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Washington County school board member testifies about school sports practice bill

February 20, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — A bill that seeks to allow a county board of education to begin fall high school sports practice season two weeks earlier than the date set by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association was discussed before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

Wayne Ridenour, a Washington County school board member, testified at the hearing.

“What we are looking for is just an opportunity for flexibility so that we can work with our coaches … and allow them an opportunity to make a decision on the amount of time they need to properly prepare our kids to compete and be safe,” Ridenour said later.

He said that the issue was especially important when it comes to collision sports such as football and soccer.

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, said at the hearing that each county would have a choice on whether to begin its fall sports season practice early, if the bill passes.

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The bill received unanimous support from the Washington County legislators at an earlier delegation meeting that was attended by Washington County Board of Education President Justin Hartings and Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox.

Hartings said at that meeting that coaches were worried whether players have received enough training when it came to playing out-of-state teams early in the season.

According to current MPSSAA rules, the first day of fall sports practice is set as the sixth Saturday following the first full week of July. Teams have up to 20 days to practice before their first regular-season contest.

A state heat-acclimatization law now delays full contact football practice until the sixth day of practice.

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