During its annual review of the by-laws on Monday afternoon, the Board of Directors of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. voted unanimously to add girls wrestling and boys volleyball to its new Emerging Sport Process.
The Board of Directors, led by this year’s President Jeff Doyle of Barr-Reeve High School and Vice President Jim Brown of Fishers High School, approved 38 items during the meeting in Indianapolis.
All proposals are considered in the order that the rule appears within the current by-laws. The Board of Directors has four options on each proposal: affirm, deny, table or amend a rule. A simple majority is necessary to act on any measure and all approved measures become effective immediately unless otherwise noted.
The Emerging Sport Process, known as Rule 1-4 and approved a year ago by the IHSAA Board of Directors, helps pave a way for those sports and participation to continue to grow with an eye toward eventually becoming a recognized sport and sponsorship of an official state tournament. The two sports become the first to earn the designation.
By earning the designation as an emerging sport, the IHSAA will now provide rule books, conduct coaches rules meetings, and provide coverage in the IHSAA’s Catastrophic Medical program. Both sports will now be subject to all IHSAA rules and policies, including the General Eligibility Rules.
For a sport to become officially recognized and an IHSAA state tournament be sponsored, 50 percent of the membership must be participating in the sport. The IHSAA currently has 407 member schools around the state.
The Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association has been administering its state tournament since 1994 while the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association has been conducting a girls wrestling state tournament since 2017.
Representatives of both coaches associations submitted requested information in recent weeks including data on participants in Indiana as well as other states, suggested playing rules and potential practice seasons as well as letters of commitment from member schools that either currently sponsor or intend to sponsor a program.
According to the data submitted from those coaches associations, there are 42 schools fielding boys volleyball teams around the state while 350 girls representing 113 schools in this year’s girls wrestling state tournament.
• The Board approved 17-2 of reducing the waiting period to become a full member school and participate in IHSAA state tournaments from four years to three years.
• Clarified that any student-athlete ejected from a contest due to NFHS playing rules but not deemed unsporting
such as a handball in the box during a soccer match or use of an illegal bat in softball, will not be suspended for the next contest. Also, any student-athlete ejected for a second time during a season will be suspended for the next two contests.
• A coach, contest administrator, school administrator or fan ejected from a contest will be suspended for the next two contests. A second ejection will be a four-game suspension (approved 19-0).
• An amendment to Rule 9-13 proposed by Carmel High School Principal Tom Harmas that would allow the commissioner to reschedule a state tournament contest to Sunday if weather or other emergency situations arise failed 0-19.
• An amendment to Rule 10-1 by Evansville North Principal John Skinner and the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference failed (2-17) to gain enough support in his current form. The proposal would have eliminated the restrictions on Indiana schools from hosting schools from farther than 300 miles away or being able to compete against a school from beyond the travel limit at an out-of-state event. The Board, however, requested that the Executive Staff review and draft another proposal for team and individual sports for its consideration at the next meeting.
• An amendment to Rule 19-5.1 failed 8-11. Peru Principal Paul Frye proposed that when a student’s parents/guardians make a change of residence to a new school district, the student may transfer and attempt to obtain full eligibility in any school located within a 20 mile radius of the new residence when a move of more than 75 miles is made. This same proposal ended in a tie among Board members a year ago and was brought back to the agenda this year.
• With regard to Rule 19-6.2, when a student transfers to a new school without a change of residence, they would have limited eligibility in all sports. An exception to that rule was approved unanimously allowing full eligibility in sports the student hasn’t previously participated in in the last 365 days.
• Munster Principal Mike Wells proposed an addition to Rule 20-2 (Past Link) that says, “if no direct contact can be proven between the two parties, the discipline/ineligibility of the student-athlete is not applicable (there is no cause/effect). The onus of the contact needs to be proven by the sending School that is blocking the transfer with regards to full eligibility.” The proposed addition failed to receive any support.
• The elections for next year’s leadership of the Board and Executive Committee also were held. Chris Conley of Delta High School was voted president of the 2022-23 Board of Directors and Kye Denney of Wes-Del High School was elected vice president. Jeff Doyle of Barr-Reeve High School was named chairman of the 2022-23 Executive Committee and Jim Brown of Fishers High School was confirmed as vice chairman.