Last weekend's rule changes by the Kansas State High School Activities Association regarding participation in summer sports and off-season involvement by coaches didn't surprise Lawrence High's coaching staff.
For the most part, the LHS coaches agreed with the KSHSAA's decision allowing athletes the freedom to play summer team sports without worrying about how many of their classmates are on their team. Also, the KSHSAA prohibited high school coaches from working in the offseason with athletes they'll coach the following season.
"Kids have the freedom to do what they want to do and restrictions are maintained on coaches and I think that's a good situation," LHS head volleyball coach Joan Wells said. "I back the Activities Association 100 percent. They've been in the business a long time and are looking out for the athletes' good. They're looking at the big picture, not just one isolated case."
In the past, offseason football teams couldn't have more than six players from one school, volleyball teams couldn't have more than four and basketball couldn't have more than three. Limits weren't set for other sports, so the decision was to give equal treatment to everyone.
The summer season is defined as the Friday before Memorial Day until the Tuesday following Labor Day. The numbers rules still apply during the school year.
The limited contact with athletes and coaches in the offseason should prevent some players from being forced to concentrate on one sport.
"The more you go to year-around contact, the more you're going go get one-sport athletes," LHS head football coach Dick Purdy said. "It puts pressure on the coaches and kids to keep trying to get better and improve over last season."
If the new rule had been in effect last year, LHS junior varsity baseball coach Dirk Wedd wouldn't have been able to coach the traveling Rebels baseball team, which had several of his high school players on its roster.
"I'm sure it was well thought out," Wedd said. "But I think the biggest difference is that baseball and softball are in season in the summer. The Class 4A-1A schools may only have one qualified coach for high school and their summer team."
This summer, baseball and softball coaches will be able to coach their teams because most teams are set. Those teams won't be affected until the summer of '97.
Coaches won't be prevented from working their one-week team summer camp, which went into effect a few years ago.
LHS head boys basketbal coach Jack Schreiner would like more time with his players than the one-week team camp.
"The biggest problem is I'd like to have more control with my players on an individual basis," Schreiner said. "I'd like to have a gym open two or three nights a week."
Schreiner never had the desire to coach his players in an organized league during the summer.
"You need to be separated from the players," he said. "You can't be around them all year."
With the new rule, his projected starting five could play year around, though.