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Football Practice Guidelines

Football practice may begin five consecutive weekdays prior to August 1st.

1.    In the first five days of practice for any student, the practice may not last longer than two (2) hours, and the student may wear no other protective football equipment except helmet and mouthpieces. NOTE:

(a) The time for a session shall be measured from the time the players report to the practice or workout area until they leave that area.

(b)  During acclimatization practices, teams may hold a walk-through as long as there is at least a two-hour break between the two activities.

2.    Beginning August 1st, any student may practice in full pads and may practice a maximum of two (2) times in a single calendar day under the following stipulations:

(a) A student must have participated in five conditioning practices wearing no other protective football equipment except helmet and mouthpieces before being allowed to practice in full pads.

(b)  In a single calendar day:

(1)  No single session may last longer than three (3) hours.

(2)  If two (2) practices are held, the TOTAL time shall not exceed five (5) hours.

(3)  There must be at least a three-hour time of rest between sessions if two (2) sessions are held.

(4)  There may not be consecutive days of two-a-day practice sessions. All double-session days must be followed by a single-session day or a day off.

(5)  A walk-through may not be held on days when two practices are conducted.

(c)   These procedures are derived from recommendations created by the Inter-Association Task Force for Preseason Secondary School Athletics Participants in the paper “Preseason Heat-Acclimatization Guide- lines for Secondary School Athletes.”

3.    Full contact should be limited during practices as well as during activity outside of the traditional fall practice. (Note: No limitation is placed on activities defined below as “AIR, BAGS or CONTROL” contact.

(a)  For purposes of this by-law, the following definitions shall apply: AIR – Players run a drill unopposed without contact; BAGS – Players run a drill against a bag or another soft-contact surface; CONTROL – Players run a drill at assigned speed until the moment of contact and one player is pre-determined the “winner” by the coach. Contact remains above the waist and players stay on their feet; THUD – Players run a drill at competitive speed through the moment of contact with no pre-determined “winner.” Contact remains above the waist, players stay on their feet and a quick whistle ends the drill; LIVE ACTION – Players run a drill in game-like conditions and is the only time that players are taken to the ground; FULL CONTACT – Contact which meets the definition of Live Action or Thud.

(b)  Pre-Season & Spring Practice & Summer Contact Camps:

1)    Full contact shall be allowed in no more than 2 consecutive practice days per week;

2)    Full contact during practice shall be limited to not more than 45 minutes per day;

3)    Full contact during practice shall be limited to not more than 135 minutes per week; and

4)    During any twice-daily practice, only one session per day shall include full contact.

5)    In Summer Contact Camps, the only form of Full Contact allowed is Thud.

6)    Schools will be limited to attending no more than three (3) Team Contact Camps per summer (no more than eight (8) days total).

(c)   Regular & Post Season Practice:

1) Full contact during practice shall be allowed in no more than three (3) practice days per week;

2) Full contact during practice shall not be allowed on more than two (2) consecutive days;

3) Full contact during practice shall be limited to not more than 30 minutes per day;

4) Full contact during practice shall be limited to not more than 90 minutes per week.

(d)  Written Practice Plans: A written practice plan in compliance with this by-law shall be  prepared in advance by the head coach prior to every practice and maintained by the school for a period of at least twelve (12) months. Such practice plans shall be made available to the GHSA upon request.

(e)  Violations: The penalty to be imposed upon any member school found to have violated this by-law in any substantial manner shall be as follows:

1)    First Offense: A fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2500 per violation at the discretion of the Executive Director.

2)    Second Offense: The school shall be placed on probation and shall not be eligible to participate in post season play.

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