AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese made his annual trip to the ALFCA Board Meeting during All Star Sports Week in Montgomery.
The ALFCA board looks forward to his arrival each summer. Savarese talks about the state of football, both in Alabama and nationally. He also gives the board an idea of some of the pressing issues concerning football in the upcoming year.
The executive director was concerned that the number of schools involved in instant replay was less than expected. He said our state had a three year window with the NFHS to use the pilot program. “We have a chance to help decide the direction of instant replay and the rules that are to be used,” Savarese explained. “If we don’t get more participation, that window will be closed and the NFHS may use someone else’s model.”
He said that other states have a different view of high school football than Alabama. Some of the northeastern states are pushing the NFHS for more rule changes concerning practice as well changes to middle school football. Two of the things that they want to consider is doing away with the kicking game in middle school football and the possibility of eliminating tackle football in middle schools. Savarese stated that the legal and medical communities throughout the country are starting to have more and more of an impact on high school football.
He praised the football coaches in the state who as he said, “have embraced our practice rules since their inception.” He said that when it comes to high school football in our country, “Texas and Alabama lead the way.” Savarese said that the NCAA, the NFL and high school association directors are coming together for a football summit later this year in Tuscaloosa. The hope is that if everyone gets together they can help determine the direction of the game in the days to come and preserve the great game we have today.
Savarese talked about the importance of heat acclimatization and cool tubs to reduce body temperature to reduce the chances of heat illness.
The executive director stated that last year’s lawsuits had been disposed and that all of the fines and lawyer fees had been paid. He said that reclassification would happen three different times in the coming year, after fall, winter and spring sports.
Savarese said that some of the problems on the horizon in athletics included transgender athletes competing in female sports, charter schools in the state of Alabama and a push by some to essentially make all athletes eligible at the school of their choice at the beginning of the school year. Such is the case in Florida, where in the bigger classifications they have basically created all star teams playing in the regular season.
Before leaving, Coach Savarese thanked everyone for their dedication to high school athletics in our state.