LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Even though this is summer, any parent of a high school athlete can tell you that school sports, especially football, never take a break around here.
But a proposal by the Arkansas Activities Association could put some limits in place.
The Board of Directors with the AAA have put forward changes that would limit school teams to eight competition days and individual students would be limited to eight competitions per sport.
The AAA said it’s for the students’ own good.
“There's so much activity going on during the summer, the superintendents were worried about the kids getting burned out so much,” said Lance Taylor, executive director of the AAA. “This came from the survey we do every spring. 82 percent of them said this was a good idea.”
Even though football is the biggest fall sport, the preparation takes place throughout the summer. The Arkansas Football Coaches Association said they are uniformly opposed to the proposal.
“You have everything from 7-on-7s to team camps, and a lot of people now are doing J-V team camps,” said Brad Bolding, head coach at Little Rock’s Parkview High School. “We think it’s detrimental to the game of football.”
Bolding shared his schedule. It shows five scheduled 7-on-7 match-ups with various schools. It also has three team camps – all before the mandatory two-week “dead period” where no activity is allowed at the end of June. Five more events are coming in July. If the new rules go in place, Bolding’s program would have been done in three weeks into summer vacation.
“The proposal is limiting the biggest [sport] in the state of Arkansas, which is football,” said Bolding.
Taylor said students will still have unlimited time in the weight room and practice fields. That’s important to program’s like Parkview, where Bolding said football keeps kids off the streets in the summer.
But some coaches worry that some kids will turn to elite teams to fill their football dates, outside their program.
“The game of football is a contact collision sport,” Bolding said. “Now your players are playing with a coach that might not be coaching the safety part of it as you would.”
Taylor insisted the limits will help rather than hurt.
“I don't think there's anything they are trying to do that would hurt the kids at all,” he said. “It's trying to help them to make sure they do not burn out during the summer.”
The board voted unanimously to put the limits in place. The entire body of the AAA will decide on the proposal in January, so it's not going to affect this season.
The coaches association is urging their athletic directors to reject the idea.