Freestyle Turn Position Clarified in High School Swimming and Diving

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 19, 2016) — At its March 21-23 meeting in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee approved a change to the freestyle portion of the individual medley and medley relay as it relates to body position.

An addition to Rule 8-2-4c will read as follows: “The final leg of the individual medley and the medley relay requires the swimmer to be at or past vertical toward the breast before any stroke, kick or propulsive motion.” 

This revision was one of several changes recommended by the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The committee also approved a change in the current practice of determining a final time when a touch pad malfunctions in a lane. Searcy said that research has shown that the current practice of calculating the average difference between the primary and backup timing systems, and adjusting the backup time in the malfunctioning lane(s), does not improve the accuracy of the times.

“Using the backup time without adjustment results in a final time that is just as accurate and avoids a mathematical exercise which is both time-consuming and difficult to perform during a meet,” Searcy said.

In addition, the committee defined a deck change as “changing, in whole or in part, into or out of a swimsuit when wearing just one suit in an area other than a permanent or temporary locker room, bathroom, changing room or other space designated for changing purposes.” Beginning with the 2016-17 season, any team personnel/competitor involved in “deck changing” will be assessed a penalty for unsporting conduct, which would disqualify an individual from further participation in a meet.

In diving, the committee approved two rules changes and made three revisions in the official diving chart. In an effort to minimize risk, the committee ruled that a dive is failed if, in the diving referee’s opinion, the diver “performs an additional bounce(s) on the end of the board after the culminating hurdle.”

“The forward approach shall begin with not less than three steps and finish with a hurdle, defined as a jump off one foot to a landing on both feet at the end of the board,” Searcy said. “The diver should not be permitted to perform an additional bounce just prior to the takeoff.”

In Rule 9-5-5, the committee added clarity and consistency to the balk call, requiring a diver to actually commence, then stop the dive.

In the official listing of approved dives, the committee eliminated the Flying Back 1 SS (212) and the Flying Reverse SS (312), and added a new dive – the Forward 2 SS 1 Twist – with degrees of difficulty of 2.6 (tuck) and 2.7 (pike).

Swimming and diving ranks No. 8 in popularity among girls with 166,838 participants and No. 10 among boys with 137,087 participants, according to the 2014-15 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey.

Auburn’s Ron Anders Named 2015 NFHS Coach Contributor Award Recipient by the NFHS Coaches Association

Auburn civic leader Ron Anders is one of 23 individuals selected to receive national recognition by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
           Anders, who helped spearhead the current AHSAA concept of rotating the Super 7 state high school football championships between the cities of Auburn and Tuscaloosa, has been selected to receive the NFHS Coach Contributor Award.  This award is presented to one individual annually who has gone above and beyond in the coaching profession by exemplifying the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and moral character, and who carries the endorsement of his or her respective state high school association.

      Anders, an Auburn city councilman and long-time leader in youth sports in east Alabama, envisioned the championships at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium – an idea the AHSAA member schools have embraced with much enthusiasm since the rotation began in 2009.  From 1996-2008, the state football championships were played at Legion Field in Birmingham. Prior to 1996, the championships in all classes but 6A were played at home sites.
     Anders helped coordinate the rotation that has since seen AHSAA football championships played each year at the site not hosting the Iron Bowl, the Auburn-Alabama game, arguably the top rivalry in college football. Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama hosted the championship in 2009, 2011, 2013 and last December (2015). Auburn and Auburn University have hosted the games in 2010, 2012, 2014 and will host again in 2016.
       “Ron Anders is a civic leader who uses every spare moment to find a way to help youth in Auburn and around the state of Alabama,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “His tireless efforts have helped hundreds of student-athletes have life-long memories of what is right and good about high school education-based athletics.
      “His vision for our state championships has created an opportunity of a lifetime for out student-athletes to play on the same fields where Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan coached and played. Other state associations have studied the AHSAA format and several have now adopted similar championship formats in their states.  We thank Ron Anders for his leadership in helping the AHSAA provide cherished memories for its student-athletes.”
        Anders will receive the award at the AHSAA Championship Coaches Awards Banquet at the conclusion of the 2016 AHSAA Summer Conference in July. The banquet will be held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center on Friday, July 22 at 6 p.m.
      The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in one “other” sport that is not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2014-15 school year.
        Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: Cooper Henderson, football, Artesia (New Mexico) High School; Tom Millbrooke, track and field, Canby (Oregon) High School; Britt Cooper, basketball, Roswell (New Mexico) High School; Dom Cecere, baseball, Eastchester (New York) High School; Thomas Walston, soccer, Wendell (North Carolina) Corinth Holders High School; Tim Berrier, wrestling, Tucson (Arizona) Ironwood Ridge High School; Arnie Miehe, cross country, Darlington (Wisconsin) High School; Larry Faulkner,  tennis, Glenview (Illinois) Glenbrook South High School; Brennan Torgerson, golf, Buhler (Kansas) High School; and Linda Wiginton, swimming and diving, Altus (Oklahoma) High School.
        The recipients of the 2015 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Linda Richter, track and field, Cameron (Texas) C.H. Yoe High School; Anthony Pappas, basketball, Waterloo (Iowa) West High School; Paula Toney, volleyball, Burns (Oregon) High School; Lucas Kollross, soccer, Weston (Wisconsin) D. C. Everest High School;  Cheri Ritz, softball, Wayland (Michigan) Union School; Kristin McWilliams, cross country, Winter Park (Florida) High School; Judith Hehs, tennis, Bloomfield Hills (Michigan) Academy of the Sacred Heart;  Marty Keating, swimming and diving, Pittsford (New York) Central Schools; Stacie Butler, golf, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney High School; and Jessica Battle, lacrosse, Coronado (California) High School.

The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Natalie Horton of Valley Center (Kansas) High School, and Karen Kuhlmann of Holmen (Wisconsin) High School was chosen in the other sports category for Girls Gymnastics.
    The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and one “other” category.

     A total of 537 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.

High School Sports Participation Increases for 26th Consecutive Year, Tops 7.8 Million for First Time

            INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 13, 2015) – The number of participants in high school sports increased for the 26th consecutive year in 2014-15 – topping the 7.8 million mark for the first time – 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, the number of participants in high school sports reached an all-time high of 7,807,047 – an increase of 11,389 from the previous year.

              While boys participation dipped 8,682 from the previous year, girls participation increased for the 26th consecutive year with an additional 20,071 participants and set an all-time high of 3,287,735. The boys participation total of 4,519,312 is No. 2 all-time behind the 2013-14 total of 4,527,994.

             The top 10 states by participants remained in the same order as last year, with Texas and California topping the list with 804,598 and 797,101, respectively. The remainder of the top 10 was New York (389,475), Illinois (340,972), Ohio (319,929), Pennsylvania (319,562), Michigan (295,660), New Jersey (279,377), Florida (267,954) and Minnesota (235,243). Alabama ranked 21st nationally and fourth in Section 3 with 123,339 high school participants. The AHSAA numbers include 80,510 boys and 42,829 girls. AHSAA’s top boys’ sports by participation were football (31,468), basketball (12,860) and baseball (12,080). The top girls’ participation sports were softball (9,338), volleyball (9,202) and basketball (8,349). The AHSAA numbers totaled 130,791 when factoring in cheerleading and bowling, programs not figured in championship sports results reported to the NFHS in 2014-15. Bowling will be a championship sport in 2015-16 and cheerleading is currently an activity that has an independent championship program, but is endorsed by the AHSAA.
             Six of the top 10 girls sports registered increases in participation this past year, led by competitive spirit squads (5,170 additional participants) and cross country (3,495). While track and field remained the No. 1 sport for girls with 478,726 participants, volleyball (432,176) moved ahead of basketball (429,504) to secure the No. 2 spot. Ten years ago, basketball was No. 1 for girls, followed by track and field, and volleyball.

              Among the top 10 boys sports, soccer registered the largest gain with an additional 15,150 participants, while wrestling (11,306) and 11-player football (9,617) had the largest declines in participation. Besides soccer, other top 10 boys sports that had increases in the number of participants were baseball (3,938) and basketball (425).

              “Overall, we are pleased with this year’s participation report indicating an increase for the 26th consecutive year,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “And while football participation dropped this past year, the decrease is not that significant when you consider more than 1.1 million boys and girls are involved in the sport at the high school level.

              “Despite other out-of-school opportunities that exist in some sports, this year’s survey is yet another confirmation that our model of education-based sports within the high school setting is the No. 1 choice for boys and girls nationwide. We applaud the more than 19,000 high schools across the country for continuing to provide these important programs despite the funding challenges that exist in some areas.”

              Eleven-player football remains the runaway leader in boys participants with 1,083,617, followed by outdoor track and field (578,632), basketball (541,479), baseball (486,567) and soccer (432,569). The remainder of the top 10 is wrestling (258,208), cross country (250,981), tennis (157,240), golf (148,823) and swimming/diving (137,087).

              After outdoor track and field, volleyball and basketball, the remainder of the top 10 girls sports are soccer (375,681), fast-pitch softball (364,103), cross country (221,616), tennis (182,876), swimming/diving (166,838), competitive spirit squads (125,763) and lacrosse (84,785).

              Among some of the non-traditional high school sports on this year’s survey, archery and riflery registered significant increases in participation. An additional 2,877 participants (boys and girls) in archery brings the overall total to 7,744 with schools in eight states sponsoring the sport. Riflery was up 1,010 participants for a total of 4,238 with competition in 10 states. Also, while boys wrestling was down by more than 11,000 this past year, the number of girls participating in the sport increased by 1,592 for a total of 11,496.

             The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2014-15 High School Athletics Participation Survey is attached in PDF format and will be posted soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.

NFHS OFFERS NEW “AFTER-SCHOOL” EMERGENCY RESPONSE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR HIGH SCHOOLS “Anyone Can Save a Life” Teaches Teams to Respond to Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Other Major Medical Emergencies

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 15, 2015) – To address a potentially dangerous gap in medical- response planning for after-school practices and events, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) announced recently at its 2015 Annual Summer Meeting in New Orleans that it is encouraging every high school in the country that does not have an existing emergency action plan in place to prepare its teams to utilize the Emergency Action Planning Program, “Anyone Can Save a Life.”

Developed in 2008 by the Minnesota State High School League and Medtronic Philanthropy, “Anyone Can Save a Life” is a first-of-its kind, emergency action planning and training program for after-school practices and events.  It is designed to provide a coordinated team response to every major medical emergency, including sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – the leading cause of death of young athletes in the United States. 

“The reality is that every day we send thousands of students out to fields and gyms for practice and events where there is a lack of systemic support for emergencies,” said Jody Redman, associate director of the Minnesota State High School league (MSHSL) and co-developer of the program.  “One coach cannot provide a coordinated response alone.  This program empowers students to be a part of the response which increases the speed and effectiveness of response until emergency services can arrive.”

Originally created to respond to cardiac arrest, this third version of “Anyone Can Save A Life” covers all medical emergencies, providing a turnkey solution for every school wishing to implement an emergency action plan for after-school practices and events. 

“If you are prepared to respond to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, a deadly condition, you are better prepared to respond to every emergency,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director.  “We are encouraging all athletic administrators, appropriate health-care professionals and coaches to take the time during their season to implement the plan.  It only takes a few minutes, and we have seen that these actions can save lives.”

After successful pilots in Minnesota, Arizona, New York and Washington, the NFHS Foundation provided funding to expand the scope of this program to distribute training guides nationally to its member state associations and their member schools.  “Anyone Can Save A Life” training materials are available at no cost at http://www.anyonecansavealife.org/

Using the program guide, coaches assign specific “emergency response” roles to students on every team at every level.  If a student suffers a serious injury, or life-threatening event, teammates immediately spring into action with the information they need to call 911,  assist with CPR and retrieve the automated external defibrillator. 

“This training will not only make our kids safer at school,” said Joan Mellor, Sr. Portfolio Lead at Medtronic Philanthropy and co-developer of the program, “it will provide them life-saving skills that will benefit the entire community.”

New NFHS Officers, Board Members Elected

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 13, 2015) — Tom Welter, executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), is the new president of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for 2015-16. Welter, the 56th president of the NFHS, began his one-year term July 3 following the NFHS Summer Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.    

Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), was elected by the NFHS Board of Directors to the position of president-elect for the upcoming year.

In addition, the following individuals were approved by the NFHS National Council for four-year terms on the NFHS Board of Directors: Karissa Niehoff, Ed.D., executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CAS-CIAC), Section 1; Ed Sheakley, executive director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA), Section 6; and Kevin Fitzgerald, Ed.D., superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District in Wyoming, Delaware, at large, Sections 2 and 6. Another new member of the Board of Directors is Bart Thompson, who has succeeded Eddie Bonine as executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) and as the Section 7 Board representative. Thompson’s term will end in 2018.

    Welter, a native of Oregon, joined the OSAA in 1995 as assistant executive director and was chosen executive director in 2001.

After graduating from Oregon State University in 1971, Welter taught in Whyalla, South Australia, for three years before returning to Oregon in 1974, where he began a 20-year term of service at Central Catholic High School in Portland. He began as a teacher and coach and was the school’s athletic director for 18 years and vice principal/dean of students for 15 years.

During his years at Central Catholic, Welter was president of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association (OADA) in 1990-91. In 2010, he received the OADA Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the Oregon Athletic Coaches Distinguished Service Award. He also was honored by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) with the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 1993 and the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 1996. Welter was inducted into the Central Catholic High School Hall of Fame in 2005 and the OADA Hall of Fame in 2014.   

Among his previous service to the NFHS, Welter was a member of the Sanctioning Committee (1995-98), Football Rules Committee (1995-2004) and the Strategic Planning Committee (2008). He has made several presentations at the NFHS Summer Meeting, NFHS/NIAAA National Athletic Directors Conference and NFHS Legal Meeting.

    Musselman joined the KSHSAA staff in 1988 as assistant executive director, a position he held until being promoted to executive director in 1996. A graduate of Ness City (Kansas) High School, Musselman earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Kansas State University in 1974 and his master’s in secondary school administration from Wichita State University in 1987.

Musselman began his teaching and coaching career in 1974 at Independence (Kansas) Junior High School. He then held teaching and coaching positions at Andover (Kansas) Junior-Senior High School, Beloit (Kansas) Junior-Senior High School and Halstead (Kansas) High School. Prior to joining the KSHSAA staff, Musselman was the principal at LaCrosse (Kansas) High School. 

In addition to his current service on the Board of Directors, Musselman has served on numerous NFHS committees, including the Football Rules Committee, the Citizenship/Equity Committee, the Marketing Committee and the Appeal Board. Musselman served three terms as chair of the NFHS TARGET Committee (1992-95), which was involved with drug education/prevention programs. He was a member of three different NFHS Strategic Planning Committees, and he has been involved with other national organizations, including the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and United School Administrators of Kansas.

Last year, Musselman represented the NFHS Board of Directors on the NFHS Concussion Summit, which was appointed to develop recommendations for minimizing risk of concussion in sports and to develop best practices for schools and state high school associations. In June, Musselman completed six years of service on the Board of Directors of the NFHS Foundation. Musselman was elected chairman during the 2014-15 term and led a major reorganization and expansion of the Foundation Board and its governance structure.

    Niehoff was named deputy executive director of CAS-CIAC in July 2010 and assumed the executive director’s position in January 2011. She began her career in Connecticut public education in 1989 as a physical education instructor at Greenwich High School. In the succeeding years, she was a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal at the middle school and high school levels.  

Niehoff was a highly successful field hockey coach at Litchfield High School and Joel Barlow High School with four conference titles and one state championship. She has served on the United States Field Hockey Association Board of Ethics since 1996. Niehoff also coached high school volleyball, softball, basketball and track. In 2000, Niehoff was appointed assistant principal of Har-Bur Middle School in Burlington. Four years later, she assumed the position of principal of Lewis Mills High School, a post she held until joining the Connecticut association.

Niehoff served on the Education Committee of the United States Olympic Committee, authoring the “OlympiKids School Celebration Guide,” acting as U.S. delegate to International Olympic Academies in Greece and Canada, and representing the USOC at numerous national conventions, conferences and educational programs. She was co-founder and dean of the “Passing The Torch” Academy For Youth Sport Leadership, a USOC initiative to promote leadership and the spirit of Olympism within the realm of youth sport.

Prior to joining the Connecticut association, Niehoff served on numerous CAS and CIAC boards and committees, including the Field Hockey Committee, CIAC Board of Control and chair of the Sportsmanship Committee.

    Sheakley became executive director of the Oklahoma association in May 2009 after serving as interim executive director for one month. He was an assistant director with the OSSAA for 17 years before accepting his new position. During his tenure as assistant director, Sheakley was responsible for wrestling, slow-pitch softball, volleyball and academic bowl.

Before joining the OSSAA in 1992, Sheakley served as an administrator, educator and coach in Oklahoma’s Blackwell, Madill and Clinton school districts, including the roles of assistant principal and athletic director at Blackwell High School. Before moving to Oklahoma in 1982, Sheakley taught and coached in his home state of Iowa.

Among his previous involvement at the national level, Sheakley is a former member of the NFHS Equity Committee and NFHS Appeal Board.

Fitzgerald has been superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District since 2007 after seven years as assistant principal and nine years as principal at Caesar Rodney High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State University (Maryland), his master’s from St. John’s College (Maryland) and his doctorate from the University of Delaware.

    Fitzgerald began his career in education in Maryland in 1978 as a social studies and English teacher. He also coached football, basketball and baseball, and was a high school athletic director and basketball official.

In 2002, Fitzgerald was recognized as Delaware’s Secondary Principal of the Year, and in 2013 he was selected as Delaware’s Superintendent of the Year. He is a former president of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association and chairman of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Thompson, who joined the NIAA as executive director effective July 1, has served as assistant director of the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) for the past eight years.

    Thompson’s responsibilities at the UHSAA included soccer, cross county, track, wrestling, and speech and debate. He also handled the association’s legislative issues and was the coordinator of sports medicine.

Prior to joining the UHSAA staff in the summer of 2007, Thompson coached football, wrestling and track for 22 years at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, Utah, after beginning his career in education as a teacher and coach at Clearfield (Utah) High School.

Thompson previously served on the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and Speech Committee.

Rules Changes Approved for High School Track and Field, Cross Country

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 7, 2015) – Beginning with the 2016 high school track and field season, the head starter (or designee), rather than the implement inspector, shall inspect all starting blocks used in the running events.

The addition of Article 4 to Rule 3-6 was one of eight changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 15-17 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The committee did significant work in cleaning up some confusion regarding trials and passes by expanding terms contained in definitions,” said Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee. “Likewise, changes were made to include the use of flags in field events and update cross country rules to reflect the current trends in the sport.”

Rules 6-1-1 through 5 were amended to expand and clarify the definitions for trials/attempts in throwing events. Rule 6-2-9 concerning a competitor’s initiation of a trial was consequently affected by the change. Similar revisions were made to Rules 7-1-1 through 7 and Rule 7-2-12 so the same clarification and expansion of definitions apply.

Other significant track and field rules changes included the revision of Rule 3-10-7. The rule now states that “the head event judge may be equipped with both a white and red flag” to signal whether a throwing attempt is fair or foul. The change will allow for more efficient administration of field events and for improved communication between officials, coaches and fans, Oakes said.

In cross country, Rule 9-3-3 was revised to recommend the use of a video or photograph to verify the order of finish in races in which the timing system indicates a differential of one-tenth of a second or less. Having the video as a back-up and a process in place for problems that may arise from the use of a computerized transponder/chip system is a good solution, Oakes said.

Added to Rule 9-3 is the recommendation of a finish corral at cross country meets where transponders are used for the order of finish.

Other changes to cross country included an addition to Rule 9-1-3, which now allows the use of double painted boundary lines and/or natural or artificial boundary markers as an alternative method to mark the course for both runners and spectators.

The remaining changes to track and field concern equipment standards. Rule 6-5-2 was added, specifying the maximum allowed diameter for indoor shot put to account for the synthetic cover that is not present on the outdoor implement. Rule 6-6-1 was revised to allow for the use of newer javelin materials such as carbon fiber. Finally, Rule 7-6-3 was altered to recommend that the takeoff board for long jump and triple jump be eight inches wide, but still allow for larger boards.

Track and field is the second-most popular sport for boys with 580,321 participants in 16,271 schools and is the No. 1 sport for girls with 478,885 participants in 16,217 schools during the 2013-14 season, according to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey. Cross country is the seventh-most popular sport for boys with 252,547 participants in 14,473 schools and is the sixth-most popular sport for girls with 218,121 participants in 14,267 schools.

Rules Changes Approved for High School Baseball, Softball

            INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 7, 2015) – Rules changes for the 2016 baseball and softball seasons were made at rules committee meetings last month in Indianapolis. Those changes were subsequently approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors.


Beginning with the 2016 season, umpires will be required to issue a warning to coaches before restriction to the bench/dugout or ejecting them as part of a new penalty progression to promote preventive officiating.  

The revision to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty was one of two changes recommended by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee at its June 7-9 meeting.

Previously, issuing a warning to an offending coach was optional for umpires, who will now restrict to the bench/dugout or eject coaches who commit a violation after previously being warned for a minor offense. However, coaches can still be ejected on a first offense if it is deemed to be major.

Also part of the modification to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty, coaches who receive a written warning (Rule 10-2-3) will be restricted to the bench and/or dugout for the remainder of the game.

 “The new rule change has initiated a penalty progression, starting with a written warning, restriction to the bench/dugout and subsequent ejection from the contest,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee.

The changes to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty will help to de-escalate contentious situations and allow coaches to dictate their status in the game by their behavior, Hopkins said.

“A successful game official practices preventive officiating, and this new penalty progression will allow the official to issue penalties that give the coach the opportunity to remain in the game and teach his players.”

The other change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee is an addition to Rule 3-3-1. Article “q” will state that a coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not “have any physical contact, spitting, kicking of dirt or any other physical action directed toward an umpire.” The addition of article “q” serves to clarify other behaviors that would result in an ejection from the game, Hopkins said.

“Bad behavior that is being imitated from other levels has no place in education-based athletics and will not be tolerated,” Hopkins said. “If we are to continue to use sport to teach life lessons, then we have to ensure that appropriate behavior and conduct are modeled from those adults in the role of coach/teacher.”

In addition to the two rules changes, the Baseball Rules Committee approved three Points of Emphasis for the 2016 season. Points of emphasis are developed by NFHS rules committees and should receive special focus and attention by officials, coaches, players, fans and other leaders within the high school setting.

Points of Emphasis developed by the Baseball Rules Committee for the 2016 season are as follows:






In softball, one rule change was recommended by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee at its June 15-17 meeting. In the new Article 4 of Rule 2-57, the committee provided a standard definition of a “projected” substitute.

Rule 3-3-3 prohibits the use of a projected substitute, which is now defined in the new article as “a player who does not immediately participate in the game.”

“There has been some confusion among both officials and coaches about substitution procedure,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials education and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee. “Therefore, the committee felt it was necessary to clear up that process and provide coaches and officials with a standard definition of a projected substitute.”

            The following Points of Emphasis were approved by the Softball Rules Committee:



According to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 482,629 participants in 15,789 schools. Fast-pitch softball is the fifth-most popular sport for girls with 364,297 participants in 15,225 schools during the 2013-14 season.

AHSAA Assistant Director Wanda Gilliland Receives NFHS Citation at 96th Summer Meeting at New Orleans

     INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 1, 2015) — 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.

      She received the award at a special luncheon held at the 2015 the 96th annual NFHS Summer Meeting in New Orleans Wednesday.  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.

      “I know of no one who is more deserving than Wanda Gilliland,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “She is dedicated, loyal and a tireless servant who loves the AHSAA and its mission. We are very proud of her and are elated she is being recognized by the NFHS for her many contributions.”
      Ms. 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 has served on the NFHS basketball, softball and spirit rules committees. She currently chairs the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. She was inducted into AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
       Gilliland, the Section 3 recipient, becomes the sixth Alabama recipient of the prestigious NFHS Citation Award since its inception in 1987. Past recipients include Ken Blankenship (Coaches Citation) in 2000, Greg Brewer (Section 3) in 2006, Houston Young (Officials Citation), 2010, Alan Mitchell (Section 3) in 2012, and Jeff Hilyer (Officials Citation) in 2014.
ight Citation honorees, one from each of the NFHS member-school districts, are recognized annually as well as four other Citation recipients representing NFHS professional organizations for officials, coaches, music leaders and speech/debate/theatre directors.
        The other state association recipients for 2015 were Pat Corbin, Section 1, retired executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association; Butch Powell, Section 2, assistant executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission; Scott Johnson, Section 4, assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association; Cheryl Gleason, Section 5, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association; Amy Cassell, Section 6, assistant director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association; Dwight Toyama, Section 7, former executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and the Oahu Interscholastic Association; and John Billetz, Section 8, retired executive director of the Idaho High School Activities Association.
        Other Citation recipients at Wednesday’s awards luncheon were James Coon, Officials  Citation recipient, volleyball official, Pittsboro, Indiana; Milt Bassett, Coach Citation recipient, executive director, Oklahoma Coaches Association, Edmond, Oklahoma; Jean Ney, Music Citation recipient, retired coordinator of fine arts, Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, Bonner Springs, Kansas; and Darrel Harbaugh, Speech/Debate/Theatre Citation recipient, retired director of debate and forensics, Field Kindley Memorial High School, Coffeyville, Kansas.
        Missouri State High School Activities Association legal counsel Mallory Mayse was also presented the NFHS Award of Merit for his contributions over the last 40 years to the NFHS and MSHSAA concerning legal issues.   The award, while not presented annually, has recognized 42 individuals since 1966 including former President Gerald Ford (1983) and former AHSAA Executive Director Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (1992).
         The NFHS American Tradition Award was also presented to Varsity Spirit, a company dedicated to spirit and cheer participation.  Varsity Spirit became just the eighth recipient of the award since 1985.

NFHS, Simon’s Fund release “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” on www.nfhslearn.com

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 24, 2015) – The National Federation of State High School Associations has added a new course to its selection of online education courses available through the NFHS Learning Center at www.nfhslearn.com.

            “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” was developed in conjunction with Simon’s Fund, which raises awareness about the conditions that lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death in young athletes.

             “The NFHS is pleased to partner with Simon's Fund to provide this free online course,” said Dan Schuster, director of coach education at NFHS. “This is critically important information that can save a life and ultimately create a safer environment for students.” 

The course educates coaches, students, parents and others about sudden cardiac arrest, how to recognize its warning signs and symptoms, and the appropriate course of action to be taken if a player collapses during physical activity.

            Sudden cardiac arrest is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States for student-athletes during exercise, taking the lives of thousands every year.

“It is critically important for coaches – and others – to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, and to know how to respond effectively in order to protect student-athletes,” said Dr. Bill Heinz, chair of the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and host of the new “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” course.

            “By partnering with the NFHS, hundreds of thousands of coaches will see our educational video and become educated about the warning signs and conditions that lead to sudden cardiac arrest.  We can’t think of a better way of fulfilling our mission,” said Darren Sudman, executive director and co-founder of Simon’s Fund.

            Along with this new course, the NFHS also encourages all schools to develop and implement an emergency action plan, have an AED on site and have an appropriate health-care professional present at as many events as possible in order to minimize risk to student-athletes.

            “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” takes just 15 minutes to complete and can be used toward fulfillment of Certified Interscholastic Coach requirements, part of the NFHS National Certification Program.

The course can be taken for free at https://nfhslearn.com/courses/61032.

Jackie Stiles, J. T. Curtis Among 12 Individuals Selected for 2015 Class of National High School Hall of Fame

     INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 23, 2015) — Jackie Stiles, the high school basketball legend from Claflin, Kansas, who is the leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball history, and J. T. Curtis, whose 542 victories as football coach at John Curtis Christian School in Louisiana rank No. 2 all-time, are among 12 individuals selected for the 2015 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.

Other athletes who were chosen for this year’s class are Cindy Brogdon, who helped Greater Atlanta Christian School to three state girls basketball titles in the early 1970s while setting 12 school records; Nikki McCray-Penson, Tennessee’s all-time leading scorer in five-player girls basketball during her days at Collierville High School; and Lincoln McIlravy, who won five South Dakota state wrestling titles at Philip High School and three NCAA championships at the University of Iowa.

Joining Curtis as coaches in this year’s class are David Barney, who has won 34 state championships in boys and girls swimming at Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico; Rick Lorenz, girls volleyball coach at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon, who has won 10 state championships and 1,174 matches; Don Petranovich, who retired in 2010 after winning eight girls basketball state championships at Winslow High School in Arizona; and Charles “Corky” Rogers, football coach at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, who ranks fifth among active coaches with 444 victories.

These four athletes and five coaches, along with one contest official, one state association administrator and one in the performing arts, will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 33rd Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 96th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.

Other members of the 2015 induction class are the late Joseph (Joe) Pangrazio Sr., who was a football official for 45 years and a basketball official for 55 years with the Ohio High School Athletic Association; Doug Chickering, who guided the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association to unprecedented levels of success during his 24 years (1986-2009) as executive director; and Mike Burton, one of the nation’s top speech and debate coaches during his 39 years (1969-2008) at two schools in the state of Washington.

            The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, performing arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year’s class increases the number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 435.

            The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.

            Following is biographical information on the 12 individuals in the 2015 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.






                Cindy Brogdon was one of the top girls basketball players in Georgia history during her four years (1972-75) at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross. She led her teams to three state titles (finished second the other year) and set 12 school records, including most points in a game (44) and highest career scoring average (23.7). Brogdon played two years at Mercer University, averaging 30.1 points per game, and two years at the University of Tennessee, where she led the Lady Vols in scoring both seasons. Brogdon was a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Women’s College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. She is currently a teacher and coach at Northview High School in Johns Creek, Georgia.

            Nikki McCray-Penson scored 3,594 points during her four-year basketball career at Collierville (Tennessee) High School – most in state history for the five-player game. She led her team to the state tournament as a senior in 1990 and was the state’s top scorer with an average of 33.6 points per game. McCray also is the state’s all-time leading rebounder and was  named Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Class AAA Miss Basketball in 1990. McCray led the University of Tennessee to a 122-11 record during her four years and was Southeastern Conference Player of the Year as a junior and senior. She played on two Olympic gold medal teams (1996, 2000) and played nine years in the Women’s National Basketball Association. McCray was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. She is currently an assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina. 

            Lincoln McIlravy won five state wrestling titles (1988-92) at Philip High School in South Dakota – the first as an eighth-grader in the 98-pound class. He also won the 112-pound title as a ninth-grader, the 125-pound championship as a sophomore and the 152-pound titles as a junior and senior. His overall high school record was 200-25. At the University of Iowa, McIlravy posted an overall record of 96-3-12 and won three NCAA championships and three Big Ten Conference titles. From 1997 to 2000, McIlravy won four consecutive USA national freestyle titles. He also claimed three World Team trials and the 2000 USA Olympic trials. McIlravy was a bronze medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games. In 2010, McIlravy became a “distinguished member” of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

            Jackie Stiles is regarded by most people as the greatest female athlete in Kansas history after her incredible accomplishments at Claflin High School from 1993 to 1997. In basketball, she scored 3,603 points and averaged 35.7 points per game (seventh all-time nationally), which includes a staggering 46.4 scoring average (fourth all-time nationally) as a senior. She set the state’s all-time single-game mark with 71 points in 1997. In track and field, Stiles helped Claflin to two state titles and set an all-state record with 14 gold medals and two silver medals (16 possible medals). She won four gold medals as a freshman and, as a junior, became the first female athlete to win the 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 – all in one day. She also competed on the cross country and tennis teams. Stiles’ accomplishments continued at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University), where she led her team to a berth in the Women’s Final Four in 2001. Stiles is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history with 3,393 points and led the NCAA in scoring in 1999-2000 with a 27.8 per-game average. She is the school’s single-season scoring leader. Stiles was named WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2001 after averaging 14.9 points per game for the Portland Fire. She currently is assistant women’s basketball coach at Missouri State University.


            David Barney has been involved in interscholastic coaching since 1961, including the past 40 years as girls swimming coach and the past 33 years as boys swimming coach at Albuquerque Academy (AA) in New Mexico. The amazing 83-year-old Barney has led his AA swimmers to 34 New Mexico Activities Association state titles (18 boys, 16 girls). His overall record (boys and girls) entering the 2014-15 season was 923-71. Barney’s teams previously set or still hold 70 state records with 238 individuals and relays winning gold medals. Barney has coached five National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) national champions and he has coached more than 300 NISCA All-American swimmers. In 1995, Barney was selected the first NFHS National High School Girls Swimming Coach of the Year. In 2010, he was the first swimming coach to be inducted into the NMAA’s Hall of Pride & Honor.

            J. T. Curtis has registered a phenomenal 542-58-6 record (89.9 winning percentage) during his 46 years as football coach at John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge, Louisiana. He is second all-time in coaching victories, trailing the legendary John McKissick, who has 621 wins through the 2014 season. Curtis has led his teams to 26 state championships in 35 appearances in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) state title game, and the school has reached the championship game for 19 consecutive years. In 2012, his team was the consensus national champion and he was named USA Today Coach of the Year for the second time. Curtis is also the school’s athletic director, overseeing a program that has won more than 50 state championships in eight different sports, and the school’s headmaster. An ordained minister, Curtis delivers weekly sermons to a local congregation.

            Rick Lorenz has coached girls volleyball in Oregon since 1976, including the past 27 years at Central Catholic High School in Portland. He previously coached 10 years at St. Mary’s Academy and one year at Lake Oswego High School. Lorenz has led his teams to 10 Oregon School Activities Association state championships and 10 second-place finishes. His teams have advanced to the finals site in 32 of his 39 years coaching the sport. Lorenz has posted a 1,174-185 record (86.3 winning percentage) and his career victory total ranks eighth all-time nationally according to the NFHS’ National High School Sports Record Book. Lorenz’s 2011 team registered a perfect 44-0 record in the state’s largest volleyball class and won a third consecutive state title. Last year, Lorenz was named National Volleyball Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA).

            Don Petranovich retired in 2010 after a legendary 33-year career as girls basketball coach at Winslow (Arizona) High School. Petranovich registered a state-record 780-158 record (83.1 winning percentage) and appeared in a state-record 16 state championship games, winning the title eight times. His 1989 and 1990 teams won a state-record 44 consecutive games. Petranovich was NFHS National Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in 2009 and was named the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Coach of the 20th Century. He played major roles in the early development of girls high school basketball in Arizona as well as the rise in interest in girls basketball on Native American reservations. Petranovich also served as the school’s athletic director for 28 years, retiring in 2013.

            Charles “Corky” Rogers ranks sixth all-time (fifth among active coaches) in career football coaching victories during his outstanding 43-year career at two Jacksonville, Florida, high schools. Rogers coached at his alma mater, Robert E. Lee High School, from 1972 to 1988, and has directed the football program at The Bolles School for the past 26 years. Rogers has compiled an overall 444-80-1 record (84.8 winning percentage) and was the eighth coach in high school football history to surpass 400 victories. Rogers’ teams have won 11 Florida High School Athletic Association state championships in 16 appearances – most in Florida history. He has been inducted in several halls of fame and was National High School Football Coach of the Year in 2004-05, as selected by the National High School Coaches Association.


            The late Joseph (Joe) Pangrazio Sr. was an Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) football official for 45 years (1955-2000) and an OHSAA basketball official for 55 years (1945-2000). He officiated six state football championships and 10 state basketball tournaments (eight boys, two girls). He conducted countless clinics and camps and was instrumental in recruiting and mentoring numerous new football and basketball officials. Pangrazio was also a highly successful college basketball official in several conferences and was a Big Ten Conference basketball officials observer and evaluator at Ohio State University for 25 years. Pangrazio was a 1989 charter member of the OHSAA Officials Hall of Fame, and last year he was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.


            Doug Chickering guided the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) to unprecedented success during his 24 years (1986-2009) as executive director. Only the fourth person to hold the position in the 113-year history of the WIAA, Chickering was instrumental in adding private schools into the association in 2000, expanding state tournament opportunities in all sports, and enhancing the exposure of high school sports through various media platforms. At the national level, Chickering served two terms on the NFHS Board of Directors and was president in 1992-93. During his year as president, Chickering guided the organization through some challenging financial times, and he later was instrumental in establishing the NFHS Foundation. He was chair of the Foundation Board of Directors until his retirement in 2009. Chickering also chaired the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee. Prior to joining the WIAA in 1986, Chickering was a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal and district administrator in the Gilman and Marathon schools in Wisconsin.


            Mike Burton retired in 2008 after an outstanding 39-year career as a speech and debate coach in the state of Washington. Burton started his career in 1969 at White River High School in Buckley, Washington, and then served for 25 years in the Auburn, Washington, School District. He closed his career with a nine-year stint at Eastside Catholic High School in Bellevue, where he started the speech and debate program in 2000. Burton’s students won three national championships and 36 state championships. He was known for building the Auburn forensics program into one of the largest and most successful in the nation, with 120 to 150 students involved. He served on the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Forensics Committee for 14 years and was the National Catholic Forensic League diocese director. Burton also coached baseball for 15 years and was a highly successful high school and college football official for 36 years. Burton was president of the NFHS Officials Association in 1998.