Dead for a long time in Tennessee
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s mandatory dead period is upon us, and many coaches are counting the days until they and their players can have a little time off. The dead period begins June 25 and continues through July 8.
Our neighbors in Tennessee are introducing a dead period in 2008, and they’ve taken it a step further than Kentucky officials did. Their new dead period will eliminate coaches’ contact with their athletes throughout the month of June.
According to this story in The Leaf-Chronicle of Clarksville, Tenn., a number of football coaches in that area believe the dead period will have a negative impact on their sport. But as one Clarksville coach said, if everyone is playing by the same rules, where’s the harm?
Coaches, especially in football and basketball, know they have to get a lot done in the summer so they won’t get outworked by the coach across town or across the county line. But they’d also like to have some semblance of a life, so many of them are looking forward to getting some time off without having to worry about their rivals getting an edge. And shouldn’t athletes be able to take a vacation with their families, have some time to hang out with friends or just get the chance to sleep late, play video games and just be kids for a while? Of course they should.
The Clarksville story also says the KHSAA is considering limiting (but not eliminating) coaches’ contact in June, and it will be interesting to see how far that gets. Obviously, it would have to be worked around the three spring sports that play well into June: baseball, softball and track and field.
Whether that’s too much dead period or not remains to be seen. But the idea behind the dead period is a good one, and the good it does negates any inconvenience it might present for coaches.
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As long as we’re looking across state lines, here’s an interesting story from The Indianapolis Star about a woman who has been hired to coach boys varsity basketball at a Class 2A school in northwest Indiana. The paper says it’s only the second time this has happened in Indiana, and I’m pretty sure there are only one or two similar instances in Kentucky as well.