Colorado teams and individuals will now be allowed to represent their schools at recognized national competitions, so long as they get permission to do so.
CHSAA's Legislative Council voted to pass a proposal that permits teams and individuals to do so at these types of competitions "outside of the competitive sports season," so long as they have "written permission from the school's principal and the CHSAA office."
"The deletion of restrictive language now allows our schools and their administrations to determine that representation," said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. "It's up to the schools."
Previously, teams and individuals could not be affiliated with their school at national competitions. Often times, these teams formed a club, but brought the same rosters and coaches.
For example, last month, players and coaches from Monarch, Regis Jesuit and Valor Christian each took part in the USA Hockey nationals, but represented club teams. There is also an annual national cross country competition which is well-attended by Colorado athletes, as well as national competitions in other sports, such as spirit, wrestling, baseball and basketball.
So long as their involvement is approved by the school and the CHSAA office, these teams and individuals would now be permitted to represent their school.
It was just one of many changes during a packed agenda at the Legislative Council meeting. Included were changes to the transfer rule, classification creation, and a long discussion about the 800 medley relay in girls track.
"Today, and every Legislative Council meeting, allows the Association to define our course, address our concerns, enhance our policies, and lead on behalf of Colorado's activities," Blanford-Green said as she addressed the gathered body.
"To be sure, we will benchmark our path today," Blanford-Green added. "If nothing else, this agenda exemplifies our renewed focus on service, educational leadership, training and coach support, safety, and respect for the memberships voices."
In Blanford-Green's first year, CHSAA has decreased its expenses 5-8 percent, and she also has implemented a new portion of the Legislative Council meeting with graphs explaining the Association's finances.
"It was important to me in my first year to do the budget report and speak to the decrease in spending that has occurred," Blanford-Green said.
Sprint medley resonates with membership
Even with such hot-button topics as the transfer rule on the agenda, the longest-discussed proposal was one that surrounded the elimination of the 800 medley relay in girls track and field state championship meet. The event has two 100-meter legs, one 200, and one 400.
The track committee sought to get rid of the event at the state meet because it is an extra event that only the girls participate in; there is no boys 800 medley relay. Colorado is one of just two states that currently hold the event during its championships, with Iowa being the other.
Both sides of the issue spoke to pros and cons of its elimination. Ultimately, the Legislative Council voted to keep the event with a 47-18 margin.
"In terms of equity, this is an entrance point for female athletes," said Overland athletic director Ryan Knorr.
Added Karen Higel, the district athletic director at Denver Public Schools: "To eliminate opportunities in any way, shape or form for our girls is something that I don't see to be a good thing."
Additionally, proponents of keeping the medley relay spoke to the fact that it allows them to field a relay team when they otherwise don't have the capability.
"This is an outstanding event, especially for small schools," said Cheyenne Wells athletic director Mike Miller, "because we don't always have four quarter-milers or four sprinters, but we can put things together when we have maybe one or two here, another there."
- Roger Blake, the executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation state office, visited the Legislative Council to learn about Colorado's process and structure. "One of the reasons I really wanted to be here is that in Colorado, you have always been a leader," he told the group. "You've always been on the edge. You've always done things differently, looked outside the box: 'How can we fix this?' ... Some of the things you've done — in my state, we are so much alike in so many ways, and that's one of the reasons I really wanted to be here and watch your legislative body and see how you work through things."
- The Legislative Council voted to have one meeting per year, as opposed to the current two meetings. That meeting will likely be in April each year. In conjunction with that proposal, they also adopted a new schedule for how proposals will be submitted.
- Softball's increase to game limits passed, and teams will now be allowed to play a maximum of 23 games. This brings the sport in line with what was passed in baseball in January.
- 2A volleyball will move to the same regional format used in 3A-5A, meaning the league champions will automatically qualify, and the remaining field of 36 will be set by RPI. The top 12 seeds will host the regionals.
- The amendment to bring back 3A basketball's full consolation bracket was not seconded by anyone on the Legislative Council, so the current setup of only having a third-place game remains intact.
- The following new members to the CHSAA Board of Directors were approved: Luke DeWolfe, Steamboat Springs athletic director; Chase McBride, Niwot athletic director; Femi Alao, DSST-Green Valley Ranch athletic director; Don Steiner, Evangelical Christian athletic director.