Changes in eligibility, coach limits weighed

SIDELINES

High Schools

January 26, 2003|By Pat O'Malley

Changes in academic eligibility and the addition of assistant coaches in sports, especially football, were among the topics discussed at last week's monthly meeting of Anne Arundel County high school athletic directors.

The discussion is the first step toward the adoption of specific legislation.

On the eligibility issue, the county Board of Education would have to approve a developing proposal that would eliminate interims and mean the issuing of report cards every six weeks.

There would no longer be a 15-day probationary period for student athletes who do not meet the 2.0 grade-point-average requirement for participation in athletics and other extracurricular activities.

At the moment, probation begins on the day report cards are issued and, during the next 15 school days, the ineligible student can participate in practices, but not games.

At the end of the 15 days, if the student meets academic standards determined through daily monitoring by teachers, he or she can resume full participation.

"Our idea is to issue report cards every six weeks and, if a student is ineligible at that time, the student would be out six weeks [no participation at all] until the next report card," said Arundel athletic director and physical education department chairman Bernie Walter.

"The motivation to stay eligible would be greater and it would be less work for teachers. It would be a better way to run the academic program."

As for the coaching issue, Walter said athletic directors "hope to increase the number of coaches in sports, such as football, where we should be doing better but aren't because the coach/ player ratio is not what it should be."

Comments by veteran Annapolis football coach Roy Brown at the end of the fall season after four county teams lost in the first round of the playoffs brought attention to the matter.

Brown pointed to Montgomery County's immense success in the state football playoffs - 37 state titles compared to three by Anne Arundel - as largely the result of the fact "they can have more assistant coaches.

"They have no limit on how many they can have. We do."

Montgomery football teams have nine to 10 coaches to aid in scouting, preparation and individual attention. Anne Arundel teams are limited to five paid coaches and two volunteers.

Sideliners

After losing two games in a row, the Glen Burnie boys basketball team has won two straight to lift its record to 10-2, but postseason success could depend on a forthcoming magnetic resonance imaging on the left knee of 6-foot-7, 330-pound Brandon Albert, a junior. ... No. 6 Archbishop Spalding (15-4) spoiled the planned party at St. Maria Goretti (10-13) in Hagerstown with a 55-51 win Friday night. The Gaels' Center was packed, hoping to see Goretti coach Cokey Robertson become only the second Maryland high school coach to win 700 games. ... The Chesapeake boys basketball team has gone from a 3-19 team a year ago to 8-5 this season, with sophomore guard Kerwin Porter, who had 29 points in Friday's 69-59 win over North County (7-6), leading the way. ... Seniors Adrian Gross and Chuck Warring of Southern-AA's boys basketball team have played on the same team from age 9 through high school. They were born on the same day, Jan. 14, 1985. ... Former Severna Park pitcher Josh Banks, an All-Metro pick in 2000 and now the ace at Florida International, is listed among Baseball America's Fab 50 for college juniors. ... Pitcher Mike Ziegler, an All-Metro player at Old Mill in 1997, is gaining prominence in the Oakland Athletics' minor-league system. The A's protected the right-hander by putting him on their Triple-A roster this off season.

Have a note? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499 or send e-mail to patomalleysports@aol.com.

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