Monday, April 27, 2009

Florida high school athletes to play fewer games

In order to save money, the Florida High School Athletic Association is cutting the number of varsity games by 20 percent.

The association's board of directors voted 9-6 Monday to make the cuts which will last two years. Football was unaffected.

"It's written in the proposal to have a sunset after two years. That's it. We really mean two years," board president Greg Zornes said in a statement. "We fully intend to restore what we had until today at the end of the two-year period."

The rule change was designed to cut costs for Florida high school athletic departments, which are facing tough budget constraints.

"These are unprecedented times," Zornes said. "People are losing their jobs as schools are cutting millions and millions of dollars from their budgets. Our job is to look out for all the schools."

Critics say the rules change will reduce opportunities for students and cost some schools money they gain by hosting games.

The board on Monday denied three amendments to the proposal, and in June will consider a recommendation regarding schools without football.

"We tried to bring in a uniform and systematic approach to a problem," executive director Dr. Roger Dearing said in a statement. "We are hopeful this will ensure the future of all sports at all levels of competition. It will not affect all schools in all ways, but it will help a vast majority of those schools facing the elimination of certain sports."

-- Observer News Services