Routines Make the Year Run Smooth for Coaches
By Darryl Beasley, Assistant Athletic Director | Tuesday, June 05, 2012 8:34 AM
One thing coaches can appreciate is a routine free of surprises. The last thing you need is to be blindsided with student eligibility, new student/transfer, new forms, new sports rules, new UIL rules or simply rule changes. It’s vital to have a routine in place. Below are some helpful hints to help coaches prepare for the upcoming school year.
Eligibility for Student/Athletes
During the last six weeks in spring, consider checking credits of your athletes to ensure eligibility for the first six weeks. This should be done for the sports starting before or during the first six weeks of school.
Eligibility for the first six weeks is as follows:
- In grades nine and below, students must have been promoted from the previous grade.
- In the second year of high school, students must have five accumulated credits that count toward state graduation requirements.
- A student in the third year of high school must have 10 accumulated credits that count toward state graduation requirements or student must have earned at least five credits within the last 12 months that count toward state graduation requirements.
- In the fourth year of high school students must have 15 accumulated credits that count toward state graduation requirements or students must have earned at least five credits within the last 12 months that count toward state graduation requirements.
By checking in the spring, coaches can make students aware of their credits. If a student did not have enough credits, he/she could decide to attend summer school in order to attain the required number of credits for eligibility.
Students who do not have enough credits at the beginning of the first six weeks can gain academic eligibility by passing all classes at the end of the first six weeks plus the seven-day grace period. At the end of the first six weeks, all schools must check grades for all participants. From that point on, grades are checked at the end of the grading period whether it is six, nine or 12 weeks in length.
Required Forms for High School Athletes
For participation in any UIL competition, there are required annual forms each athlete must have on file at their school.
The required forms are:
- Physical Examination Form: Required prior to junior high athletic participation and again prior to first and third years of high school. The local district policy may require an annual physical.
- Medical History Form: Required each year prior to any practice or participation.
- Acknowledgement of Rules Form: Signed annually by the student’s parent or guardian to allow the student to participate.
- Parent/Student Illegal Steroid Use and Education Form: Signed by the student and student’s parent verifying that they understand that a prerequisite for participation is refraining from illegal steroid use.
- New Concussion Acknowledgement Form: Signed by the student and student’s parent verifying that they understand the definition of concussion, prevention, signs and symptoms, oversight, treatment and return to play protocol.
These forms can be downloaded from the UIL website at www.uiltexas.org.
New and Transfer Students
If a new student or transfer student (9th-12th grade) enters your high school athletic program, there are questions you must ask to determine varsity eligibility.
Do the parents of the student live in your attendance zone? If not, who does the student live with?
These two questions can help you initiate a conversation about the parent residence rule to determine if the student meets the defined parent residence rule.
After the student meets all the eligibility requirements in Section 400 in the Constitution and Contest Rules and prior to the first competition, you must ask if the student participated in practice, athletic period or a game in grades 8th-12th at the previous school(s) outside the current schools attendance zone. If so, a Previous Athletic Participation form (PAPF) will need to be completed and approved by the District Executive Committee. The PAPF is required if previous participation occurred in any of the 50 states, District of Columbia and/or Mexico. These questions are vital to start the process in determining a new or transfer students’ varsity athletic eligibility.
The Routine for Coaches
Becoming familiar with rule changes, sport specific rules changes and the UIL activities calendar should be part of a coach’s routine each year. The UIL activities calendar gives a visual of start date and first day for practices and games in your assigned sport. Hopefully, you have scrimmages and game dates set and verified. The verification of scrimmages and games should be in the form of a letter, phone, email or fax. Make sure you have some form of confirmation. You need this because of turnover of coaches from one school year to the next. You don’t want to have a game or tournament scheduled, and the only ones who show are you, your team and officials. So, please verify, verify, verify. It will save you time and money.
Along with the verification of games and scrimmages, please do a count of the games, matches or meets that correspond to your season limits.
Another part of the coach’s routine should be to keep up with the UIL rule changes, which usually occur in October when the Legislative Council meets. Once rule changes have been approved by the Legislative Council, they must be signed by the Commissioner of Education, which normally takes place in March.
The month of April is a good time to keep updated regarding any new changes in the upcoming year. For instance, the change increasing the distance of girls’ cross-country from two miles to 3.2 miles for conferences 4A and 5A for the 2012-2013 school year was one of many which occurred during last year’s Legislative Council meeting.
Other rule changes can come from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for cross country, volleyball, basketball, soccer, swimming and diving, wrestling, track and field, softball, and baseball. Football changes may be made by the NCAA, tennis by the USTA and golf by the USGA.
In these UIL sports activities, the League has the right to make exceptions to the sport rules made at the national level. The rule changes are usually complete by the end of June. You can get a copy of the rule changes from our website (www.uiltexas.org).
UIL has made changes in the sport manuals format to assist coaches. The manual is sequenced pre-season, regular season, post-season and off-season. The information under each season should relate to that season and be a guide throughout the year.
At the beginning of each manual, there is the sport calendar, rule changes and sport plan. One thing that has change is the location of the forms, alignments, brackets and eligibility blank which are located on our website (www.uiltexas.org).
The information provided should shore up your start of yearly routines and limit the chances of being blindsided with student eligibility, new student/transfer, new forms, new sports rules and rule changes. For some veteran coaches, this may already be part of your routine. If so, I recommend mentoring other coaches and passing your routine on.