Travel rule could be changed

Board considers lifting 600-mile limit on trips

April 22, 2005|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Maryland's governing body for public high school athletics could begin the process of lifting its travel restriction of 600 miles round trip -- sanctioning nationwide competition -- if a proposal is approved by the organization's board of control at today's semiannual meeting in Ocean City.

"If passed, the board of control would be making a recommendation that would first need the endorsement of the local superintendents of schools and then need to be formally adopted by the state board of education," Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association executive director Ned Sparks said of a move reported in yesterday's Washington Post.

The superintendents and the state board meet once a month. The proposal could reach the superintendents as early as next month, but could "take a lot longer" to reach the board of education, Sparks said.

"It's about a six- to eight-month process, allowing for a public hearing and open comments from any citizen," Sparks said. "It's extremely unlikely that it would go into effect for [2005-2006]."

Any long trips "must result in no loss of instructional time and meet the criteria of each local school district for field trips."

The MPSSAA has been considering changes to its policy. This past winter, seniors were allowed to participate in two all-star games, rather than just one, "in keeping with NCAA regulations," Sparks said.

Seniors whose athletic eligibility had been completed in a sport could participate in two all-star events in the same sport without jeopardizing his or her remaining eligibility in other sports.

In the most recent MPSSAA newsletter, Sparks addressed the possibility of lifting the ban on Sunday competition, implementing a statewide rule on the eligibility of transfers, finding ways to certify non-teachers (emergency coaches) and allowing coaches to coach their teams outside of the high school seasons.

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