Sunday, July 14, 2013

You Sunk My Battleship!!!!

Have we perhaps developed a game of battleship when it comes to athletic fields and facility use?  Reports coming in make us wonder.   There's a lot of activity going on and we're even hearing rumors of brash attempts to thwart detection.

On July 8th, District administration was alerted to facilities reservations at the high school field house under the name "Open Gym" from 6:45 am to 8:00 am on June 26, 27 and July 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 29.  All reservations were made under the name Nate Grundahl...who happens to be the asst. varsity basketball coach.  Community observers report that the only folks present at these "sessions" are members of the high school basketball program.  Reports also indicate that Coach Boos is present.  Perhaps this was all according to Hoyle, but one has to ask the this a violation of WIAA rules for coach/player contact.  There are rules for how many days of contact (5) [with coaches] can occur during the summer.

By mid-week, we heard several reports that Operation Open Gym had become compromised and the location had been clandestinely moved to the Patrick Marsh gym.   Hmmmm.  Switching things up like that begs the question.....a lot of questions, actually.

While we remain hopeful that everything is being done in strict accordance with WIAA rules.....we wouldn't want to incur district-wide WIAA sanctions, would we?......some investigation i in order.  A complete and transparent accounting of these activities MUST be initiated.

One concern is that there are WIAA rules governing "Open Gyms".  One of the requirements is that these be announced publicly so ANY student can use the gym .  The only place this "Open Gym" was noticed was as a listing on the Facility Use calendar.  And that wouldn't have happened unless the District Buildings & Grounds Manager stepped in and forced the issue.   The only kids that seem to be partaking of the Open Gym opportunity are the basketball team, the reservation was made by asst varsity coach Nate Grundahl, and there have been multiple Boos sightings at both the Fieldhouse in June and at Patrick Mrsh this past week.

All those things make for a particular odor, and the odor is not a good one.
Here's what the WIAA has to say about Open Gyms:
You have several rules which affect this situation. First the open gym rule. Open gyms are school sponsored recreation for students. They cannot be organized practices by the coach or any other person. Open gyms are "pick up" situations. Coaches and schools cannot be involved in out-of-season practice for athletes. However, open gyms do not violate WIAA rules if they are conducted according to the following guidelines: 
1) The open gym is made known and available to all students in the designated population of that school that are interested in attending. Open gyms may be gender specific. It is also acceptable to include people from the community. Schools may conduct "open gyms" in any activity. It is not acceptable to include athletes from another school, public or nonpublic. 
2) There is no instruction during the open gym by a coach or anyone else. 
3) Coaches may supervise open gyms, but they may not instruct, organize drills, etc. Coaches can also recreate with students in school sponsored, open gym settings that are purely recreational in nature, i.e., there is no instruction, sport skill demonstration, organized drills or resemblance of a practice being conducted. 
4) There is no organized competition, such as established teams participating in round-robin competition, etc.
"Open Gym" is not a code word for out-of-season practice. The philosophy of the open gym is students from that school may attend, for wholesome recreation, or for pur- poses of improving their skills, but it's something they do on their own. It would be a violation of WIAA rules to mandate attendance at open gyms, or to provide incentives for athletes to attend open gyms, or to limit participation based on athletic status, or to allow athletes from other schools to come and work out or compete against the host school's athletes. (BL – Art. II and RE – Art. VI, Sect. 2) During the school year, no activity in which they are engaged during the school year should resemble in any way a school team practicing or competing out-of-season. (Handbook, p. 39, Art VI, Sect 2, Par A). With this rule, "Captains Practices" may not be held during the school year. Participants must be diversified and coaches/schools may not be involved. 
They are allowed during the summertime where limitations on athletes assembly are removed. If the players are organizing in a practice situation, then this rule comes into play. The question to be asked: Is the situation you describe an Open Gym or a spring practice designed to appear as an open gym? In a true open gym, the kids grab a ball and recreate. If they are running plays, then I would say they are practicing.

Someone (ahem...Tim Culver) needs to be investigating this.  If it is true, then we need to issue a cease and desist order, take immediate and appropriate corrective measures,  and turn ourselves in to WIAA.

Ground control to major Tim, 
your circuit's dead, there's something wrong.
Can you hear me, major Tim?

What lesson are we teaching our kids in this whole approach to rules?  Is it OK to break rules as long as we don't get caught?