Missouri Schools Approve Relaxed Participation Rules Specifically for Swimming & Diving

COLUMBIA, MO, October 30. MEMBER schools in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), the organization that oversees student activities such as sports, reported recently that Missouri high schools overwhelmingly adopted (416 – 82) an amendment on Thursday specifically directed to swimming and diving, which relaxes some restrictions built into the organization’s By-Law 235 governing non-school competition, effective this 2004-05 season.

The MSHSAA formed an ad hoc Swimming and Diving Study Committee earlier this year which was made up of both school and nonschool swimming and diving coaches and administrators. The committee recommended the amendments to the MSHSAA Board which supported them to the membership. A special election had to be held to put the change into effect this year. MSHSAA reports the ad hoc committee had recommended the change to address the lack of pool time currently available to school programs and other concerns.

“The ad hoc committee worked hard to bring a lot of information to the table, and its final recommendation was one that protected the school day and made the school program the priority,” said MSHSAA Executive Director Becky Oakes. “It also allows students who wish to get extra pool time for practice and conditioning to do so if all the requirements to the school and the school program are met.”

The new provision provides, in part, that after fulfilling all requirements, practices and competitions of the school swimming and diving team, a student may practice and compete in an organized nonschool swimming and diving practice or competition under the following conditions:

1. Priority shall be given to the school team and practices, and the school team shall take priority if there is a direct conflict with nonschool practice or competition. Prior approval by the school administrator may grant permission for a student to participate in the nonschool swimming and diving program if there is a direct conflict with the school program;

2. School time shall not be missed to compete, practice or travel to the site of a nonschool swimming and diving competition unless such absence is approved in advance by the school administrator; and

3. A school shall not replace its swimming and diving program with any nonschool swimming and diving program.

By-Law 235 will still apply to other MSHSAA-sponsored activities, as conditions in these sports do not mirror those of swimming and diving.

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