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MPSSAA proposes earlier start for fall sports practice

March 13, 2013

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association is proposing to its Board of Control this Saturday that fall sports teams be allowed to start practice three days earlier this year, the association’s executive director said Wednesday.

The recommendation is in response to concerns about lost practice time due to new heat acclimatization regulations that took effect last year, Executive Director Ned Sparks said.

If the Board of Control approves the recommendation, there are more steps the proposed change would need to go through, Sparks said. Those include a vote by the Maryland State Board of Education, which Sparks said could be taken in July.

Washington County Board of Education member Wayne Ridenour testified at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Feb. 20 in support of a bill that would allow a county board of education to begin the fall high school sports practice season two weeks earlier then the date set by the athletic association.

The new heat acclimatization regulation delays full-contact football practice until the sixth day of practice.

Ridenour has expressed concern the delay could mean athletes aren’t properly prepared to compete safely when the season begins.

— Julie E. Greene

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