The tradition of football two-a-days in Texas could be over.
The University Interscholastic League’s Legislative Council Monday unanimously voted to drastically change the athletic preseason regulations for activities outside the school year.
The new rules would:
- Prohibit teams from holding more than one practice in a day on consecutive days.
- Require teams to have a two-hour rest period between workouts if multiple sessions are held.
- Limit a second practice during the four-day acclimatization period in football to a teaching period or walkthrough with no conditioning, contact activities or equipment permitted.
The rules would go into effect Aug. 1, 2012, if approved by the Commissioner of Education.
UIL Athletic Director Dr. Mark Cousins said the council’s approval was based on the recommendation of the agency’s medical advisory committee.
“They first suggested the current limits back in 2005,” Cousins said. “They’ve been looking at and studying the issue to make sure we are staying current with the needs of our student athletes.
“With the changes in the college and professional ranks, and along with the record heat this summer in Texas, the medical advisory committee felt this is what we needed.”
According to the National Weather Service, Texas experienced the hottest summer on record with an average temperature of 86.8 degrees. Dallas-Fort Worth and Waco set records for the most 100-degree days in a calendar year.
Cousins said the new regulations are not a reaction to any incidents this summer. They also do not apply to volleyball.
Reaction from Wise County coaches was mixed. They wanted more information about how long they will be allowed to work out when limited to one session.
Boyd Athletic Director and football coach J.G. Cartwright held traditional two-a-days practice this past August with one two-hour session at 7 a.m. and a second at 6 p.m. He said he can work with the new regulations.
“I said years ago, if everyone would agree to go to one-a-days, I’d be for it,” Cartwright said. “We can live with it as long as everyone is having to go by the same rules.”
Decatur held two morning sessions with an hour break between workouts this year. Athletic Director and football coach Kyle Story also didn’t mind the changes.
“As long as we’re under the same rules, I don’t see a problem,” Story said. “It’ll be good overall to keep the kids from harm.”
The Decatur coach added that summer conditioning drills allowed now by the UIL have players in better shape for the start of workouts.
“With the summer workouts, conditioning is not as huge of a factor,” Story said. “It’s a little different now with the better offseason summer program.”
Bridgeport Athletic Director and football coach Danny Henson disagreed with the need for the change and the UIL making a statewide regulation.
“This ought to be a local school decision,” Henson said. “If the people of Bridgeport or Decatur think the kids are being harmed by the coaches and trainers, they could take it to the superintendent. They’ve always had the power to control employees.
“We got through two-a-days without any trouble. This was the hottest summer on record and we were able to conduct two-a-days, and our kids stayed healthy.”
Henson added that the UIL needs to consider pushing the start of the season back, since they are limiting teams’ time to prepare.
“This will affect kids’ ability to play in those early games when it is still really hot,” he said. “If we don’t have them properly ready, it could do them more harm.”
Cousins said pushing the start date back to September has not been discussed with the new regulations.
“It could be an option,” he said.
The legislative council also made a major rule change in track, instituting an area meet for all classifications starting in 2012-13. Area meets are currently used in Class A. The change would send four participants in each event from a district track meet to the area meet. The top four at area would then advance to regionals.
“It’s a proposal that would increase participation in the postseason, but also could decrease the amount of cost to schools participating,” Cousins said.
Decatur girls track coach David Park favored the change.
“It brings the field down at regionals to a more manageable level, especially in the distance races,” Park said.
The legislative council also voted to create a referendum ballot for superintendents in each classification to vote on changing the girls cross country race from two miles to 3.1 miles, starting next school year.
“It will be by conference to determine,” Cousins said.