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AHSAA News


AHSAA’s Wanda Gilliland Among 12 Leaders To Receive NFHS Citations at 96th Annual Meeting

        INDIANAPOLIS — Wanda Gilliland, Assistant Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, is among 12 leaders in high school activity programs across the country selected to receive National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Citations.

        An award designed to honor individuals who have made contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, the officiating avocation and fine arts/performing arts programs, the NFHS Citation is one of the most highly-regarded achievements in high school athletics and performing arts.

       The 2015 Citation recipients will receive their awards July 1 at the 96th annual NFHS Summer Meeting in New Orleans.  

       Gilliland has been an assistant director with the AHSAA since 1996. A graduate of Marion County High School and Athens State College, she served as a teacher and coach/athletic director at Hamilton High School from 1979-1996 where her girls basketball teams compiled a 301-96 record, won a state championship in 1990, finished runner-up the next year and won the Marion County tournament seven times.
      She has played a key role in the development of state championship programs in volleyball, softball, basketball and cross country. She has helped govern eligibility requirements through involvement with school audits, investigations and foreign exchange student regulations.
      Gilliland has received several coach of the year honors and served on the NFHS basketball, softball and spirit rules committees. She currently chairs the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. She was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
      She is the fifth Alabama recipient of the prestigious award. Others include Ken Blankenship (Coaches Citation) in 2000, Greg Brewer in 2006, Houston Young (Officials Citation) in 2010, and Alan Mitchell in 2012.

      Gilliland, the Section 3 recipient, is one of eight Citation honorees
representing NFHS-member state high school associations. The other four recipients represent NFHS professional organizations for officials, coaches, music leaders and speech/debate/theatre directors.
      The other state association recipients are Pat Corbin, retired executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association; Butch Powell, assistant executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission; Scott Johnson, assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association; Cheryl Gleason, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association;
      Amy Cassell, assistant director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association; Dwight Toyama, former executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and the Oahu Interscholastic Association; and John Billetz, retired executive director of the Idaho High School Activities Association.

      Citation recipients in other categories are James Coon, volleyball official, Pittsboro, Indiana; Milt Bassett, executive director, Oklahoma Coaches Association, Edmond, Oklahoma; Jean Ney, retired coordinator of fine arts, Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, Bonner Springs, Kansas; and Darrel Harbaugh, retired director of debate and forensics, Field Kindley Memorial High School, Coffeyville, Kansas. 


North Carolina’s Davis Whitfield to Join NFHS Staff as Chief Operating Officer

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 26, 2015) — Davis Whitfield, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) for the past five years, has been selected chief operating officer of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), effective July 1, 2015.

Whitfield will succeed Jim Tenopir, who is retiring this summer after five years as the organization’s chief operating officer.

“I am pleased that Davis will be joining our staff this summer,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “During his time as commissioner of the North Carolina association, Davis has proven to be an innovative leader. He also will bring a valuable perspective on national issues from his years at the college level. I look forward to working with him in leading our staff in the coming years.”

Since taking over as commissioner of the NCHSAA in January 2010, Whitfield has instituted a five-year strategic plan; enhanced the championship experience for student-athletes, coaches and fans at NCHSAA events; and organized and directed the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration.

In addition, Whitfield created a committee which led to a new student-athlete transfer policy, implemented championship cost-cutting policies and procedures, restructured the NCHSAA Handbook, and developed the Education and Athletics Committee, which evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of current NCHSAA policy and procedure.

     Prior to his appointment as NCHSAA commissioner, Whitfield was on the administrative staff of the Atlantic Coast Conference for 7½ years, including the final 2½ years as associate commissioner.

     Among his duties at the ACC, Whitfield directed and coordinated all television liaison activities for regular-season ACC football, managing a staff of 20 individuals. He also assisted with the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, developed and managed an Olympic sports budget of $4 million, and was responsible for directing all regular-season and championship activities for 22 Olympic sports.

Whitfield was the site representative for several NCAA championships. He also represented the ACC at local, regional and state events, and he worked with ACC corporate partners to create and fulfill exposure opportunities.

Before his move to the ACC office, Whitfield served in the athletic department at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, including two years as director of operations and facilities management and two years as assistant athletic director for operations and facilities. He began his career in sports administration in 1995 at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, where he was assistant athletic director for operations and facilities for three years.

     Whitfield attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he was a dean’s list student and played on the school’s baseball team, before transferring to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UNC in 1993 and his master’s in sports administration in 1995.

Whitfield and his wife, Nicole, have three children: Will, Grace and Wesley.


Weather Decision Technologies is new NFHS Corporate Sponsor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 10, 2014) — Weather Decision Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in providing organizations with weather decision support on a global scale, has entered into a three-year agreement with the National Federation of State High School Associations as an NFHS Corporate Partner.

As a part of the agreement, Weather Decision Technologies (WDT), with offices in Norman, Oklahoma, and Houston, Texas, will be the exclusive NFHS partner for soccer, which will include coverage in the sport’s rules book, rules poster, scorebook and rules PowerPoint. 

Among the many products and services offered by WDT is STRIKE, a lightning detection and alerting application currently available on iOS and Android devices. STRIKE harnesses the power of Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN), combining it with a patented alerting engine developed by WDT to deliver instant notifications to individuals whether they are on or off the field. An alert is sent when a lightning strike is first detected within six miles of the event, and an all-clear is sent when no lightning is detected within that range for 30 minutes. These distance rules are recommended by lightning experts, as well as the NCAA, NFHS and other sports associations to minimize risk while outdoors.

For school districts and large organizations, STRIKE Plus includes a bulk app package along with WDT’s exclusive WeatherOps Commander, a complete weather-monitoring system that brings a myriad of advanced lightning-strike display and weather-alerting technologies into one concise, interactive package.

WDT is a partner and founding contributor of The Event Safety Alliance (ESA), a non-profit safety trade association dedicated to promoting the concept of “life safety first” during all phases of event production.

“We are excited about this new partnership with Weather Decision Technologies,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With WDT’s background in lightning detection and its accompanying app, this will offer our member state associations and the nation’s high schools some additional resources for minimizing risk of injury in high school sports. We look forward to working with WDT over the next three years.”

“Lightning is unpredictable and the key to safety is preparation and awareness,” says Mike Eilts, chief executive officer of Weather Decision Technologies. “We strive to create technology that ensures awareness resulting in saved lives and protected assets. We see this relationship as an opportunity to help protect those who serve and play under the NFHS.”


NFHS Concussion Task Force Recommendations to be Discussed by State Associations for Implementation in 2015

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (November 12, 2014) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has finalized its position paper from the NFHS Concussion Summit Task Force, which met in July to develop recommendations for minimizing the risk of concussions and head impact exposure in high school football.

The recommendations, which have been shared with the 51 NFHS-member state high school associations, and approved by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and the NFHS Board of Directors, will be discussed by state associations at the NFHS Winter Meeting in early January for implementation in the 2015 football season.

The 24-member task force, which featured medical doctors, athletic trainers, high school coaches and key national leaders in high school sports, developed nine fundamentals for minimizing head impact exposure and concussion risk in football. They were designed to allow flexibility for state associations that collectively oversee the more than 15,000 high schools across the country that have football programs. As a result, each state high school association will be developing its own policies and procedures for implementation in the 2015 season.

Many of the recommendations focus on reducing the amount of full contact, including limiting the amount of full contact in practices during the season.

The Concussion Summit was the latest effort by the NFHS to minimize risk for the almost 7.8 million student participants in high school sports. In 2008, the SMAC advocated that a concussed athlete must be removed from play and not allowed to play on the same day. For the past five years, all NFHS rules publications have contained guidelines for the management of a student exhibiting signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion. In 2010, the NFHS developed on online course – “Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know” – and about 1.7 million individuals have taken the course through the NFHS Coach Education Program at www.nfhslearn.com.

The “Recommendations and Guidelines for Minimizing Head Impact Exposure and Concussion Risk in Football” position paper is posted on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.


NFHS, NISCA release “Coaching Swimming” on nfhslearn.com

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 24, 2014) – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has added a course for swimming coaches to its lineup of sport-specific online courses available through the NFHS Learning Center at www.nfhslearn.com

“Coaching Swimming” was developed with assistance from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) and focuses on how to administer a student-first swimming program.

Topics covered in Coaching Swimming include recruitment, pre-event management, interscholastic coaching philosophy, differences in club and high school teams, communication and risk management. The course also teaches the basics of the four competitive swimming strokes, start variations and flip turns, and it highlights information from the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book.

“It is important that coaches have a strong foundation in skills and a strong concern for the safety of their athletes,” said Arvel McElroy, NISCA president-elect. “Completing [Coaching Swimming] provides this opportunity. I applaud the NFHS for its forward-thinking vision to provide certification programs for coaches.”

NISCA is a volunteer organization that supports high school coaches of all aquatic sports.  It is dedicated to coaches education and athlete recognition.

“The NFHS is pleased to partner with NISCA and looks forward to offering Coaching Swimming to coaches nationwide,” said Dan Schuster, director of NFHS Coach Education.

With the addition of Coaching Swimming, the NFHS now has 35 online courses, including two core courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid, Health and Safety – and 16 sport-specific courses.


Gill Athletics Announced as NFHS Corporate Partner


 

                                                                     

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

Gill Athletics Announced as NFHS Corporate Partner


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 1, 2014) — Gill Athletics, the oldest and largest manufacturer of track and field equipment in the United States and around the world, has entered into a three-year agreement with the National Federation of State High School Associations as an NFHS Corporate Partner.

As a part of the agreement, Gill Athletics, based in Champaign, Illinois, will be the exclusive NFHS partner for track and field, which will include coverage in the sport’s rules book, case book, rules poster, scorebook and rules PowerPoint. 

“We are pleased to have Gill Athletics join the NFHS as a corporate partner and to be our exclusive sponsor of track and field,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “In the high school market, Gill has been the leading supplier of track and field equipment for many years, so we believe this is a great partnership for both organizations. Track and field is No. 2 in school sponsorship for both boys and girls, so it is great to have Gill on board with the NFHS. We look forward to working with Gill over the next three years.”

Started by Harry Gill in 1918, Gill Athletics is the largest producer of track and field equipment in the world. Gill is the Official Equipment Supplier of USA Track and Field and currently produces more International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)-certified products than any company in the industry.

“Gill Athletics considers it an honor to partner with the NFHS as its track and field equipment sponsor,” said Fred Dixon, national sales manager for Gill Athletics. “We could not have any greater appreciation for the work done by the NFHS, and we look forward to providing our full support for years to come.”


Cotton State Rankings at Stake as Two Teams Meet for the First Time

NFHS Blog on the Opelika vs Pell City Football Game. Click here

How to Avoid Hyponatremia

Ample hydration before and during practice and play is key for safety and optimal athletic performance, especially in the heat. However, the recent death of a high school football player reportedly from drinking far too much fluid, in an apparent attempt to resolve his muscle cramping, is a grim reminder that over-hydration, while rare,  should never be encouraged or dismissed as harmless.

Ready access to water and sports drinks during practice and competition is always recommended for any athletic or other strenuous physical activity. But drinking too much in a short period of time – in this tragic case, reportedly two gallons of water and two more gallons of a sports drink – can be far more than the body can handle. As a result, too much water in the blood can lead to brain swelling followed by seizure, coma and even death. This potentially deadly condition is called hyponatremia. Early symptoms typically include headache and nausea; although an athlete could be feeling this way for other reasons.

How can you avoid hyponatremia?

  • All student-athletes have the responsibility to be well-hydrated (normal body weight and light-colored urine) and well-nourished prior to training or competing. Regular fluid intake during practice and games/matches should be a priority, especially in the heat. Weighing oneself before and after practice with minimal clothing provides a good indication of how well you managed offsetting your sweat loss. The goal is to drink regularly to thirst. If you begin well-hydrated, a small pre- to post-practice/competition weight loss is okay. A weight gain shows that too much fluid was consumed.
  • Those selected and notably fewer athletes who sweat excessively and/or have a history of muscle cramping may have to add some salt to their diets and sports drinks when training and competing in the heat. This helps the body to hold onto fluid and reduces the risk of muscle cramping caused by large sweat sodium losses.

Bottom line: Hydrate regularly and wisely – but don’t overdrink! 


High School Sports Participation Increases for 25th Consecutive Year, Sets All-Time High of Almost 7.8 Million

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 28, 2014) — The number of participants in high school sports increased for the 25th consecutive year in 2013-14 with a record total of almost 7.8 million, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Based on figures from the 51 NFHS member state high school associations, which includes the District of Columbia, sports participation for the 2013-14 school year reached an all-time high of 7,795,658 – an increase of 82,081 from the previous year. This one-year increase was the highest since 2009-10.

Girls participation increased for the 25th consecutive year with an additional 44,941 participants from 2012-13 and set an all-time record of 3,267,664. Boys participation eclipsed 4.5 million for the first time (4,527,994), breaking the mark of 4,494,406 in 2010-11.

The increase in boys participation was due in part to the first increase in football numbers in five years. An additional 6,607 boys participated in 11-player football in 2013-14, pushing this past year’s total to 1,093,234. In addition, another 1,715 girls participated in 11-player football last year, an increase of 184 from the previous year.

“We are pleased with the increase in participation numbers in the sport of football for the 2013-14 school year,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With the precautions that are in place nationwide to address concussions in all high school sports, including football, we have maintained that the risk of injury is as low as it ever has been. Certainly, this rise in football numbers is a confirmation of those beliefs and indicates the strong continued interest nationwide in high school football.”

Among the top 10 boys sports, baseball registered the largest gain with an additional 7,838 participants, followed by football and soccer (6,437). The top 10 boys sports remained unchanged from last year: football, outdoor track and field, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming and diving.

Volleyball gained the most participants among girls sports (9,426) from the previous year, and its total of 429,634 was within 3,710 of basketball for the No. 2 position. Track and field, with an additional 5,946 participants from 2012-13, remained the No. 1 sport for girls, followed by basketball, volleyball, soccer, fast-pitch softball, cross country, tennis, swimming and diving, competitive spirit squads and lacrosse.

“This past year’s report on sports participation in our nation’s high schools was another great statement about the importance of these education-based programs,” Gardner said. “We are encouraged that schools are continuing to respond to the funding challenges, and are particularly pleased to see that the increase this past year was evenly distributed between boys and girls.”

In terms of combined participation, lacrosse continued to register sizeable increases as overall participation for boys and girls increased by 9,744 to 188,689. The sport ranks 10th for girls and 11th for boys.

The top 10 states by participants remained in the same order as last year, with Texas and California topping the list with 805,299 and 783,008, respectively. The remainder of the top 10 was New York (389,475), Illinois (343,757), Ohio (325,448), Pennsylvania (317,318), Michigan (299,246), New Jersey (285,020), Florida (268,266) and Minnesota (232,909). Overall, 33 states reported higher figures from the previous year, up from 30 states that had increases the previous year.

The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2013-14 High School Athletics Participation Survey is attached in PDF format and will be posted soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.


NFHS Lifts Jewelry Ban For Track & Field

Jewelry Prohibition Lifted in High School Track and Field

 

INDIANAPOLIS — Effective with the 2015 high school track and field season, the prohibition of jewelry will be eliminated. This was one of several rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee, said the committee determined that prohibiting jewelry in high school track and field and cross country is not necessary.

“The wearing of jewelry ordinarily presents little risk of injury to either the competitor or opponents,” Oakes said. “Elimination of the rule allows officials to focus on meet administration directly related to actual competition. Coaches continue to have the obligation to see that competitors are properly equipped.”

In other changes, language regarding the time limit to initiate a trial in the throwing and jumping events was revised. Previously, competitors in these events had to initiate a trial and carry it to completion within one minute. Beginning next year, participants must only initiate the trial within the one-minute time limit. Completion of the event will be allowed beyond the prescribed time.

Another change was made in field events involving implements. In events such as the shot put, discus, javelin and pole vault, an additional trial will be allowed when an implement breaks – and thus becomes illegal – during competition due to no fault of the competitor.

The revised note in Rules 6-2-17 and 7-2-17 reads as follows: “If a legal implement breaks during an attempt in accordance with the rules, no penalty shall be counted against the competitor and a replacement trial shall be awarded. If the implement breaks upon completion of the trial, a replacement attempt shall not be awarded and the results of the trial shall be recorded, provided it was made in accordance with the rules.”

In the discus throw, it no longer will be a foul if a competitor is out of control when exiting the back half of the circle. Also, in the discus, shot put and javelin, the requirement for the judge to call “mark” was eliminated.

Another change involves the high jump and pole vault events. A new article in Rule 7-2 will state that “a crossbar displaced by a force disassociated with the competitor after he/she is legally and clearly over the crossbar shall not be a fault and is considered a successful attempt.”

In Rule 8 involving special events, the committee approved the 1,500-meter run as an alternate for the 1,600-meter run in the decathlon and pentathlon. Oakes said when using the IAAF standard scoring, the 1,500-meter run is the standard distance. In addition, the indoor weight throw was approved for the listing of special events.

The final change involves Rule 1-4 on indoor track. Since many indoor meets are held in college facilities, the committee approved the 60-meter high hurdles and dash as alternates for the 55-meter high hurdles and dash. Oakes said this option eliminates special marking of the facilities for the hurdles and dash.