Coaches at Oakland Mills express eligibility concerns

Questions: grade changes, freshman certification

Notebook

High Schools

May 04, 2004|By Rick Belz and Lem Satterfield | Rick Belz and Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

A contract signing deadline came and went yesterday for the coaches of fall sports at Howard County's Oakland Mills, and all 16 positions remain unfilled.

"We didn't have anyone sign their contract," said interim athletic director Carol Satterwhite. "They all expressed concerns about procedures for eligibility, and I need some clarification myself, so we're having [Howard coordinator of athletics] Don Disney come to the school for an open meeting at 2 p.m. today so that coaches can come in and voice their concerns to him."

Satterwhite, who imposed the deadline, emphasized that all of the coaches said their intent is to coach, and that none of them said their refusal to sign a contract was related to the Ken Hovet situation.

Hovet, the school's football coach, athletic director and AP history instructor, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave from all three positions due to his alleged role in an illegal grade change for a football player.

"A lot of changes need to be put into place in order for coaches to put their teaching jobs on the line," said Don Shea, the boys varsity soccer coach.

Two of the main concerns involved certification of incoming freshman eligibility and a deadline for legal grade changes.

"If you can certify weights for wrestlers, then you should be able to certify grades for middle school kids," said Shea. "To have a freshman student bring in his middle school report card doesn't resolve the issue."

Wrestling changes

Public school wrestlers will be permitted to exclude their worst of three regular-season invitational tournaments that usually count toward regional seeding points rather than having to use all three as mandated previously, according to state tournament director Duke Beattie.

The move, which goes into effect for the 2004-05 season, was arrived at during the annual meeting of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's nine-member wrestling committee in March. It is also meant to prevent teams which lose a tournament because of snow or inclement weather from being at a "seeding disadvantage," Beattie said.

Seniors win approval

A proposal to allow seniors to play in two all-state games was passed over the weekend at the Maryland State Athletic Directors Conference in Ocean City.

"It now goes to the [state board of control] and will likely be approved, " said Ned Sparks, the Executive Director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

Under current MPSSAA regulations, athletes are allowed to play in one all-star game when their high school eligibility ends. The two-games rule would become effective in all sports for the 2004-05 school year.

Sun staff writer Pat O'Malley contributed to this article.

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