Coaches from around the state are breathing a sigh of relief.
A highly controversial Arizona Interscholastic Association proposal that would have kept coaches from working with their athletes out of season during the school year has been defeated.
Friday, the AIA legislative council voted 28-11 against the proposal.
The new plan had been studied by athletic directors and council members, including Payson High School's Dave Bradley, for the past several months. Some AIA Legislative Council members say they voted against the proposal because it would have lumped all sports under one rule.
Had it been approved, the proposal would have had a severe impact in how high school coaches conduct their off-season programs. The rule would have put an end to spring football and other off-season programs that are viewed by some coaches as crucial to the success of their teams
When first proposed, PHS girls basketball coach Krystal Garvin questioned the intent of the rule. If she hosted open gym after the season concludes or in the fall, would showing a youngster how to shoot a free throw violate the proposed rule, she asked. As the rule originally was proposed, that would have probably been a violation.
Bradley said the AIA proposal was more directed at the large 5A schools where athletes compete year-round in one sport. But, he conceded, the rule could have affected what some PHS coaches do in the off-season.
AIA officials say the proposal was made after receiving complaints that some off-season programs are too demanding on young athletes. Those complaints were mostly directed at coaches who conduct club teams during out-of-season competition.
According to AIA surveys, baseball was the sport that required the most off-season participation.
But, PHS baseball coach Teddy Pettet said the proposal would not have affected his program because his only off-season leagues are held in the summer. The proposal did not restrict sports participation in the summer.
AIA officials contended that a benefit of the proposal is that it would have allowed coaches to remove some of the burdens of running extensive off-season programs. AIA officials say the proposal also would have alleviated burnout and pressure among young athletes.
Most all states have regulations that restrict out-of-season coaching, but in Arizona such regulations are vague.