Concussion plan passed, softball championships moved
By Kyle LoJacono
The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) passed a pair of policies to help member schools cope with the down economy.
The FHSAA board voted unanimously to reduce membership fees by 50 percent starting this school year, while increasing the ticket price for district, regional and state competitions by $1. In total, the moves will return about $800,000 to member schools.
“We will continue to reduce membership dues when possible,” said FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing in a release. “In order to do that, we must obtain more long-term corporate sponsors. If we are successful in that mission, then schools in the near future might only be paying a nominal flat rate for membership.”
When reached, Dearing explained that expanding the number of classifications in the state from six to eight increases the amount of potential money that can be generated in playoff competition by one-third.
“It’s just a mater of numbers,” Dearing said. “More schools will have the opportunity to host postseason tournaments and games, which will return more money to the member schools.”
Hillsborough County athletic director Lanness Robinson said he agrees with the FHSAA’s steps.
“It will help us offer more to the student-athletes,” Robinson said. “Studies show that the kids who are involved with school sports do better in school and overall have more productive lives, so any way we can be more economically viable is a good thing.”
For football, the new ticket price for district tiebreaker contests is $7, for regional games $8, $9 for state semifinals and $10 for the finals. Regular season admission will remain $5.
To see last year’s admission prices for all FHSAA sports, visit www.fhsaa.org and click on the specific sport.
The FHSAA board also finalized its concussion action plan, which has been months in the making to address growing concerns about head injuries.
“(The plan) addressed the responsibility of everyone,” Dearing said. “From game officials, to who determines removing a student-athlete from a contest, and it defines who the appropriate health care professional should be to treat and eventually clear them to return to competition.”
According to the plan, which is posted on the FHSAA’s website, student-athletes who suffer a concussion are to see an approved doctor within 24 hours of the injury and cannot return until fully cleared of all symptoms.
Additionally, every coach and volunteer with any school athletic program must take and complete the National Federation of State High School Associations’ concussion course. The free class is also available for any parent, student or school administrator.
The board also moved the state softball finals for all classifications to the University of South Florida’s new complex for the next two years. It had been at the National Training Center in Clermont the last two seasons.
It is the third time a Hillsborough site has hosted the event. It had been at the Ed Radice Sports Complex in Odessa from 2002-05 and at Plant City Stadium from 2006-09.