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With new changes in the state Legislature and to the Florida High School Athletic Association handbook, representatives from the state high school athletics governing agency provided an education session to Flagler Palm Coast High School coaches on Thursday.
Perhaps the hottest topic was the GA6 form. This form comes into play for those coaching nonschool teams during the offseason.
For example, if a player competes on a nonschool baseball team and the coach of FPC coaches the nonschool team, if the player is already enrolled at another school and transfers to FPC, he will likely lose one year of eligibility.
Dr. Roger Deering, FHSAA executive director, discussed House Bill 1403 and policy 36.
House Bill 1403 was the result of an issue that occurred in Lakeland when student-athletes falsified living information in order to gain athletic eligibility at a different high school.
Deering also addressed the misconception that coaches are now allowed to recruit players.
“The kid can’t be punished anymore,” Deering said. “When a kid was recruited, we called them ineligible, and the team had to forfeit games. Now, the coach is suspended and can’t coach while the kid is on the team.”
In regard to switching schools, Deering said a transfer must be approved by the district’s school board prior to the beginning of the sports season.
For example, a student zoned for Matanzas may transfer to FPC and play golf so long as he or she does so before the beginning of the season. Then, if that same student wants to transfer back to Matanzas for basketball he or she must do that before basketball season starts.
“A transfer can only take place between Day 1 and Day 180,” Deering said. “A change during the summer is not a transfer.”
Natalie Strappy, director of compliance for FHSAA, spoke about policy 22, which focuses on nonschool teams and offseason participation. According to the bylaws, the offseason technically begins the day the sport season ends, whether that means the day of the final game or the last day a team is in the state series.
In addition, coaches may coach nonschool teams as long as they are affiliated with a third party, such as Little League or AAU.
“That brings separation between your school and you,” Strappy said.
Deering also praised FPC for its player and coach conduct over the years. In fact, there has been only one ejection in the last three years, according to FPC Athletics Director Steve DeAugustino.
DeAugustino said education is the most important thing when it comes to the latest legislative changes.
“I thought it went really well,” DeAugustino said after the presentation.
DeAugustino has been involved with high school athletics for 32 years, and he said that he has never seen so many legislative changes all at one time.
“Athletics is always a work in progress,” he said. “But there were so many major changes ... I think it was almost a necessity. We have coaches meetings and relay all of the information, but I think it’s a good idea to reinforce to everybody right from the horse’s mouth.”
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