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Alabama high school softball "outside participation rule"

Apr 7, 2014
18
1
WOW, I never expected this post to generate this much interest. I really appreciate those of you that have provided information on the rules in your state. It is apparent to me from reading all the replies that the experience a "family" has with either a high school team or travel ball team depends on the quality of the teams coaching and administration. I am not against high school sports nor do I believe that every travel ball team is superior. There are good and bad in both areas. Here are a few additional facts that I would like to offer for the groups edification.
I recently made a call to the AHSAA and spoke to an official about this rule. I specifically asked this official why this rule was enacted and to this officials credit he was open and honest with me. He told me that the state coaches organization had lobbied for this rule and that player safety and protection had nothing to do with the implementation of this rule. The coaches were concerned that certain coaches of successful programs were using travel ball practices and tournaments to gain an advantage. In other words a majority of coaches did not want to put in the extra work required to utilize travel ball to their teams full advantage. As a result the high school coaches and administrations that I am involved with on a regular basis have no motivation to provide anything but the minimum amount of resources required to keep their sports programs viable. In our district and probably other districts in Alabama the only government funding provided for athletics is the salary of the coach/teacher and a $2,500/year supplement for the head coach. All uniforms, equipment, facility upkeep, and travel cost ( the team has to pay $1.50/mile if a school bus is used for travel to an away game and $15/hour for a bus driver if the coach does not drive). We also have to pay for all meals and hotel rooms when we travel to the state playoff tournaments. All coaches must fill a teachers position and teach a minimum a 4 classes each day so when a coach decided they no longer want to put up with the long hours and late nights they resign as a coach but because they are tenured still are able to keep their teaching job. Since there is now a coaching vacancy but not a teaching position available a quality coach can not be hired and the coaching job is given to a teacher already employed at the school regardless of his/her qualifications. I would love for my daughter to be able to play for her high school but the team is always disorganized, unprepared, unmotivated and an embarrassment. My daughter hates ever minute she is with this team but I will not allow her to quit. I know from experience that quitting is a slippery slope. Even though my daughter is only 15 she plays on a very successful 18U club team that won their World Series 2 years ago and finished 4th last year. Her club coach is a former college and minor league baseball player who started a baseball and softball training business in our area a few years ago. Playing for him is the exact opposite from her high school coach. He is organized, punctual, prepared and has forgot more about softball then the high school coach ever knew. Every girl that stays with his team gets a college scholarship, and he puts their signing day picture on the wall of his training facility. Through his coaching, my daughter has grown from a pretty good player to an exceptional player. When we go to D1 camps the coaches are amazed that she is only 15. During some of the winter camps we attended in December I asked the coaches how many high school games they attend to scout players. The three coaches from different schools I ask (1 D1 coach, 1 D1 assistant coach and 1 JC head coach) said they are only able to see a couple of girls play high school ball and only then if the game is very close to their campus. They all told me that they do 95% of their recruiting by watching video of girls they are made aware of and by going to travel ball tournaments. So the next question, for those stout souls that just read my rendition of "War and Peace", is, "Given the situation and facts I just explained why would parents continue to waste 4 months of their daughters time on a broken high school program?
 
Apr 7, 2014
18
1
this would be a transfer to a private school that does not play in the AHSAA system. We are not allowed to transfer between AHSAA schools unless we make a legitimate move of residence.
 
Jul 2, 2013
681
0
... and how would you know this? So, you went to HS players and told them that representing their school, community etc. was not important and that there was nothing to gain. So, they missed out on a different kind of experience in sports that others really enjoy. Ten, fifteen, or twenty years from now, at high school reunions the other girls will be talking about their senior years of HS softball and these players won't have that experience. Just yesterday, a teammate sent me an email asking for me to set aside a weekend so that we can pick up our HS coach who is now 80 and take him out to lunch. I haven't talked to this teammate in 25 years and yet, our experience was so good that he contacted me with this idea. Great news you have convinced these young ones to give this up. It will make room for those who want this experience and so, I applaud you for it.
High School softball rocks precisely because of stories like this!!!

The young ladies know it in their guts. They love playing for their high school, getting called out in newspapers, and getting high fives from their teachers, fellow students (boys?).

Have at it travel folks. Boycott high school softball. It is your loss, for this beautiful high school softball sport will flourish, and not even know your name.
 
Jul 2, 2013
681
0
Not sure why this is even brought up but assuming this is right it is still probably 20x more exposure than HS ball alone.
Not true at our high school. Our high school players get exposed on a ratio much better than 20x.

Again, an incorrect travel softball statement.

Please challenge my high school softball statements. I do not shoot from the cuff, hoping something will stick.
 
Jul 2, 2013
681
0
Our experiences are absolutely 180 degree opposites. My dd has a plaque in the Trophy Case for 1st Team All State. She has all of her No Hitter balls displayed. She has her ESPN Award displayed. On the walls as you enter the receiving area outside the gym are all of the plaques for Conference Championships and Regional/Sectional Championships. My dd pitched them to 3 regional and sectional championship titles. She pitched every conference championship game for 4 years. You know what, she is not alone. There are 5 First Team All State players that have their pictures and records displayed as well. Every girl in our town knows my daughter if they go to basketball games because of her picture and her accomplishments. The friendships have been solid throughout the years with her teammates. DD has a prom picture with all of her teammates decked out but with their gloves and bats. It covers a wall and cost a few hundred dollars to get made. So, again, our experiences are 100% different.
Gosh Cannonball ... you are the man. The state and community PRESS covers high school softball. It brings tremendous PRIDE to the players, programs, and community.

Travel ... not. maybe a byline, at best.

High School softball plays for SOMETHING that matters to a bunch of folks. Not just playing for ME, like travel.
 
Jun 24, 2013
1,059
36
The rule that got my niece and might catch my DD is the number of players allowed on a Team. Niece had to change TB Teams. Everyone was really happy and she was basically kicked off her Team. I think brother is almost done complaining, probably not but she likes her new Team.
 
Feb 17, 2014
7,089
113
Orlando, FL
Awful long post. So I picked this one quote out of it and let the fellow posters determine the validity of the rest?
If you pick up the right players and know you are doing it is not that hard to do. If a player has average skills and if they are committed to playing college ball, you can find them a ride. That of course requires some realistic expectations on their part. Not everyone is SEC or PAC12 material.
 
Jul 2, 2013
681
0
If you pick up the right players and know you are doing it is not that hard to do. If a player has average skills and if they are committed to playing college ball, you can find them a ride. That of course requires some realistic expectations on their part. Not everyone is SEC or PAC12 material.
Agreed ... just question absolute statements such as "every" player. I am probably wrong, thank you.

Only to add ... if your player can BALL ... like mine can, scholarships will follow just about every time. No matter if she disregards any big time travel folks, and plays for her local people who really do know what is best to elevate her play.

Scholarships follow great play. Travel can help, so can high school. But great play determines the outcome the vast majority of the time. So whenever a travel coach promises a pig in a poke ... always do what will make your DD the best player.

Big time travel softball prepares players for big time D1 softball. The extra work is looked at very positively by big D1's. I am not denying its value, it exists. But parents must closely evaluate their DD's playing potential, and work ethic.

For my DD, just because of talent, I always knew she would have a team that wanted to pay her for her talent. We have never not been able to find a team to play for. So what happens when young, also happens when college eligible.
 
Last edited:
Jan 18, 2010
4,284
0
In your face
He told me that the state coaches organization had lobbied for this rule and that player safety and protection had nothing to do with the implementation of this rule. The coaches were concerned that certain coaches of successful programs were using travel ball practices and tournaments to gain an advantage.
This is exactly why the rule was/is implemented in many states. With that being said, EVERY successful HS in TN has a feeder TB program into that school, and have for years. They use the summer, around the dead periods, to keep the girls together as much as they can. Even to the point when the state rule says the HS coach can't have "contact" with the team, they supply their own "hand picked" coaches to run the TB show to avoid violation.

When the 50% rule takes effect in the fall, they pair up with another local competitive school, split the roster 5 and 5. Dirty little HS tricks to stay on top. It is what it is.
 

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