Coaches cheer — and have a bit of a concern — for the new Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association summertime dead period that ends July 8.
“The main thing I’m concerned about is losing all the conditioning the players did in June,” said Quapaw football coach Chris Cawyer. “The plus to it is they need a break; coaches need a break. I can only hope they will run on their own and stay in a little bit of shape when they come back the 8th of July.”
According to the OSSAA manual “the dead period will occur during the week in July that includes the 4th of July each year. The dead period will be nine days in length and will begin the weekend preceding or including the 4th of July and the weekend following the 4th of July.”
David Jackson, executive director of the OSSAA, said membership has discussed a dead period for the past several years.
“Two years ago, we started to survey the membership to determine if they truly wanted a dead period, when they wanted it and how long should it last,” Jackson said via email. “Last spring the membership voted to approve what we currently have in place. We thought it was prudent to enforce the policy this summer instead of last summer in order to have a chance to communicate and answer questions the membership would have.”
This is nothing new for Wyandotte football coach Zac Ross.
“I’ve always given the whole week off around the 4th,” he said. “I had really thought it was going to be longer than what it is. But I think its good for the kids and coaches to get a break and not feel like they will be behind.”
It’s strictly forbidden for all secondary-level students enrolled in an OSSAA-governed sport to use any of the school’s athletic facilities during the dead period.
That means it is hands off for coaches, assistant coaches and sponsors during that time period.
The rule has teeth, too: violations of the policy will lead to a coach or sponsor being suspended over the first half of the regular season in their particular sport.
School personnel not designated as a coach or sponsor in violation of the dead period will result in the head coach being slapped with the first half of the season suspension.
“It will be interesting to see if anyone gets hit with the strict penalty for not adhering to the new policy,” said Commerce head football coach Steve Moss.
Ross said you won’t find him in violation of the rule: he’s been in Alabama on vacation.
“There are ways around it,” he said. “I’m afraid some people might exploit it. But powerlifting is not sanctioned by the OSSAA and it’s not listed as a sport that cannot participate.”
Activities governed by the OSSAA include baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, cheerleading, soccer, volleyball, softball (fast and slow pitch), swimming, track, cross country, tennis and golf.
Moss likes the rule.
“The kids need a break,” he said. “I’ve had summers where we started the day after school was out and went until the day before school ended. Coaches feel like they have to do that to keep up with the other guys.
I’m all for it. I just hope they don’t expand it much more.”
“I think everyone benefits,” said Miami head football coach Zach Gardner. “It allows our staff time with family and our kids a chance to be kids.
“Hopefully it allows everyone to get a chance to get away from the daily grind and get rejuvenated. Coaches would take ‘quality over quantity’ any day of their off-season.”
Jackson said many states have dead period policies in some form.
“Most last longer than ours and many are more restrictive,” he said. “We haven’t discussed with our school’s anything about adding to our current policy. We will listen to reactions after this first year to see what the member schools want to do.”