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Tom Mix, Published April 22 2013

Extension of spring sports season to be discussed at today’s NDHSAA Board of Directors meeting

FARGO – A delayed start to outdoor high school sports has the North Dakota High School Activities Association considering a request today to move the state tournaments back by as many as two weeks, but that is something NDHSAA Executive Secretary Sherm Sylling doesn’t see happening.

“I think it’s a knee-jerk reaction,” Sylling said of the request. “We have never had to face this before in my 15 years. We haven’t had an ideal spring, but anytime you have a knee-jerk reaction to something like this, it affects more people than you think.”

The spring sports issue is an agenda item at today’s NDHSAA Board of Directors meeting in Valley City.

The board can either table the request or it can choose to amend its approved state tournament schedule, which would be – like the weather this spring – unprecedented.

On April 12, West Fargo High School activities director Curt Jones urged the NDHSAA Board of Directors to consider moving the dates back, citing athlete safety as the major concern to the abbreviated regular season.

Since the request has been filed, the NDHSAA has received several calls and correspondence with its member schools.

Sylling said a NDHSAA staff member sat in on an athletic directors meeting attended by 20 schools from the southwest region of the state and the consensus was in favor of leaving the tournament schedule in place.

“We have had quite a few responses from our member schools and in communicating with them. We have mostly heard to leave them alone,” said Sylling. “Knowing what I know, I would have a hard time supporting it at this time. There are so many things that have been scheduled accordingly.”

The NDHSAA has also fielded feedback from independent summer activities like American Legion baseball, Future Farmers of America and youth soccer. A move to extend the spring sports season would impact schedules built around the state tournaments which currently span from May 23 to June 5.

Financial factors also make any change this late in the year a tough sell. One financial issue is if the spring sports season is extended, would the contracts of coaches need to be extended as well? The contracts for all coaches within Fargo Public Schools are based on a determined amount of weeks beginning with the start of practice to the state tournament.

“That is one piece to all this, but there are certainly a lot more than just that,” said Fargo Davies assistant principal and activities director Lenny Ohlhauser.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562