The North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors completed its spring Board meeting at the NCHSAA offices with a large number of changes and adjustments.

Several items related specifically to health and safety, including the limitation on live action contact in football practice and requirements for coaches in certain sports.

—Football contact limitations: to limit regular season and postseason football practice to maximum of 60 minutes of live action contact per group, per week; contact at game speed where players execute full tackles at a competitive pace, taking players to the ground, effective August 1, 2015.

—Approved during preseason football practice, the two-hour practice session of any double-practice day cannot include full contact, which includes “thudding.”

—Approved request to change wording on previously approved recommendation; recommend allowing 10 days of unlimited number skill development in football to begin 10 days prior to the start of exam period (state mandated final exams) for each school, excluding Memorial Day; due to timing of the recommendation, schools will have the flexibility to keep their prior plans for football skill development session based on approved recommendation during December 2014 meeting.

—Adopt standards for facilities hosting NCHSAA playoffs in all sports, including must be safe and protective of well-being of participants and spectators; must have seating for participants and spectators, with one-third of the seating reserved for visiting spectators (sports other than football, which has its own seating requirements); must satisfy Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, have restroom facilities, have a means to teams and game officials to dress, conducive to charging admission, and be able to show upon request that lighting meets the NCHSAA minimum standards. —Increased state championship medal distribution to champions and runners-up in selected sports.

—Regional basketball format—fourth round (regional semifinals) will now be at home of the higher seed rather than a neutral site; if there is indication the school doesn’t have adequate seating, NCHSAA would help find site; then the regional finals at a neutral site. Several large high schools have indicated willingness to host games in this regard. This will be effective for the 2015-16 season.

—The topic of allowing schools to participate in certain national events after NCHSAA state championships was discussed, and the member schools will weigh in at regional meetings this fall to provide the Board with additional feedback before any additional action is taken.

—Approved adding social media position statement in sportsmanship section of the Handbook.

—Approved hiring a part time Sports Medicine Director to help the NCHSAA and its member schools in the areas of health and safety.

—Approved protocol to utilize available video for sanctions in accordance with the NCHSAA ejection policy; it will be used to address players or teams for leaving the bench.

—Approved appointing Michael Niver to Assistant to Business and Championships and hiring part time employees to serve in receptionist role.

—Approved Steve McNeill as regional supervisor for Triangle Football Officials Association, Roy Turner as regional supervisor for Eastern Basketball Officials Association, and Jack Embry and Tim Sappenfield as regional supervisors for the Central Wrestling Officials Association.

—Approved that head cheerleading coaches take American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators Spirit Safety Course by August 1, 2016.

—Approved that each head pole vault coach that the NFHS Coaching Pole Vault course for 2015-16 school year.

—Require all NCHSAA member schools to have a Cardiac Safety Program with three specific components; an appropriate number of AEDs on cam-pus, AED maintenance program, and required viewing of short AED/CPR video for all supervising adults, including teachers, coaches and administrators.

—NFHS Fundamentals of coaching certification update—since May 1, 2012, 13,623 coaches in the state have received national certification. North Carolina is seventh nationally with 466 Accredited Interscholastic Athletic Coaches and the state is first nationally with 61 Certified Interscholastic Coaches.

NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield said, “We had a lengthy agenda that included realignment, a number of health and safety issues and other matters. After careful consideration, the Board approved recommendations it believed to be in the best interest of our student-athletes and member schools.”

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