Conklin said.
Superintendent Janet Valentine said she worried that students, parents and coaches who are not aware of the FHSAA rules may ruin their chances to play sports in the future by the actions they take now.
“This is very complicated,” she said. “We need to be sure we get the word out to avoid confusion.”
The School Board plans to host a workshop with athletics directors and other interested parties to discuss the FHSAA regulations further soon.
“Reality sometimes needs to take precedence over what the perception might be,” Conklin said. “How are we telling these club teams (about the changes)? How are we guaranteeing that these folks know and that these families know?”
Valentine reminded the board that the changes do not just impact high school athletics, but college-level sports in the state of Florida, as well.
“The whole community is going to suffer for it,” she said. “We don’t have full control over the Florida activities, unfortunately.”
Currently 0 Responses
19 Flagler Fine Arts Festival
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
20 The Palm Coast Scrabble Club
20 Take Off Pounds Sensibly (T.O.P.S.)
21 Flagler County Horseshoe Pitching Club
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Friends of A1A produce videos to promote cycling and safety along the coastal byway
The Friends of A1A has produced six new videos designed to attract more cycling visitors to the 72-mile Scenic & Historic A1A Coastal Byway that travels through St. Johns and Flagler counties. Also, AAUW awards scholarships and loggerheads have arrived.
Palm Coast offers summer recreation, tennis, golf camps for children, teens
The city of Palm Coast is planning a summer of fun and recreation for children and teens through its summer camp at Parks & Recreation, as well as summer golf and tennis camps.
Dunk tank at Arbor Day event to raise funds to end polio
The Flagler-Palm Coast High School Interact Club is hosting a celebrity dunk tank to raise awareness and donations to end polio worldwide during Palm Coast's Arbor Day event 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Central Park in Town Center.