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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Board of Education is close to passing a policy change that would allow year-round sports coaching.
On Wednesday, the board voted to give the public 30 days to comment on the possible change. Current policy allows for only three weeks of out-of-season sports practice or related activities.
Martinsburg High School principal Trent Sherman, who proposed the change, said it would level the playing field for West Virginia students who play athletes from bordering states that have looser out-of-season rules.
Sherman also said the change would help disadvantaged students who sometimes can't afford to pay to practice and play in Amateur Athletic Union and travel teams during the summer.
The Charleston Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1HiWI2K ) the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission's Board of Control, made up of school principals, approved Sherman's proposal at its April meeting before sending it to the state school board.
Two board members, Beverly Kingery and Bill White, voted against putting the changes out for comment.
Kingery said she's concerned that because year-round coaching would be optional for schools, it would distinguish between those that can afford to extend coaching from those that can't.
"We're going to separate the haves from the have-nots," she said.
White said he doesn't want to see coaches use the year-round option to pressure students into only playing their sport, even though the out-of-season sessions are supposed to be optional.
If approved by the state school board, likely at its July meeting, the change would allow coaching for middle and high school students to occur all year except for weekends, the week of July 4 and one week before the start of the sport's season.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette, http://www.wvgazette.com
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