The face of Arizona high school sports will stay the same for at least another year.
The legislative council of the Arizona Interscholastic Association voted Friday in Phoenix, 28-11, not to put a limitation on a coach's contact with an athlete outside that sport's season.
"There are certain things I think we do need to address and I have concerns about, but after listening to everyone (Thursday in a caucus meeting), I don't think this was going to resolve anything," Mesa District athletic director Steve Hogen said. "At least this has gotten the awareness level there that we do need to look at some things and gives the coaches the opportunity to come listen to suggestions."
The council had 39 of its 44 members attend the meeting and needed two-thirds of the vote (26 votes) to pass Article 17.5, out-of-season coaching limitation. Article 17.5.3 says "coaches and other school personnel shall not coach, organize or in any way be connected, associated or affiliated with their own team, individual or any potential team member(s) out of season during the school year."
The amendment's blanket statement would have affected all team sports and all conferences, which pushed much of the legislative to vote against the proposal.
"We felt like in total maybe we needed not to pass one sweeping piece of legislation," Scottsdale District athletic director Joe Corte said. "It may penalize a lot of people even though it might accomplish some things. Maybe we needed to spend some more time and maybe some more committee work with more coaching input."
During the session rural schools expressed dislike and said they would be hurt the most by this amendment.
"Clubs sports are now becoming more and more available in the rural communities and as was stated by some of their folks, it is more likely in those communities that their high school coach might be involved in club activities, so this would be a restrictive factor for them in getting clubs established," Scottsdale Christian athletic director Bob Fredericks said after the meeting. "We want to keep coaches from mandating team practice in the offseason but we want to tweak our current rules to allow for educationally sound individual instruction."
The issue is far from dead but finding the right answer will likely take until next year's council meeting. "I think it will always be an issue people will discuss but whether or not there comes a better idea in how to regulate it is hard to say," AIA executive director Harold Slemmer said. "(But) it's very possibly in the future."
Besides the no vote for the coaching ban, the council did pass an amendment for volleyball. Volleyball will now use rally scoring rules that the National Federation of State High School Associations approved in January. All varsity matches will be best the three-of-five games with games being played to 25 and the deciding game to 15 points using the sideout system. All games will have to be won by two points.