NFHS reports National Participation has 1st decline since 1988-89
MONTGOMERY – Participation in high school sports declined in 2018-19 for the first time in 30 years, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). However, participation in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) rose by 1.7% in 2018-19 over the previous year’s totals.
The AHSAA saw a total of 146,446 students participating on team rosters in 2018-19, an increase of 2,489 student-athletes over the 143,957 reported in 2017-18. The leader was football, which saw a 4.8% rise from (30,882 in 2017-18 to 32,366 in 2018-19 – up 1,484 students. The biggest sports percentage participation increase was reported in girls’ soccer, which rose from 5,021 to 5,434 over the two-year period, a change of 413 student-athletes and an 8.2% increase.
The NFHS, which gathers data from all 51 state associations, which includes the District of Columbia, showed the 2018-19 total of 7,937,491 participants is a decline of 43,395 from the 2017-18 school year when the number of participants in high school sports reached an all-time record high of 7,980,886. The latest year’s data was still the third-highest ever and consisted of 4,534,758 boys and 3,402,733 girls, according to the figures obtained. The last decline in sports participation numbers occurred during the 1988-89 school year.
“The AHSAA’s increase in participation is a credit to our coaches and administrators for providing an environment conducive to educational athletics resulting in programs where parents want their children involved,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are proud of our schools and believe in our mission.”
The AHSAA’s totals for 2018-19 showed 89,626 boys’ participants and 56,820 girls’ participants, up 0.6% and 3.6%, respectively, from 2017-18. Sports with the highest participation in the AHSAA were: 1. Football (32,366); 2. Baseball (14,100); 3. Boys’ Basketball (13,648); 4. Volleyball (10,310); 5. Softball (9,752); 6. Girls’ Basketball (8,559); 7. Boys’ Outdoor Track (8,317); 8. Cheer (7,885); 9. Boys’ Soccer (6,916); 10. Girls’ Outdoor Track (5,962).
The top gain in AHSAA boys’ sports came in wrestling, where 167 more student-athletes participated for an increase of 5.7%. Cheer, which instituted regional competition for the first time in 2018-19, saw a 7.9% rise with 574 more students participating. Boys’ soccer showed a 5.0% increase and girls’ indoor track had a 6.1% increase. Only two sports showed a decrease, baseball and boys’ tennis. Baseball, which ranked second in participation in both years, had a 712-student decrease resulting in a 11.4% drop in participation. Boys’ tennis saw a 3.5% decrease in numbers from 1,559 to 1,504.
“We know from recent surveys that the number of kids involved in youth sports has been declining, and a decline in the number of public school students has been predicted for a number of years, so we knew our ‘streak’ might end someday,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director addressing the national decline. “The data from this year’s survey serves as a reminder that we have to work even harder in the coming years to involve more students in these vital programs – not only athletics but performing arts programs as well.”
The biggest contributors to the decline were the two longstanding and popular sports of football and basketball. Participation in boys’ 11-player football declined by 30,829 participants to 1,006,013 – the lowest mark since 1,002,734 in the 1999-2000 school year.
Although the actual number of participants in boys’ 11-player football dropped for the fifth consecutive year nationally, the number of schools offering the sport remained steady. The survey indicated that 14,247 schools offer 11-player football – an increase of 168 from last year. A comparison of the figures from the past two years indicates that the average number of boys involved in 11-player football on a per-school basis dropped from 73 to 70, which would include freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams.
While participation in boys’ 11-player football dropped in all but seven states, participation in 6-player, 8-player and 9-player gained 156 schools and 1,594 participants nationwide, with the largest increase in boys’ 8-player football from 19,554 to 20,954. In addition, in the past 10 years, participation by girls in 11-player football has doubled – from 1,249 in the 2009-10 school year to 2,404 last year.
“The survey certainly confirms that schools are not dropping the sport of football, which is great news,” Niehoff said. “Certainly, we are concerned about the reduction in the number of boys involved in the 11-player game but are thrilled that states are finding other options by starting 6-player or 8-player football in situations where the numbers have declined.
“While we recognize that the decline in football participation is due, in part, to concerns about the risk of injury, we continue to work with our member state associations, the nation’s high schools and other groups to make the sport as safe as possible. Every state has enacted rules that limit the amount of contact before the season and during practices, and every state has concussion protocols and laws in place, so we continue to believe that the sport is as safe as it has ever been.
“We also are working with groups such as USA Football to reduce contact and teach proper tackling skills at the youth levels to increase the interest level as kids reach junior high school and high school.”
The NFHS survey showed that combined basketball participation was down 23,944 (13,340 girls and 10,604 boys), and the girls basketball total of 399,067 is the lowest since the 1992-93 school year. However, the decrease in girls’ basketball participation from 430,368 in 2016-17 to 399,067 in 2018-19 is largely attributable to a 25,000 drop in Texas during that two-year period. Dismissing the Texas numbers, girls’ basketball numbers have been steady in the range of 430,000 for the past seven years.
AHSAA basketball participation rose 1.1% from 13,386 to 13,532 for boy’ basketball and girls’ basketball rose 2.2% from 8,314 to 8,494.
Four of the top 10 boys’ sports registered increases in participation the NFHS survey reported, topped by track and field with an additional 5,257 participants. Other top 10 boys’ sports that added participants last year were soccer (2,715), wrestling (1,877) and tennis (1,163). Among girls’ top 10 sports, volleyball was the front-runner with an additional 6,225 participants, followed by soccer (3,623) and lacrosse (3,164).
The most significant increases from last year were registered in the adapted and Unified sports programs. The various adapted sports sponsored by schools across the country gained 4,102 participants, while Unified sports participation increased 2,938.
With 1,006,013 participants, 11-player football remains the No. 1 participatory sport for boys in high school by a large margin. Outdoor track and field is No. 2 with 605,354 participants, followed by basketball (540,769), baseball (482,740), soccer (459,077), cross country (269,295), wrestling (247,441), tennis (159,314), golf (143,200) and swimming/diving (136,638).
Outdoor track and field continues to lead the way for girls with 488,267 participants, followed by volleyball (452,808), basketball (399,067), soccer (394,105), fast-pitch softball (362,038), cross country (219,345), tennis (189,436), swimming/diving (173,088), competitive spirit (161,358) and lacrosse (99,750).
While some of the traditional sports such as football, basketball and baseball have remained steady and/or experienced slight declines in the past seven years, other sports have registered significant gains since 2012. Girls’ and boys’ soccer gained 70,668 participants since 2012 (a nine percent increase) and now has a combined 853,182 participants nationwide.
The top 10 states by participants remained the same in 2018-19. Texas and California topped the list again with 825,924 and 824,709 participants, respectively, followed by New York (369,266), Ohio (339,158), Illinois (333,838), Pennsylvania (316,429), Florida (308,173), Michigan (292,947), New Jersey (281,058) and Minnesota (240,487). Only Texas, California and Minnesota reported higher figures than the previous year.
The participation survey has been compiled in its current form by the NFHS since 1971 through numbers it receives from its member state associations. The complete 2018-19 High School Athletics Participation Survey is available via the following link:
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AHSAA Media Contact: Ron Ingram, 334-263-6994
AHSAA Director of Communications
NFHS MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Howard, 317-972-6900
Director of Publications and Communications
National Federation of State High School Associations
Chris Boone, 317-972-6900
Assistant Director of Publications and Communications
25% of Calls Challenged Were Reversed in First year
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Instant Replay program designed and administered by DVSport concluded its first season last year with 23 calls reversed from 96 challenges.
The AHSAA Instant Replay will be at nine games this week to the start of the 2019 season. Among them are both contests set for the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. DVSport will be on hand for tonight’s Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgomery game which kicks off the Kickoff Classic at 7 p.m. Hoover will play Central-Phenix City Friday night at Cramton Bowl in the second game of the Kickoff Classic. Thar game begins at 7 p.m., as well. Both will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network by WOTM/Broadway Communications and live-streamed over the NFHS Network, which now manages the AHSAA TV Network.
WOTM will provide the video replay feed for both games.
“This will be similar to what we were able to do at last year’s Super 7 State Football Championships,” said AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones. “Twelve challenges were made by teams in the seven championship games with four calls overturned and one other reversal was administered based on an automatic review of a scoring play for a 38.5% reversal rate. All scoring plays and potential scoring plays were reviewed automatically by the reviewed in the championship games.”
For the year, DVSport Instant Replay was utilized by 96 different schools in 103 games for a total of 203 opportunities. The final tally showed 96 challenges and 23 calls on the field overturned – a percentage of 25.0%.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese and AHSAA former Director of Officials Greg Brewer began working on implement ting Instant Replay in 2013 – when NFHS rules changed to allow the technology on the sideline for the coaches. The National Federation State High School Associations (NFHS) granted permission to the AHSAA to experiment with instant replay for a beginning with the 2018 season. The AHSAA, thanks in big part to the leadership of current Director of Officials Mark Jones, partnered with DVSport in 2018 to implement instant replay in the regular season as well as post season play. DVSport equipment is required in Alabama for instant replay.
“Our first year of the experiment exceeded our expectations,” Jones said. “It was demonstrated that instant replay can work with the limited camera angles we have available. Most games usually two camera angles: one from the sideline (press box) and the other from the end zone.”
Jones said that during the state championships, the AHSAA was able to utilize the same equipment used by Auburn University during its home games. That equipment is also provided by DVSports. That allowed a review of all scoring or potential scoring plays from the booth without requiring a challenge by either coach.
In addition to the Jeff Davis-Carver game, the Sidney Lanier at Baker and Callaway (GA) at Opelika contests will also be utilizing the DVSport Instant Replay tonight.
The complete slate of games scheduled to for DVSport Instant Replay this weekend include:
Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgoemry, Kickoff Classic, Cramton Bowl.
Sidney Lanier at Baker, Mobile
Callaway (GA) at Opelika
Hoover vs. Central-Phenix City, Kickoff Classic, Cramton Bowl.
Wilcox Central at Auburn
Hartselle at Austin
Carbon Hill at Good Hope
LaFayette at Handley
Munford at Oxford
Dothan vs. Clay-Chalkville, at Thompson HS, 3 p.m.
Davidson at Thompson, 7 p.m.
MONTGOMERY – Four high schools, including two teams ranked in the Sporting News National Top 25 pre-season rankings and two teams that make up one of Alabama’s biggest high school rivalries, will officially kick off the 2019 high school football season Thursday and Friday at Cramton Bowl in the 2019 AHSAA Kickoff Classic hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
The head coaches and selected players gathered at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Tuesday for the Kickoff Classic press conference. Media on hand came in early for the annual AHSAA Media Day. The two events were broadcast live by WOTM over its new AHSAA TV Network or cable affiliates and live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Jeff Davis and Carver-Montgomery will play Thursday night in game one at Cramton Bowl at 7 p.m., in the 51st contest of a city rivalry that dates back to 1970. Defending Class 7A state champion Central-Tuscaloosa and Hoover, winners of six state championships since 2008 including the 7A crowns in 2016 and 17, meet Friday night in the second game of the Football Classic. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Both games will be televised live over the AHSAA TV Network – thanks to a new TV pact announced at Tuesday’s Media Day between the AHSAA, the NFHS Network and WOTM/Broadway Communications. The games will be shown over a network pf cable affiliates and live-streamed over the subscriber-based NFHS Network.
The Vols of Coach Lee Carter and Wolverines of Coach James Thompson have opened the season with each other most years. Jeff Davis holds a 36-14 edge in the series after opening with 18 straight wins from 1970 to 1988. Since then, the Vols have held a slim 18-14 edge with Carver winning 10 of the last 13 games. Carver finished last season 8-3 in Thompson’s first season as head coach. Jeff Davis was 3-7 but won its last two games – a positive finish heading into the off-season.
Central and Hoover have played twice, including meeting in the 2016 Champions Challenge – the previous name of the Kickoff Classic. The Bucs won that contest 23-7 and hold a 2-0 edge in the series. However, Central is coming off a perfect 14-0 season and a dominating playoff run that included two shutout wins and culminated with a 52-7 thrashing of highly touted Thompson in the finals. The Warriors opened the 2018 season beating James Clemens 38-7 in last year’s Champions Challenge at Cramton Bowl.
Their dominance caught Hoover Coach Josh Niblett’s attention. “There’s got to be a greater cause when you are out there working every day in 95 to 96-degree weather. You’ve got to be working for something greater than yourself,” Niblett said. “When you open with the defending 7A state champions you get our oil checked pretty fast.”
Central Coach Jamey DuBose said his team is honored to play a program with the reputation of Hoover. “What Coach Niblett and his program and teams have has accomplished is just unbelievable,” he said. “You can talk about defending champs, and such, but we have a motto around out place about putting the rings away. It’s not about what you have done in the past but what you are going to do. This is a different team but they have the same dream. You have got to play the best if you are ever going to be the best.”
The media also heard from coaches from other fall sports including cross country coach Luke Robinson of Scottsboro High School, volleyball coach Elissa Morris of Brewbaker Tech High School, swimming coach Anthony Norris of LAMP High School, football coach Don Moore of Dale County High School and football coach Shawn Raney of Spain Park High School. Raney was introduced as the 2019 Alabama All-Star head coach for next December’s 33rd Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Moore explained the importance of having an emergency action plan in place and being prepared to put into action. He and his coaching staff did just that on August 6 when one of the Warriors’ players had a cardiac arrest and the coaches’ quick actions revived him and saved his life. “That young man was back at practice last Wednesday,” said Brooks. “Having him return to watch us practice really put what’s really important into perspective.”
MONTGOMERY – Spain Park High School head football coach Shawn Raney will be the head coach for the Alabama All-Star football squad for the 33st annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game next December. The game will be played at Hattiesburg (MS) on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday, December, 14.
Jamie Lee, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) made the announcement at the 2019 Kickoff Classic press conference Thursday at the AHSAA office. The AHSADCA, in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) administers the all-star game each year.
Alabama lost to Mississippi 24-20 last year at Cramton Bowl but still holds a 22-10 edge in the series heading into this year’s game.
The head football coach at Spain Park High School for the last six years, Raney has compiled a 44-23 record with the Jaguars. He guided Spain Park to the 2015 Class 7A state finals before falling to McGill-Toolen 14-12. His team won the Region 3 title in 2015 a 7-0 record. As an assistant coach, Raney served as defensive coordinator for three years at Hoover, helping the Bucs win the 6A state title in 2012. Hoover reached the state finals in 2011 and 2010 finishing as state runner-up.
“I am excited and humbled to be selected to serve as head coach of the Alabama all-stars,” said Raney, who served as defensive coordinator on the 2018 Alabama All-Star coaching staff. “Not growing up in Alabama, I was truly humbled when I was asked to coach in the game for the first time in 2013, and even more humbled when Coach (Josh) Niblett asked me to be his defensive coordinator in the game last year. But to be chosen as the head coach is even more humbling.”
Alabama lost 42-7 in Hattiesburg in 2017 and Alabama won 25-14 at Cramton Bowl in 2016. The annual game, which pits the top high school senior players from Alabama and Mississippi, has been played yearly since 1988. Mississippi has won both games played in Mississippi (2015 and 2017). Alabama has a 22-8 edge in all games played in Alabama. Hoover High School’s Josh Niblett was Alabama head coach in 2018.
“Coach Raney is one of our state’s most outstanding high school head coaches,” said Lee. “The rest of the staff is also outstanding. They are already working hard on the player selection process.”
Lee also announced the coaches selected to complete the Alabama All-Star staff. Assistant coaches include Jamey DuBose, Central-Phenix City; Darrell Higgins, Mars Hill Bible; Ben Berguson, Homewood; Jon Clements, Corner; Adrian Abrams, Minor; Doug Vickery, Flomaton; Tim Vakakes, Jackson-Olin; and Brian Maner (scout coach), Spain Park.
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama holds a 22-10 lead.
MONTGOMERY -- Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese announced a three-year television agreement with PlayOn Sports (POS) / NFHS Network (NFHSN) at the AHSAA’s annual Media Day and Kickoff Classic press conference held at the AHSAA office Tuesday.
PlayOn Sports will work with WOTM/Broadway Communications/Alabama Cable Network (ACN) and their cable television affiliations across the state for finals TV carriage to compliment the exclusive digital coverage on the NFHS Network (NFHSN) digital OTT platform.
WOTM will be producing both games in the Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl August 22-23 as part of that agreement. WOTM will provide the live digital streaming to the subscriber-based NFHS Network and will provide live television coverage over many of the state’s cable network carriers – including major affiliates Charter, Comcast, Cable One, ATT U-verse and Anniston/Oxford area, TV affiliate WEAC TV 24. In Montgomery, the games will be shown on Charter Cable’s channel 80 (ACN). WOTM broadcast live the AHSAA Media Day and Kickoff Classic press conference Tuesday.
In addition to the Kickoff Classic’s Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgomery game Thursday night and the Central-Phenix City vs. Hoover game set for Friday night, WOTM will also produce the AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships, the AHSAA State Basketball Finals, the AHSAA Game of the Week each Thursday during the regular season and the AHSAA Playoff Game of the Week during the four playoff rounds leading up to finals.
WOTM will also produce for the AHSAA TV Network the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game; Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Games; the AHSAA State Softball and Baseball Finals; and the State Cheerleading Finals. The Network will also produce a weekly “Inside the AHSAA’’ 30-minute TV program to be shown over its network of cable stations and the NFHS Network beginning in September.
The agreement solidifies the AHSAA broadcast package that includes the digital live-streaming partnership with PlayOn! Sports and the NFHS TV Network. The Network has been streaming AHSAA Tier 2 events as well as the Tier 1 Super 7 football championships and AHSAA State Basketball semifinals and finals.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with PlayOn Sports, the NFHS Network and WOTM,” said Savarese. “This partnership is important to us and will take us into the next decade with one of the best broadcast packages anywhere. WOTM and (ACN) in Alabama is included on many of the state’s cable affiliates and covers much of the state. The NFHS Network will continue to provide outstanding programming via live-streaming. This partnership will no doubt provide enormous exposure of AHSAA championship events for our member schools and help promote our message of education-based athletics.”
WOTM/Broadway Communications president Vincent Earley said the company is proud of its relationship with the AHSAA.
“We are an Alabama company and look forward to working hand-in-hand with the AHSAA and PlayOn Sports/NFHS Network to bring such outstanding sports events to viewers,” Earley said.
“We believe in the AHSAA mission and purpose and we believe in the young men and women in Alabama’s high schools who are working daily to make themselves better students and better athletes. We are also looking forward to recognizing the administrators, teachers, coaches and communities that are making such a positive difference in the lives of these students. We look forward to working with the AHSAA and NFHS Network in building a relationship that will benefit our schools and citizens.”
The AHSAA has been a member of the NFHS Network since 2013. More than 100 member schools are part of the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program.
WOTM’s network of cable affiliates for the Kickoff Classic is detailed in the accompanying chart.
MIDLAND CITY -- The preparedness of Dale County High School head football coach Don Moore and his football coaching staff and their quick action in implementing the school’s emergency action plan saved a student-athlete’s life Tuesday morning, said Dale County High School Superintendent of Schools Ben Baker Tuesday afternoon.
Baker said he is so thankful for all the training concerning health and safety provided by the AHSAA for its member schools and is thankful that schools are required to have emergency action plans in place. He is even more thankful that his football coaching staff paid attention in those professional development training sessions and had practiced their emergency action plan often.
Baker described what took place.
“This morning about approximately 7:15 a.m., they had just gotten started about 10 minutes earlier, the team was doing some defensive drills, running some patterns, when a 15-year old student-athlete collapsed,” Baker said. “It was a cardiac arrest. The coaches immediately implemented their emergency action plan, each knowing their responsibilities. The coach responsible for dialing 911 did that. The coach responsible for administering CPR immediately started CPR. The coach responsible for getting the Automated External Defibrillator ran and got the AED. The coach responsible for going out to the road to meet the ambulance did that.
“The coaches continued administering CPR until the AED arrived. They then shocked the child, then shocked him again. On the second shock from the AED, the child began to gasp for breath and got back in rhythm.”
He said the ambulance arrived and the paramedics took the child to Flowers Hospital in Dothan. He was later flown to UAB as a precaution and to try and figure out what happened. The student-athlete’s named had not been released late Tuesday afternoon.
“The young man is not out of the woods, so we want to keep him and his family in our prayers and definitely want to take care of their needs, but I am so proud of the coaching staff at Dale County High School. The big story first and foremost is that the child is alive. But it is important to point out that the emergency action plan the AHSAA mandates and we do as a local school system works. We train and prepare and we train and prepare, but today we implemented it and because those coaches were trained and prepared, they saved the life of a child. “
He also praised the ability of the coaching staff to remain calm in the emergency situation. “Because they didn’t panic, they were able to do what they have been trained to do.”
Baker urges other schools across the state and nation to take note about just how vital having a plan in place, having an AED available and having the staff trained can be to the survival.
“I know that schools may not have AEDs, but they need to get them regardless of the cost. They need to find a way,” Baker said. “And they need them where they can get to them quickly. You’ve got to have one at the field house, one at the gym, one at the field, and one at the baseball stadium … regardless of the cost.”
He said Dale County Schools implemented a plan a few years go to put AEDs in the schools like fire extinguishers.
“We put them on the walls all over our campuses. We’re not satisfied with just one in the nurse’s station. We want them at all facilities because it proved today that it can save a life. I know it is expensive but a child’s life is worth every dime. The physician told us without the AED and CPR, the chances of survival were unlikely. However, each coach knew what they were supposed to do and they did it. Why? Because they practiced it.”
Hours later, Baker was still praising his coaches’ alert actions. Ironically, the school system had already had a professional development time planned for Tuesday.
“We just finished that professional development where we met with our local physician and met with Encore, which provides our local trainers,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “Coach Don Moore and staff were there. I gave them the opportunity to speak and of course they were choked up because the ordeal was very emotional. Coach Moore is a great leader of men. He praised the actions of all his coaches. They were prepared, they had a plan, they implemented that plan.”
He reiterated that people need to hear this story because the coaches in Alabama and all across the nation need to understand it could happen to them at them.
“We want to get that message out not just to celebrate that the child is okay, but to let everybody know that you better have a plan, and you better be ready to execute it. You can’t just have a plan on paper. A plan on a shelf is useless. You’ve got to practice it,” he said.
“We are also so thankful for our partnership with Encore because they have helped us with that. Just this week and the latter part of last week we put coaches on buses and went to our different venues and practiced our plan. We knew this day may be coming and we are just so thankful our coaches were ready … and a life was saved.”
Member School Dues also Waved for 28th Straight Year
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved returning a record $2 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan and also voted to waive school membership dues once again – an immediate savings of approximately $84,000 for member schools.
The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
The Revenue Sharing Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, has returned
$15.8 million to its member schools since 2010. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year’s working capital in reserve.
“This is outstanding news for our member schools,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are very grateful to our corporate partners and championship communities for investing in our member schools.”
In keeping with the tradition started by the Central Board in the 1991-92 school year, membership dues to all member schools were waived for 28th consecutive year.
Waiving the dues results in a savings of approximately $84,000 for the AHSAA’s 416 high schools and 336 middle/junior high schools. Member schools have had a savings of approximately $2.2 million during the entire span since 1991-92. Member schools also derived a savings in excess of $100,000 since no entry fees are levied for state championships in any sport.
The board voted to return $1 from each playoff ticket through revenue sharing to member schools to help offset the rising cost of game expenses beginning with the 2019-20 school year. The amount totaled approximately $341,000 in 2018-19.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese presented to retiring Central Board member Richard Brown a plaque of appreciation and watch for his long-standing service on the Board. Brown, who is retiring after 50 years in public school education, has served on the Central Board for eight years and on the District 4 Legislative Council for 17 years.
New Central Board members Kim Kiel, Athletic Director at Pelham High School (District 5), and Jamie Chapman, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools (District 7), were sworn into office by AHSAA Associate Executive Director Alvin Briggs. Opelika High School principal Dr. Farrell Seymore, who is replacing Mr. Brown on the Central Board from District 4 beginning in 2019-20, was in attendance and will be sworn in at the October meeting.
The Central Board reviewed and approved 2018-19 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and 2018-19 AHSAA Sports Book.
AHSAA legal counsel Mark Bain updated the Board on legal issues.
In highlights of other Central Board action:
-- Approved changing the penalty for the 50% Rule violation to restitution and fine on the first offense and suspension for the season on the second offense.
– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.
– Approved drafts of the 2019-20 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2018-19 audits for each group.
-- Approved a modification of the Competitive Balance formula recommended by the AHSAA Classification Task Force to classify member private school athletic teams using the most current two years of data in a classification period instead of three years of data.
-- Approved recommendations by the Cross Country, Cheerleading, Tennis, Golf, Soccer, Outdoor and Indoor Track, Softball and Baseball Coaches Committees concerning their sports.
-- Was updated about catastrophic insurance and approved AHSAA insurance coverages.
-- Approved an increase for delayed video broadcast rights fees for state playoff events from $400 to $500 per contest.
-- Approved a new digital publication plan beginning in 2019-20 and approved a new text system for accessing AHSAA By-Laws and Sports Rules.
-- Approved a new Coaching Card and Special Pass process.
-- Approved the formation of a special committee to discuss the Transfer Rule.
MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals were recognized Friday night at the AHSAA’s 23rd annual AHSAA Championship Coaches’ Awards Banquet as recipients of the prestigious “Making A Difference” Award as the 2019 AHSAA Summer Conference concluded at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The week-long conference, which attracted more than 4,500 administrators, coaches and other support personnel from AHSAA member schools to Montgomery, was hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). It included 16 North-South all-star competitions during the week – for the sports of baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, volleyball, football, and for the first time boys’ and girls’ tennis and golf. The North beat the South 27-14 in the 59th playing of the North-South football all-star game to close out all-star play Thursday night.
Secretary of State John Merrill was the keynote speaker at Friday’s awards banquet recognized 113 state championship coaches who led teams to state titles in the AHSAA’s championship programs in 2018-19 as well as honoring several others for outstanding service or accomplishment.
The highlight of Friday’s banquet was the “Making A Difference” Award, however, now in its ninth year. One AHSAA member school coach, administrator or contributor was honored in each classification for their contributions to their schools and communities that help change lives in daily in a positive way.
The recipients were: retiring principal John Hardin, Hackleburg High School (1A); special education coordinator, volleyball and girls’ basketball coach Lisa Bates of Sand Rock High School (2A); principal Willie Wright of Pike County High School (3A); softball coach Chris Goodman of Alabama Christian Academy (4A); assistant football coach Rush Holcomb of Hamilton High School (5A); Opelika legendary radio personality and long-time “Voice of the Bulldogs” D. Mark Mitchell (6A); retiring Jefferson County Schools Athletic Director Ken Storie (7A).
Several other special awards were presented including the NFHS Section III “Spirit of Sport” Award recipient Zoe Portis, who graduated from Trinity Presbyterian School in the spring of 2018; NFHS National Cheer Coach of the Year Sandra Seals of Winfield High School; and Section III Coaches of the Year Chad McKnight, Samson High School (girls’ basketball); Shawn Weltzin, Thompson High School (wrestling); and Seals (cheer).
Portis, who was the AHSAA Bryant-Jordan Class 4A Student Achievement winner in 2018, went from being an orphan in Africa to becoming an honor student at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery after she was adopted by the Portis family when she was a small child. Her story of perseverance, faith and character has been an inspiration to the state and nation.
Heath Thrash of Fyffe High School was honored by the AHSADCA as the AHSAA 2019 Athletic Director of the Year.
Other special awards included:
NFHS State Coaches of the Year: Twenty-two outstanding AHSAA coaches were selected 2018 NFHS state coach of the year in their respective sports: Zachary Blume, Southside-Gadsden (girls’ bowling); Brittney Carnell, Buckhorn (boys’ bowling); Matt Cimo, Auburn (baseball); Analyn Coker, Trinity Presbyterian (girls’ soccer); Jeff Dellinger, Auburn (girls’ swimming); Brandon Easterwood, Springville (softball); Arthur Fortin, Huntsville (boys’ swimming); Ashley Jackson, Fort Payne (girls’ cross country); Kevin Klein, Houston Academy (boys’ golf); Megan Liljenquist, Northridge (girls’ tennis); Christian Matthews, Jasper (boys’ tennis); Sean McBride, Homewood (boys’ soccer); Dave McConnell, Whitesburg Christian (girls’ track); Chad McKnight, Samson (girls’ basketball); Bucky McMillan, Mountain Brook (boys’ basketball); Stasha Morrison, Northside (girls’ golf); Benjamin Robinson, Scottsboro (track); Sandra Seals, Winfield (cheer); Clinton Smith, Hillcrest-Evergreen (football); Charles Tiller, American Christian (boys’ track); Whitney Welch, Alexandria (volleyball); and Shawn Weltzin, Thompson (wrestling).
Children Scholarship Recipients: Ten students, each a child of an AHSADCA member coach or administrator, also received the AHSADCA’s Coaches’ Children Scholarships. They were:
District 1: Sally Caroline Davis, Spanish Fort HS (daughter of Charles and Courtney Bishop).
District 2: Samantha Lee Adams, Carroll (daughter of Kirke and Angie Adams).
District 3: Allyn Browning, Saint James (daughter of Jerry and Suzy Browning).
District 4: Jack Edward Gant III, Tallassee HS (son of Eddie and Terina Gantt).
District 5: Caleb Austin Huber, Vestavia Hills HS (son of Brett and Patty Huber).
District 6: Preston Odom, Piedmont HS (son of Jonathan and Leah Odom).
District 6: Avery Bobbitt, Piedmont HS (daughter of Michael Bobbitt and Kelli Winkles).
District 7: Robert Mason Lambert, Haleyville HS (son of Andy and Amber Lambert).
District 7: Abram Peoples, Muscle Shoals HS (son of Scotty and Tonya Peoples).
District 8: Cassie Black, Geraldine HS (daughter of Cale and Ami Black).
Eight Schools Receive AHSAA Sportsmanship Grants: Eight of the 99 high schools that were recognized at Friday’s 11th annual AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon were recipients of a $1,000 AHSAA Sportsmanship Grant.
The recipients this year were: Williamson HS (District 1); McKenzie HS (District 2); Calhoun HS (District 3); Central Coosa HS (District 4); Woodlawn HS (District 5); Alabama School for the Blind (District 6); Colbert Heights HS (District 7); and Athens Bible School (District 8). The schools were selected from the 99 that completed the 2018-19 school fine and ejection free.
Eight Schools Receive FutureOnes $500 Grant:
In addition, new AHSAA Corporate Partner Future Ones, which specializes in sports uniforms and other cloth wear, presented eight $500 product gift certificates to eight schools as well. Those included: J.F. Shields HS (District 1); Abbeville HS (District 2); A.L. Johnson HS (District 3); Loachapoka HS (District 4); Parker HS (District 5); Ragland HS (District 6); Sheffield HS (District 7); and Valley Head HS (District 8).
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and MaxPreps, the online high school sports leader, have announced a three-year partnership agreement that will enable the AHSAA to provide a customized sports information platform for its member schools.
MaxPreps and the AHSAA will offer a publishing platform across desktop, tablet and mobile that will streamline the process of managing sports information from its member schools. The partnership enables all box score information published on MaxPreps.com to be automatically provided to the AHSAA for use in managing various initiatives.
“This partnership with MaxPreps will be a big plus for our member schools,” said Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the AHSAA. “The state-of-the art services they can provide our schools when integrated with C2C Schools will make MaxPreps the go-to source for high school sports statistics as well as information regarding the NFHS Network. We are very excited for our member schools.”
Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, the AHSAA will recommend that coaches use the MaxPreps platform to submit statistics after each game to accurately track team and student-athlete accomplishments and also to utilize the MaxPreps Teams app as a team communication tool.
“Alabama is one of the top states in the country for high school sports, and we are excited to partner with the AHSAA to share the accomplishments of its student-athletes nationally,” said Andy Beal, president and founder of MaxPreps. “At MaxPreps it has long been our goal to provide sports information from every team in America, and this brings us a step closer to it.”
MaxPreps.com is the nation's most visited site for high school sports coverage. MaxPreps has been on the prep sports scene since 2002 and has successfully partnered with 26 other high school state associations. MaxPreps also is an official partner of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NFHS Network.
MaxPreps is the leading online high school sports destination offering high school sports fans the most comprehensive coverage with the latest news, analysis, rankings and streaming content. MaxPreps aspires to cover every high school team, game and player by partnering with more than 100,000 coaches throughout the country. A unit of CBS Interactive and a CBSSports.com site, MaxPreps was founded in August 2002 and is headquartered in El Dorado Hills, Calif. For more information about MaxPreps and for the latest high school sports news, please visit www.maxpreps.com.
About the Alabama High School Athletic Association
The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions. Currently, there are 416 senior high members and 336 junior high and middle school members with more than 150,000 student-athletes participating in the program. Major aims of the AHSAA are to serve the needs of its member schools in conducting their interscholastic athletic programs with fairness with an emphasis placed on health and safety and sportsmanship and to assist member schools in reaching the educational objectives as established by their school systems.
MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for the baseball competition reported to Montgomery Monday and began preparations for Tuesday’s 23rd annual All-Star Week baseball doubleheader. The two teams will play game one at 4 p.m., Tuesday at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the AA Montgomery Biscuits, and game two will follow at approximately 6 p.m.
The North-South girls’ and boys’ basketball all-star games will also get underway Tuesday at the Oliver-Dunn Acadome on the campus of Alabama State University with the girls tipping off a 5 p.m., and the boys following at 7. The basketball squads conducted one practice Sunday and held two workouts Monday with a shoot-a-round planned for Tuesday.
Both all-star competitions will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network with Central-Phenix City High School’s NFHS Network School Broadcast Program producing the contests. Tim Loreman is the executive producer and Central students will handle the technical production along with other NFHS Network contributors. Handling the play-by-play for basketball will be long-time Wiregrass radio personality Gil Anthony of Dothan, who has broadcast sports and worked in radio for more than 50 years. Another Wiregrass radio personality, Eufaula’s Doug Applin, will handle the play-by-play for baseball and will also behind the mike for the softball competition set for Wednesday at Lagoon Park.
All-stars for soccer, volleyball and cross country will report Tuesday. Golf and tennis all-stars will report Wednesday. The North-South All-Star football squads reported Sunday and were still finalizing roster replacements Monday. The teams had one workout Sunday night and were put through two practice sessions Monday. Two more are scheduled for Tuesday. The NFHS Network will live-stream each all-star contest with cross country, tennis and golf highlights planned to be shown on a delayed basis. Go to www.nfhsnetwork.com for information on how to subscribe to the network.
The 23rd annual AHSAA Summer Conference also gets underway Tuesday with more than 4,000 coaches, administrators, contest officials and all-stars attending the Coaches School, all-star games and four banquets planned for the week, said Jamie Lee Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), which hosts All-Star Week and Summer Conference Coaching School.
The coaches for the North baseball squad are Jared Smith of Bob Jones, Matt Kennedy of Westbrook Christian and Keith Lucky of Saint James, the administrative coach. South coaches are Matt Whitten of Charles Henderson, Stephen Vogel of Montgomery Academy and Ken Whittle of Trinity Presbyterian, the administrative coach. The North holds a 23-12-1 edge in the series that was first played in 1997.
North administrative coach Brant Llewellyn said both North and South basketball squads had a good day Monday. “The players are getting along well and enjoy playing with each other,” he said. The North holds a 48-28 edge in the boys’ series dating back to 1953. This year’s team is strong at guard with Lindsay Lane’s Tommy Murr, a 6-foot-1 rising senior, needing just 346 points to become the AHSAA’s all-time scoring leader. He currently ranks third behind Parkway Christian’s Jeremy Monceaux, who had 4,555 points in four seasons at the Birmingham school from 1998-2002, and R.C. Hatch’s Frankie Sullivan, who scored 4,224 points from 2003-2008. Murr has 4,210 points since joining the varsity in 2014-15 as a seventh grader. He led the nation in scoring last season with 45.1 ppg in 32 games. The North also has Muscle Shoals 6-0 guard Mark Sears and 6-5 guard Colby Jones of Mountain Brook on the quad. Sylacauga 6-10 center Shannon Grant is the tallest player on the North squad, coached by McAdory’s James Poindexter and Florence’s Anthony Reid. Fairfield’s Reginald Perry and Oxford’s Zondrick Garrett stand 6-7.
Sidney Lanier 6-8 center Rongie Gordon is the South’s tallest player. Daphne’s Tereance Edwards-Fleming is 6-7. The South is coached by Jeffrey Pope of LeFlore and Jessie Foster of Dadeville. Nigel Card of Saint James is the administrative coach.
The North girls, coached by Southside-Gadsden’s Kim Nails and Lee-Huntsville’s Je’Taime Silas, hold a 19-3 edge in the series. This year’s team is a very tall squad anchored by 6-6 centers Hannah Edwards of Oak Mountain and Emily Bowman of Huntsville. The South, coached Dyneshia Smith of Charles Henderson and Rand Smith of Southside-Selma, list Troy 6-2 center Samira Moore as its tallest player.
Wednesday’s all-star slate includes boys’ and girls’ cross country at AUM at 7:30 a.m.; softball at Lagoon Park at 5 p.m.; and boys’ and girls’ soccer at Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex at 5 p.m. Thursday’s all-star schedule features boys’ and girls’ golf at 8:30 a.m., and boys’ and girls’ tennis at 10 a.m., both at Montgomery Country Club. The North-South volleyball match will be at the Cramton Bowl Multi-Plex at 4 p.m., and the football clash will close out the all-star competition at 7 p.m., at Cramton Bowl. AUM will house all all-star teams and coaches. All-star rosters, coaching staffs and team itineraries can be found at:
The Summer Conference includes coaching schools in the sports of baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball, track and field, wrestling and cheerleading. Several outstanding clinicians are set several outstanding college head coaches speaking at the basketball school. The annual FCA Luncheon on Thursday will feature former Dothan High School and University of Alabama quarterback Steadman Shealy as its keynote speaker. On Friday, 99 member schools will be recognized at the AHSAA Sportsmanship School luncheon at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center, and the Championship Coaches banquet at 6 p.m., Friday night will feature Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. Seven Making a Difference Award recipients will also be honored at that banquet.
The 2019 Summer Conference will close on Saturday with the AHSAA Officials luncheon at 11:30 a.m.
DOSS-BLACKMON TEAM WINS GOLF TOURNEY: Jy’Tu Blackmon of Headland High School and Christopher Doss of Verbena turned in a resounding 16-under 56 to win the AHSADCA Coaches’ best-ball golf tourney Monday at Lagoon Park. The pair edged out the team of Elba coaches Johnny Dyers and Mark Wicker by one stroke. Taking third place were Bubba Daniel of Valley and Adam Massey of Opelika. The duo combined to shoot a 58. They took third in a tie breaker over Matt Cobb and Buddy Green, who also carded 58.
North-South Series Records (Through 2018)
Football – South leads 30-27-2
Boys Basketball – North leads 48-28
Girls Basketball – North leads 19-3
Baseball – North leads 23-12-1
Softball – North leads 25-21-3
Boys Soccer – North leads 11-4-1
Girls Soccer – North leads 15-2-1
Volleyball – North leads 14-7
Boys Cross Country – North and South tied at 1-1
Girls Cross Country – North and South are tied at 1-1
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