Coaches and athletes are hanging on to a thread of hope that there will be a spring sports season of some kind, and the Indiana High School Athletic Association left that window cracked Thursday in announcing a pair of adjustments to its practice requirements.
In an email to athletics directors, the IHSAA said, “If we are able to resume on May 1, the number of separate days of practice necessary to participate in any interscholastic event, including contests shall be set at five,” the association said.
The typical requirement is 10.
Also, the IHSAA announced spring sports teams will also revert to IHSAA By-Law 15-2 for in-season athletes, which states that students may participate in team sport practices and contests as members of a non-school team without compromising their eligibility.
“I think right now allowing kids to practice outside is a good decision,” New Prairie baseball coach Mark Schellinger said. “Obviously, we can’t work with them so allowing them the opportunity to get some work in if the parents and player feel comfortable doing so is good.
“As for practice, it is needed because of the compact schedule. It’s not ideal, especially for pitchers. My guess is the majority of pitchers will need some time to work up to being able to throw a whole game. Again, not ideal, but we’re not dealing with ideal times.”
South Central coach Zach Coulter is fine with loosening the limitations on players training with non-school teams.
Just in case we don’t have a season, it won’t be healthy, especially for pitchers, to be sitting around for weeks without any baseball activity, throwing going on," Coulter said. "Practice reduction only makes good sense. Reducing it from 10 to five pretty much saves us a week. Without that, I don’t know that teams could get through conference games before a post season was to begin. I’m glad to see that releases that."
LaCrosse’s Eric Snyder doesn’t see the practice adjustment, aimed to get kids into games sooner, as much of a benefit.
“I’m not super clear on what that means. If you’re going to open up kids to play travel ball, why can’t you let them have a high school practice?” Snyder said. “The belief is that they’re all out working. The die-hards, absolutely, but the middle and lower end, probably not. Most of them aren’t going anywhere. Ten (practices) isn’t enough. Are they going to limit the pitch count? It’s a great idea to get games in, but there’s no way anybody’s going to be ready. It’s promoting bad baseball and injuries.”