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KHSAA’s ‘Dead Period’

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KHSAA’s ‘Dead Period’

‘Witching Hour’ instituted this morning at 'stroke of midnight'

Time for rest, rejuvenation, and family vacation

Fall seasons awaiting athletes on the other side...

When I was formerly the primary writer for the Kentucky-wide, online sports magazine, Kentucky Prep Gridiron, I used to annually publish an article setting forth the specifics about the KHSAA’s imposed summer “Dead Period.” This period applies to all KHSAA sanctioned sports and not just football, as some believe.

In the spirit of keeping readers informed, I have written an article to detail specifics about the “Dead Period." Please enjoy this effort to keep parties appropriately apprised from the locally run, hometown legal newspaper of record for Breathitt County's previous 133-years of existence.

We have entered what is commonly referenced as Summer Dead Period. The actual period is described and specifically set forth in the Bylaws of The Kentucky High School Athletic Association

Bylaw 24, § 3, under Summer Dead Period, sets forth the following…Students may not receive coaching or training from school personnel (either salaried or non salaried) and school facilities, uniforms, nicknames, transportation, or equipment shall not be used each year in any KHSAA sanctioned sport or sport-activity during the period beginning with June 25, and going through July 9. School funds may not be expended in support of interscholastic athletics in any KHSAA sanctioned sport during this period…Emphasis supplied.

In our interpreting this rule literally, it doesn't appear to prohibit athletes receiving training and/or coaching from non-school personnel at off-campus sites in and around the city. It doesn't appear to apply to non-KHSAA sanctioned sports (like HS Powerlifting for instance). Conceivably, a school's Powerlifting Team might seem to be able to practice and work-out during the period any where they wish using whatever personnel is available. 

Don't know I would test this theory. It is a reasonable interpretation in light of how the specific Bylaw is worded.

I find it interesting, and I hope you do too, that this Dead Period was established during the mid-90s in Kentucky High School Athletics. The comments on the Bylaws indicate there was a nearly year-long task force convened and charged with reviewing issues concerning year-round athletics eroding family opportunities for a break from participation. In the mid-90’s, outside entities were, it would appear, sponsoring a growing amount of school-based summer competition.

The comments to the Bylaws also detail that overzealous coaches were requiring players to play games throughout the summer, in addition to the year-round workout regimen. The task force determine that, while this may seem to be in the best interest of developing sports' talent, the development of sports' talent alone is not the goal of high school athletics. 

The task force went on to outline the objective that the goal of high school sports should be to supplement classroom learning and allow for in-season competitive opportunities. Sports programs shouldn’t be used to foster a year round Olympic or professional development period.

At the time the Dead Period was being adopted and codified within the Bylaws, families were complaining they could not plan vacations and outings because of coach-imposed requirements. Athletes were complaining of being too spent. For the schools’ part, member schools were increasingly concerned with liability issues related to year-round, required participation. 

I find it interesting to note the task force, at the time the Bylaw was being formulated and passed, conducted a survey of administrators and coaches who were members of the KHSAA. In the survey, 80% of superintendents, principals, and athletic directors indicated they supported a Dead Period in the summer. 

The member administrators overwhelmingly favored a four (4) week Dead Period but, when the member coaches complained, a two (2) week period was settled on by way of compromise. The Bylaw’s primary intent, as is stated in the Comments, is to eliminate, for an approximately two (2) week period, the leverage a coach has over his/her high school athletes.

The only thing awaiting athletes on the other side of this period is the season. Enjoy the respite; but know an exciting sports season of full participation in a slew of Fall sports awaits all of us fans when we come out the other end the morning of July 10th.  

Note: Mr. Long is an award-winning Kentucky journalist recognized for excellence in both writing and reporting by the Kentucky Press Association.

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