Area High School athletes will be taking a break now that the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) has set new rules, implementing a dead week that begins this Saturday.
The board of directors for the OSSAA adopted the rule that any secondary level athletes who are enrolled cannot use any athletic facility during the dead week period where the sport is sponsored by the OSSAA.
Athletes and coaches will also be barred from talking to each other about their sport during the dead week, and any violation of the policy could result in the head coach being suspended from the first half of the regular season in that activity.
Beginning June 29 and lasting until July 7, an athlete can also not use any of the facilities even if the coach isn’t present, according to Duncan Athletic Coordinator Bobby Cook.
Cook, who is entering his second year as the district’s athletic coordinator, has been sending out messages to each middle school and high school coach making sure they understand the new rules.
“For our own school district, I just want to make sure we don’t jeopardize ourselves or our coaches, because the punishment is that you miss the first half of your regular season,” Cook said. “That is obviously a pretty good chunk, so we have shot out multiple e-mails. I sent out another e-mail just yesterday to our high school and middle school coaches.”
In the OSSAA’s document outlining the policies, no student athlete can use any of the facilities provided by the school that is governed by the OSSAA.
“I can’t take my kids from Duncan or have a lay coach or a coach from somewhere else and have them coach in Marlow because Marlow would fall in these guidelines,” Cook said.
Any athlete, according to Cook, can’t be in any of the athletic facilities. Coach Cook understands why they are doing it but wishes there was some flexibility.
“I get the premise of the idea why they are doing it because they want to give kids some time to be kids,” Cook said. “My suggestion was to let each school district decide when your 10 days are going to be for your dead period because each school is different. I’m in favor of why they are doing it, I just wish there was a little more flexibility. It is trial and error this year and maybe the OSSAA at some point will get to something like that where maybe by a certain date where the school district has to submit their 10 days for the dead period.”
While initially against the idea at first, Cook has had some time to reflect on the rule and also mentioned it will be good for the coaches and prefaced that Duncan has done a good job at giving kids a chance to be kids.
“At first I hated it, but now that I have had a little time to reflect on it, I think it is a good thing,” Cook said. “I also think that our coaches do a good job of not only sharing our athletes during the summer, but also being diligent of being flexible with our kids. Kids go on vacation or church camps or whatever it may be. They are not punished by any means, at least at Duncan Public Schools with my experience of last summer and so far this summer. I think our coaches already did a good job of letting kids be kids.”