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Last Updated: 10/14/2016 (see highlighted areas)

 

Annual Blackout Policy of the Idaho High School Lacrosse League

Executive Summary

In a perfect world, we would not need any sort of rules to stipulate when coaches are allowed to coach or teams allowed to begin practicing on team concepts. Coaches and team officials would act responsibly and conduct themselves with the best intentions for not only their own players, but all players in the Valley and across the state – remaining focused on the overall growth of the sport and the lessons, skills, and experiences gained by players through participating in it.

Due to multiple violations by coaches in the Valley, we have handcuffed individual player development with the ‘zero contact’ rule as defined by the 2014 IHSLL Blackout Policy. With the knowledge that many of the offending coaches have since departed from the league, we propose changes to the policy in order to allow for player development and the opportunity for players to be coached on fundamental skills in a limited capacity.

The policy herein is intended for the sole purpose to allow coaches to assist players on fundamental and one-on-one type development, while ensuring all players and programs are given the most even playing field feasible at the official start of each season.

We fully intend on this document being considered a ‘living document,’ in that, as the league grows and new situations may arise, we recognize the potential need to make appropriate and necessary edits to this policy each year.

1. Statement of Purpose. Ideally, this body could simply promulgate black-and-white rules which were not easily circumvented and from which all members could determine and pursue the correct course of action. However, practicality demands that these rules allow for some degree of flexibility.

It is the duty of all members of the Idaho High School Lacrosse League (“IHSLL”) to adhere not only to the letter of this Policy, but also the spirit; attempts to circumvent the rules will not be tolerated. Coaches (defined below) in particular must understand the intent of this Policy. When presented with a situation or opportunity which is not expressly discussed herein, Coaches must strive to make decisions that honor the intent of these rules. Where an ambiguous situation presents the potential for conflict with the Policy, it is the Coach’s responsibility to discuss the matter with the IHSLL prior to acting.

2. Definitions. Certain terms used herein are defined as follows:

2.1. “Blackout Period.” The period of time during each year that the rules set forth herein are deemed to be in effect.

2.2. “IHSLL Board.” The duly-elected executive board members of the Idaho High School Lacrosse League.

2.3. “Coach or plural Coaches.” Any coach (paid or non-paid), assistant coach, trainer, or volunteer (including parents), collectively “Coaching Staff,” who, within the last twelve (12) months has been associated with a given lacrosse Program’s Coaching Staff. This also includes any person who has been hired or is expected to be hired or otherwise join the staff within the next twelve (12) months.

2.4. “Coaching.” Any instruction and/or training provided to players to make them better lacrosse players. Coaching includes, but is not limited to, any and all instruction related to methods, strategies, schemes, philosophies, review or analysis of film or playbooks, etc. related to lacrosse, regardless of whether such instruction actually involves or pertains directly to the game of lacrosse. Coaching also includes any observation, with or without interaction, of any instruction and/or training as described above.

2.4. “Coaching.” Any instruction and/or training, or observation of such instruction and/or training, by a Coach that is intended to improve the lacrosse related skill set of a Player(s) within specific to the Program to which he is a member.

2.5. The “Committee.” The Blackout Committee with the power and responsibility to enforce this Policy (see Section 3 herein).

2.6. “Player.” High school students who are participants of a given Program. This also includes students who are expected to join or attempt to join a given Program within the next six (6) months.

2.7. “Program.” An IHSLL high school member team.

2.8. “Three Strike Policy.” Pertaining to the consequences of violations of the Blackout Policy. Coaches are subject to three strikes of varying severity, relative to the timeframe in which the offenses occurred. The “Three Strike Policy” is limited to a period of a three consecutive years in which the offenses occurred.

3. Blackout Committee. The IHSLL shall establish a regular procedure for the election or appointment of a committee of no less than five (5) persons which committee shall have the sole responsibility and authority to enforce this Policy (i.e., the “Committee” defined hereinabove). The Committee’s members shall be subject to reconfirmation or replacement no less than annually. The Committee’s members may or may not be members of the IHSLL Board.

4. Blackout Period. The Blackout Period will begin on the first Sunday of November and extend through midnight of the final Thursday in February. During this time there shall be no contact related to lacrosse between a Coach and his or her Players except as follows:

4.1. The “Rule of Five.” Up to five (5) Players may be assembled and receive Coaching at one time by a Coach of the same Program.

Coaches and programs are prohibited from organizing, facilitating, or directing the organization of lacrosse practice, lacrosse camp, lacrosse competition, or Coaching (as defined herein), which involves or incorporates more than five Players at a time.

4.1.1. It is a violation to position players or coaches in any way that could be deemed as an attempt to circumvent the rule. This includes, but is not limited to, a Coach assembling more than five Players but only providing Coaching to five players at a time, multiple coaches only coaching five players at a time, etc.

4.1.2. Exceptions to Section 4.1.

4.1.2.1. This prohibition does not apply to sport-specific or athletic classes offered as part of the school’s regularly offered academic curriculum or supplementary unit as part of that school’s regularly offered curriculum and subject to the following criteria:  1. The class must occur during the regular school day. 2. Must be open to all students; 3. Must be a class for credit; 4. If the Coach is teaching the class, he/she must be the teacher of record for that class.

4.1.2.2. This prohibition does not apply to sport-specific or athletic classes offered during the regular school day so long as it meets the following criteria: 1. Must be open to all students; 2. Must be a class for credit; 3. If the Coach is teaching the class, he/she must be the teacher of record for that class.

4.1.2.3. This prohibition does not apply to the following club teams, as many current coaches in the Valley hold coaching positions for these clubs. Said clubs include: Boise River, Boise United, Meridian Outlaws, Sawtooth, and True Lacrosse. Any new or emerging club wishing to be included in this exception must provide proof of official status to the IHSLL Board.

4.1.2.3.1. Requirements to be considered a club team in exception of the IHSLL Blackout Policy 4.1.2.3: 1) Must be a paid club, 2) Club must participate in some sort of Recruiting Event or Tournament within two weeks of the conclusion of the blackout dates, 3) IHSLL Board must be notified within 45 days of event’s first game.

4.2. Allowed Organized Events. Teams will be allowed a total of four (4) team events for the use of team practices, chalk-talk, and any other lacrosse-specific activity that may be deemed as normally violating the blackout policy. These events must be made known to the league no later than the first business day in January. If an event day is to change, this must be made known to the league no fewer than one week before the earliest occurring date (regardless of it being the original date or the new date). Any team found to be in violation of these dates, will be subject to the same penalties as laid out in 6. Consequences for Violations of the Policy.

4.3. Player-Organized Events. This Policy does not prohibit Players from assembling to play, train, practice, or study lacrosse without the involvement of a Coach. However, participation by players in such activities during the Blackout Period shall be voluntary and will not be required by the team or its Coaching Staff to participate in the Program.

4.4. The following is also expressly prohibited:

4.4.1. The Head Coach, or any member of the Coaching Staff, are prohibited from observing Players of that Program play lacrosse or participate in any Coaching (except as provided in Section 4.1 hereinabove).

4.4.1.1. Exception to Section 4.4.1. A Coach may observe if: 1. His/her child is a participant; OR 2. Said Coach is acting as a registered official assigned to that specific contest; OR 3. Said Coach is observing in a purely spectator capacity. When acting as a spectator, no effort to Coach, either via verbal or non-verbal cues will be tolerated and no notes or observations may be made that would constitute scouting for the intended purpose to provide player instruction or feedback.

4.5. Any Coach who is confused or unsure whether a planned activity will violate this rule is required to submit the issue to the Committee for comment and approval.

5. Acknowledgment of Policy. The designated Head Coach and Parent Representative, as defined in the IHSLL policy, of each Program are required to sign the agreement attached hereto as Exhibit “A” and thereby acknowledge that each is aware of and will abide by this Policy. The head coach and parent rep are responsible for educating every member of their Program (Players, Coaches, staff, and parents) of the Policy and for enforcing it within their Program.

6. Consequences for Violations of the Policy. The Committee has the absolute authority to enforce this Policy. The Committee may consider mitigating factors and, at its sole discretion may elect to impose the following consequences for both cumulative and concurrent offenses in an overarching ‘Three Strike’ Policy of punishment.

6.1. Concurrent. Up to three offenses not occurring within the same season of play.

6.1.1. First Offense: Offending Coaches will be suspended for subsequent two games after the offense and any program activity within the timeframe of said games.

6.1.2. Second Offense: Offending Coaches will be suspended for the subsequent four games after the offense and any program activity within the timeframe of said games.

6.1.3. Third Offense: Offending Coaches will be subject to an indefinite suspension from the IHSLL and may not act as a Coach or be associated as the Coach in any official capacity with a Program. The suspension shall be in effect until such time as the Coach is officially reinstated by majority vote of the IHSLL Board, which reinstatement shall be at the sole discretion of the IHSLL Board.

6.1.3.1. An enforcement decision by the Committee under this Section 6.5 shall be subject to review and ratification by at least a majority vote of the IHSLL Board.

6.2 Cumulative. Offenses occurring within the same season of play. Punishment for offenses is harsher due to the severity and timeframe of which the offenses occurred.

6.2.1. First Offense: Offending Coaches will be suspended for subsequent two games after the offense and any program activity within the timeframe of said games.

6.2.2. Second Offense: Offending Coaches will be suspended through the remainder of the season following the blackout dates in which the offense occurred in.

6.2.3. Third Offense: Offending Coaches will be subject to an indefinite suspension from the IHSLL and may not act as a Coach or be associated as the Coach in any official capacity with a Program. The suspension shall be in effect until such time as the Coach is officially reinstated by majority vote of the IHSLL Board, which reinstatement shall be at the sole discretion of the IHSLL Board.

6.2.3.1. An enforcement decision by the Committee under this Section 6.5 shall be subject to review and ratification by at least a majority vote of the IHSLL Board.

6.3 Exception to Violations. If coaches are found to have violated the policy any number of times after the actual date of violation, coaches will be punished pertaining to the number of violations occurred.

6.3.1. Example: If Coach A violates Blackout policy twice, then is discovered to have violated policy, Coach A will be punished at the rate of the second offense and the timeframe of which the offenses occurred in.

6.4. Due Process.

6.4.1. Majority Vote. All enforcement decisions made under this Policy by the Committee or the IHSLL Board shall be by no less than two-thirds (2/3) majority.

6.4.2. Right to Hearing. Programs and Coaches who have been accused of violating this policy, and against whom the IHSLL has elected to enforce the Policy, shall have the right to a hearing before the Committee prior to the IHSLL taking any action under this Section 6 of the Policy. The Coach shall have the right to speak at the hearing and explain or disprove the allegations of misconduct. The Coach or Program shall have the right to present up to three (3) witnesses. The Committee shall consider all evidence presented with regard to the alleged misconduct before rendering an enforcement decision.

6.4.2.1. Record. This hearing shall be recorded via audio or video device in order that the IHSLL Board can properly review the Committee’s decision. No coach or Program shall be subject to punishment under this Policy in the event that the Committee fails to record the enforcement hearing.

6.4.3. Right to Appeal. A Program or Coach subject to punishment under Sections 6.1 or 6.2 of this Policy shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Committee within five business days of the consequences being decided. Accordingly, the program or Coach shall have the right to a hearing before the IHSLL Board prior to the IHSLL Board’s review and ratification of the Committee’s enforcement decision. The Coach shall have the right to speak at the hearing and explain or disprove the allegations of misconduct.

The Coach or Program shall not have the right to present witnesses. The IHSLL Board shall render its decision based on the testimony of the program or Coach presented during the appeal hearing and the information previously presented to the Committee. The recording required under Section 6.4.2.1 herein shall be made available to each member of the IHSLL Board and each member shall review such recording in full. The Board shall consider all evidence and circumstances presented with regard to the alleged misconduct before rendering a decision as to whether to ratify or overturn the Committee’s decision.

AGREEMENT TO ABIDE BY POLICY

The IHSLL requires the Head Coach and one Parent Representative from each program to ‘sign’ this document as understanding of its content and the dissemination of it. Please understand the responsibility to educate each program falls with the Head Coach and Parent Representative from each program. By submitting your name to the below link, you are committing to and assuring that your program and the members of it will understand and abide by the policy laid out in this document.

Sign the Policy Here: https://goo.gl/forms/qNMTJRXU2xJznu0w2