BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
MIDVALE – The Utah High School activities Association board of trustees approved all seven proposed changes to the association’s constitutions and by-laws, including a newly written section 6, under article 7, that covers penalties and infractions when teams use ineligible athletes.
Now, doing so will result in forfeiture or disqualification for the entire team.
“Every procedure change is voted on by the high schools,” said Kevin Dustin, executive director for UHSAA. “Votes are done by the district, and then those votes go to the schools. They have to be heard in two different meetings, and the results are voted on.”
The issue was brought up in response to the cases of East and Timpview, whose football teams were punished publicly last fall for using ineligible athletes.
“Any rule change is often the result of a situation such as that,” Dustin said. “We see the results, evaluate them, and go into great discussion about the changes. We do the best we can with the information we have, and we try to resolve the issues as they come along.”
Two decades ago, the ineligibility rule may not have been such a big issue because “no (student athlete) would change schools” or at least not change schools often, Dustin said.
“Now they seem to change schools all the time,” he said. “Or you’d see a family with three kids in three different schools, and that was something we raised concerns about. We had to find a way to control the issue there.”
During the board meeting, trustees also added interpretations to the section regarding the rules of a contest for specific sports, and what the infractions are for each sport regarding the use of ineligible players.
In the cases of football, basketball, baseball, soccer, softball and volleyball, for instance, the penalty is team forfeiture.
On the other hand, if a member of a drill team is ineligible and participates in a routine, “that routine shall not receive a score nor shall it be considered for a place in that particular category.”
Also written into the by-laws is a “vacation” punishment, where a team’s records, awards, and/or championships will be vacated if an ineligible player is found to have participated in any event.
Fines have also been changed to $1,500 per infraction.
All of the changes made to the constitution/by-laws can be seen on the association’s website, uhsaa.org.