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State board nixes summer practice expansion

By Tommy Atkinson, Staff writer

The State Board of Education declined to put a proposal on its agenda Wednesday that would expand the summer practice period.

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission’s general Board of Control approved a proposal in April that would increase the approved summer practice period from its current three weeks to the entire summer, except for the Fourth of July week. The change would take place for the 2015-16 school year. A separate proposal to allow year-round practices without any dead period was turned down by the Board of Control.

“It’s a process,’’ said Gary Ray, the executive director of the SSAC. “I’ve always respected the process. It’s the way things work. We’ll adapt to the rules that are passed.’’

The State Board of Education forwarded six proposals Wednesday by the Board of Control to a 30-day public comment period, but the increased practice proposal was not one of them.

The new summertime practice period would have begun on the Monday following the state baseball tournament in June and conclude on the Saturday before the start of football practice. The SSAC first adopted a three-week out-of-season practice period in 2003, with the window starting in early-to-mid June.

The increased practice proposal received mixed reviews from administrators and coaches.

“A lot of my friends who are ADs throughout the state, what they were worried about is if one neighboring school did it, it puts pressure on another school to do it, too,’’ said Charleston Catholic athletic director Bill Gillispie, who is also on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Athletic Directors Association.

“I think it sends a clear message that the summertime is for families. Our principal already told me even it it passed we’re going to stay family oriented.”

Ray said the Board of Control could take up the issue again.

“It’ll be up to the principals each year,’’ said the WSAC executive director. “I don’t know if it’ll come back up or not.’’

Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at or 304-348-4811.


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