By Wil Crews

Over the last couple of weeks, the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has been in the headlines.

First, Executive Director Steve Saverese announced his impending retirement.

“It’s now time for me to devote my time to my family,” Savarese said in an AHSAA online article. “I’ve had an awesome time, teaching, coaching, serving as an administrator and most humbly serving as the executive director of the AHSAA. To follow icons such as Cliff Harper, Bubba Scott and Dan Washburn has been the greatest honor of my life.

“Professionally, I would not change anything regarding my career. I genuinely feel as if I’ve never worked a day in my life. I’ve tried to approach each day knowing that nothing worthwhile was ever achieved without enthusiasm. God has truly blessed me.”

Then, the AHSAA Legislative Council ratified six proposals pertaining to the alteration of rules for Alabama high school sports.

Among the most notable of proposals that passed was proposal No. 18 — the elimination of the 50% rule — which limited participation outside the sports season during the school year to just 50% of the number it takes to field a team in that sport.

“This was a landmark decision that eliminates a rule that has been in effect for as long as I can remember,” said Savarese in an AHSAA online article. “This will have an immediate impact on all our member school student-athletes. The legislative council followed the vote of their districts, which is a great example of how our democratic process works.”

According to the article, the other proposals that were ratified are:

PROPOSAL No. 1: Rule 3, Section 15 was amended to remove a note that prohibited a coach from working with an in-season athlete for an out-of-season sport.

PROPOSAL No. 3: Amended Rule 1, Section 6 to state: “Members of any school team may receive private individual instruction in a group setting ONLY with members from their school or feeder school.”

PROPOSAL No. 12: In the sport of football, if the visiting school forfeits in year one of a two-year contract period, the school that forfeited should travel in year two. The money from ticket sales during year two should then be split between the two schools.

PROPOSAL No. 14: Allows football teams to participate in one preseason jamboree one week prior to a team’s first varsity contest regardless of whether a team’s season begins Week Zero or Week 1.

PROPOSAL No. 19: Allows spring sports to begin practice on Martin Luther King Day each January, beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

All legislative proposals that passed will go into effect next school year except for one, which will begin in 2022-23.

Lastly, the AHSAA Central Board approved a $1.7 million revenue payout to its member schools for the 2019-20 season in its annual spring meeting. The payout comes after the board chose to hold revenue sharing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the article, member schools will likely be getting another revenue payout in October that should equal or surpass the payout approved last week. In addition, the article also said that the $1 charge placed on playoff tickets in the past now goes directly to member schools and, as a result, schools have received approximately $450,000 in additional revenue this school year.

Other business of note:

The board approved a recommendation from the competition committee to add a fourth classification in the sport of wrestling beginning in the 2022-23 season.

The board approved the modified three-day scheduled for volleyball used last October for subsequent state tournaments.

The board approved a change for football Super 7 state championships, where instead of predetermined stipends for participating, each team/school would receive 38% of the gate receipts sold through GoFan.

The board approved a ticket price increase in all sports beginning 2021-22.

The board approved the 2021 Super 7 football and basketball final audit.

The board approved the 2021 financial reports for region and state bowling, dual and state wrestling, indoor track, regional basketball, Alabama-Mississippi All-Star basketball and the 2020 football playoffs.

To read more about the actions at the central board’s annual spring meeting:

To read more about the legislative council’s approved proposals:

To read more about the accomplishments and retirement of Savarese: