Southwestern League’s proposals passed by CHSAA Board of Control

The Southwestern League went three for three Thursday at the Colorado High School Activities Association Board of Control meeting, with all three proposals passing.

“It’s a really good feeling because we often don’t get things passed because of our proximity,” said Greg King, Grand Junction High School’s athletic director and a member of the Board of Control. “But the thing about these three was they were no-brainers.”

The SWL’s biggest achievement was passing a rule that allows schools to use helmets during 7 on 7 competitions and camps.

The SWL’s proposal directly followed a proposal by the Jefferson County League that allowed the issuing of helmets for 7 on 7 competitions and camps in addition to drills teaching proper blocking technique with no player-to-player contact.

The Jeffco proposal failed 36-31, and King said the difference between the two rules was who controlled the issuing of the equipment.

“Right before ours was the proposal by the Jeffco League, they wanted it for individual camps as well, but there was no control,” King said. “Ours spoke only on 7 on 7 and you have to get the approval of the school district first. Theirs narrowly lost, and ours narrowly won.”

King said he felt the rule was important with the shift in football at all levels to make the game safer.

“It’s a good thing, especially with the discussions about concussions,” King said. “This will help.”

Former Fruita Monument High School football coach Bill Moore applauded CHSAA for passing the helmet rule.

“Today is a great day for high school football,” Moore said. “I’ve been working on this proposal for six to eight years.”

Moore has championed the use of helmets in 7-on-7 drills since former Fruita student-athlete Michael Claffey sustained permanent hearing loss in one ear after a collision in a 7-on-7 drill.

“He collided with one of our other players,” Moore said. “He was knocked out for four or five minutes. It was scary. This might be the greatest rule change in the last 20 years.”

The SWL’s other two proposals involved moving its Executive Committee District from District 8 to District 1 to work with the Western Slope, as well as a proposal in golf that keeps SWL teams in Grand Junction when a regional is played locally. Both were approved.

A few items passed that King said could affect the District 51 high schools. The biggest was in the Class 5A football playoffs, where the higher-seed will be the home team from the quarterfinals through the finals. This replaces the current system that has the team with the fewest home games getting to host.

“There’s a possibility that some of us will never host a game,” King said. “In April, we are going to look to make an amendment to that, which says if the lower seed beats the higher seed, they take over that position for the next round.”

Another hot topic issue that passed was a proposal to modify the Sunday contact rule. The rule passed 47-20 to allow coaches and players to have contact for voluntary social, academic or service-related activities. Schools still cannot have practices or play games on Sundays.

“That surprised me,” King said. “This one might be a good situation, but the problem we have now is what’s next on the budget for Sunday contact.”

Also at the meeting, the Central High School wrestling program was removed from restriction and placed on one-year probation for allowing an eighth-grade student to practice with the high school team last month, a violation of CHSAA rules.

Central reported the incident and put a self-imposed suspension on coach Laurence Gurule for 20 percent of the season. Gurule was not allowed to coach the team for the first tournament and a portion of the second tournament this season.

The probation will not affect the Warriors from competing in the Class 5A regional or state tournaments next month.

The Board of Control meets again in April.


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