Idea of state swim meet floated

MPSSAA OKs championships plan

earlier football season proposed

High Schools

April 24, 2006|By LEM SATTERFIELD | LEM SATTERFIELD,SUN REPORTER

The public school state association could establish a state swimming championship starting in February 2007. It is also considering for the fall of 2007 a proposal designed to ease the excessive overlap of the state football finals into the winter baskeball and wrestling seasons.

Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association officials discussed both possibilities at last weekend's Board of Control session in Ocean City, voting in favor of the swimming championships, which still must receive approval from both the Maryland superintendents of schools and the board of education over the next six months.

MPSSAA director Ned Sparks said districts such as Baltimore City as well as Calvert, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Montgomery, Queen Anne's, Prince George's, St. Mary's and Talbot counties have swimming programs, while those such as Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties do not.

"The swimming championships, which would be broken down into two classifications, could be passed in November or so if everything goes smoothly," Sparks said.

Under the proposal dealing with football, Maryland teams would gear their summer practice times so that play begins on the weekend before Labor Day. If approved by the state's superintendents and its board of education, the plan would be implemented as early as August 2007.

"We want to be able to start the fall season on Labor Day weekend, and to do that, we have to move off [the traditional date for initiating fall practices] of Aug. 15," said Sparks, noting that fall practices could begin "as early as Aug. 11," and that winter practices begin on or around Nov. 15.

"[The proposal] would prevent some of the overlap with kids trying out for winter sports as well as the conflict with playing the championships into the winter season. We'd end the states on the first week of December, where, this year, we ended on the second weekend of December," Sparks said of the Dec. 9-10 state finals at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Last year's games meant some teams played a basketball game on Friday night and a state title football game on Saturday," Sparks said. "[The proposal] could also help in situations, for example, where a coach is cutting kids from a [basketball] team, but yet, he's holding spots for football players."

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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