Huss modifies OC’s in-school practice schedule
By: Mike Hutchens Messenger Sports Writer
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
No one can accuse David Huss of not doing his homework.
While contemplating the elimination of in-school practice time for athletic teams in the Obion County School System, OC’s Director of Schools sought information from other such systems across the state and decided against that course of action.
Stopping short of calling it a “compromise” after collecting data from 75 percent of the school systems across Tennessee, Huss said practice time would remain a part of the school day for student-athletes in the school system.
Unlike presently, however, when freshmen practice during one time period and varsity athletes another, only the seventh period or last block of the day will be reserved for all athletic activities. All sports teams will adhere to the modified change and both the cheerleading squads and marching band will also follow those guidelines.
Huss received feedback from 103 of the 136 school systems or special districts from across the state and discovered that 58 of those allowed some type of in-school practice time for their athletes and teams. That figure was higher than the 45 systems or school districts who didn’t and disputed the notion that school-day time for extracurricular activities are a “rural West Tennessee phenomenon.”
“That, by far, wasn’t the case,” said Huss, who noted of the 33 non-reponses that five have no sports programs. “We were on the verge of totally eliminating in-school practice because of that notion. Our research disproved that theory. And contrary to some belief, these types of decisions aren’t made off the cuff.
“I believe a modified block schedule may be our best option down the road, and I will challenge our administrators to come up with a plan along those lines. Until then, I think moving everything practice-wise to the last period is the best option, and it’ll be up to our coaches to use the time they’ll have seventh period to their fullest of advantages.”
Huss added he believed the state department of education could eliminate practice time for all schools in the near future when it is expected that two additional credits — bringing to the number 24 — will be needed to graduate from high school.
“Academics will always be our No. 1 priority and it is with the state department of education as well,” he said. “And even though there will still be some allotted in-school practice time, one of the other things beneficial about moving it totally to seventh period will be that it will give us some flexibility schedule-wise and hopefully with some of our course offerings.
“I believe most of our teams still practice after school now — even with what practice time they are allotted during the day. They just have a little bit of a head start. Continuing that in the future shouldn’t be a big adjustment for them, and they’ll just have to use what time they have more wisely.”
Obion Central girls’ basketball coach Eddie Suiter said this morning he believed all involved will adjust to the new scheduled practice time.
“We knew there was a possibility that we might not have anything, so we’re happy to be getting something,” he said. “Having the freshmen and varsity at the same time will be a challenge, but I’m sure we’ll figure out some way to make it work.
“Adapting is part of the high school experience.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 12.21.07