The North Carolina High School Athletic Association gathered in Chapel Hill on Wednesday for their second meeting of 2016.
Among the items approved by the board were the approval of a baseball pitch count, a new Spring practice option for football skill development, changes for seeding in the 2017 basketball state championships, and even a few changes to transfer policies.
New pitch count rules for high school baseball have been a topic of conversation for a while now, as concerns over the amount time players are given to rest in this day and age with so many kids playing for travel teams outside of their school team.
Under the new rule, the maximum number of pitches allowed in a single day will be 105, but pitchers are allowed to finish facing the batter in which they reach that number.
In addition, there are mandatory rest days required based on the number of pitches a pitcher throws in a game:
- If a pitcher throws more than 76 pitches in a day, four rest days are required before pitching again.
- If a pitcher throws 61-75, three rest days are required.
- If a pitcher throws 46-60, two rest days are required.
- If a pitcher throws 31-45, one rest day is required.
- If a pitcher throws 1-30 pitches, no rest days are required.
Football coaches will now have two options for how to conduct player development in the spring.
For the past two years, coaches have had a ten-day window in May to conduct skill development with an unlimited numbers of athletes. Under the new rule, coaches can still use the previous model, or they can choose to conduct workouts with just 21 athletes per day throughout the entire off-season with the exception of dead periods.
It’s long been argued that North Carolina needed to adopt a spring practice model closer to the new option now available to coaches, considering many other states, like Texas and Florida, allow high schools to conduct spring practice in a similar manner to Division-1 colleges, with some even hosting spring scrimmage games every year.
Another change adopted by the NCHSAA board on Wednesday was direct result of Hurricane Matthew, and the issues it caused during football season.
Because the storm required the NCHSAA to extend the football season by one week, the overlap of football and basketball seasons were even more drastic, causing many basketball teams to play a number of games without their full roster of players.
As a result, the board has decided that for this season only, the seeding for the playoffs in 2017 will be determined by a 20-game record, as opposed to the traditional 22-game record.
This change will impact both girls and boys basketball and will only effect this season.