WIAA proposes changes to Hermiston athletics

RENTON, Washington – Each year, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association considers proposed amendments for the upcoming year. Hermiston, playing in the Washington league, will be impacted by these changes. The proposed changes were submitted by member schools or the WIAA Executive Board over the last year.

The amendments will be discussed and finalized on January 25 during a meeting of the WIAA Representative Assembly. After finalization, the amendments will be posted on the WIAA website for public feedback before final voting between April 29 and May 7.

The majority of the amendments will impact the Bulldogs in some way or another.

Rule 17.5.1 adds flag football, 7-on-7 football and sand volleyball to the sports that are considered to be separate and distinct from interscholastic sports.

The proposed amendment adds the three sports to the existing rule governing slow pitch and fast pitch softball; interscholastic /collegiate/folk style, USA wrestling, freestyle wrestling, and Greco-Roman wrestling as separate and distinct sports.

The stated reasoning behind the addition of the sports is to add additional activities to students in the school system for sports usually run by outside groups at additional costs to the participants. A concern stated for the amendment is coaches feeling they need to participate during a time usually set aside for noncoaching.

Rule 18.11.5 states a student is not varsity eligible if they transfer to a school after participating on a non-school team if one or more of the high school coaches were involved, and/or after receiving instruction or training, including weight training and conditioning, from a person affiliated with another school to which the student transfers.

Under current rules, high school coaches acting as personal trainers, AAU coaches or 7-on-7 coaches are not allowed to coach their own athletes, but are allowed to coach student athletes from other schools. This has resulted in athletes transferring to schools of their off-season coaches or personal trainers. The problem is prevalent in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma and Vancouver where certain coaches acting as trainers encourage student athletes to transfer schools. A concern stated is how a school would track if an athlete worked with a coach/personal trainer prior to accepting the athlete transfer.

Rules 18.15.0 and 19.3.3 updates language in the WIAA handbook regarding appeals of eligibility regarding gender equity.

If a student athlete is declared ineligible on the basis of gender identity, the WIAA will facilitate a Eligibility Committee made up of a physician with experience in gender identity, a mental health professional familiar with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and a school official from a non-appealing school.

The WIAA has not updated policies related to gender identity for ten years. The proposed rules set forth the steps to be taken when gender identity becomes an issue.

Rule 18.20.1 will not effect Hermiston as deals with eighth grade students participating in activities at 1B and 2B schools.

Rule 18.23.1 changes the definition of “regular” from no more than once to no more than once per week.

Currently the rule statesschools may not give students special treatment or privileges on a regular basis to enable them to participate in non-school athletic activities. Some examples of special treatment or privileges include reduced practice times, special workouts, late arrivals, early dismissals or missing a practice or contest”, but does not specify what is “regular”. The definition of regular is now spelled out.

Rule 20.4.7 adds a minimum of one hour in coaches standards for student mental health and diversity, equity and inclusion education.

Currently, coaches are required to complete a minimum of five hours of training every three years. The proposal will add the following to the training:

Bullying, Hazing, Harassment; Social, Emotional strategies and procedures; Restorative Practices; Mental Health; Suicide Prevention; Anti-Racism; Discrimination in Sports/Examining implicit bias; Gender equity; LGBTQ and Gender Identity; Recognizing and eliminating barriers to participation; Supporting students from diverse backgrounds; Supporting students impacted by income disparities; Unified Sports/Including students with disabilities.

Rule 30.1.0 clarifies high school basketball teams may participate in 20 games or 19 games plus one tournament for a total of up to 23 games. A WIAA foundation game or game against an international touring team will not count toward this total.

With leagues expanding, teams are seeing less of schools outside league games. This is especially true around the holiday season as numerous schools host Christmas tournaments. Currently, bowling, golf, volleyball and tennis are allowed to attend tournaments with these counting as one event, not multiple as is now happening in basketball. The new rule would count a tournament as one contest provided no more than four games are played during the course of the tournament.

Rules 35.1.1 and 35.2.0 eliminates the restriction of 20 days of coaching summer football.

The rules cleans up some language and aligns football with allowable practices provided other sports.

Rule 44.4.7 states a two-day wrestling tournament consisting of brackets larger than 16 individuals will count as one of the 16 allowed team dates.

              The rule clarifies language while limiting an individual to the daily match limitations.