The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced plans Thursday for a new summertime dead period policy.
The proposed policy, beginning summer 2019, would prevent coaches and personnel from interacting with athletes for a two week period during the summer. Facilities would also be unavailable for use.
“From July 1 through July 14 there shall be no contact between school personnel who are serving or are
designated to serve as coaches or assistant coaches including sponsors or directors and any secondary level students,” the policy released on the OSSAA website said.
Shawnee Athletic Director Todd Boyer thinks the time away will be a good thing for coaches and athletes as they recharge and reaffirm life outside of sports.
“I think it's an opportunity for our kids to get some quality time in with their families,” he said.
OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson released a video on YouTube as a statement to clarify some of the policy suggestions. Jackson said that a ballot will be sent out to school administrators about the new policy to vote on.
“We understand that it is not a perfect policy and it is not what everyone wanted, but it's a start,” Jackson said.
The OSSAA staff has recevied requests for years to implement a dead period policy that would give coaches and athletes time apart from one another, Jackson said. In preparation for the policy, the OSSAA has conducted suveys and spoken about it at area meetings where the policy has been well-received.
Coaches, sponsors and directors are at risk of being suspended for the first half of their season for violating the policy and other personnel could result in the head coach being suspended for the first half of the season as well, Jackson said. He hopes that punishment won't be needed.
“That's not what we want to occur,” he said. “We hope that the dead period would be embraced, that people understand the reason for it and we won't have to worry about any violation. But we do have to have a violation penalty in place if it does happen.”
There are no changes to other summertime activities prior to or after the dead period. Summer leagues, camps and tournaments and in-season practices are all expected to keep their current restrictions.
In implementing the policy, Oklahoma will be following suit with summer restrictions that surrounding states have already had in place.
The change will take a little bit of adjusting, but Boyer thinks it will be well-received.
“I think when everybody sits back and settles in it's going to be a good thing,” he said.