Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fielding a football team during summer requires different set of rules

Nature Coast’s C.J. Baker takes part in a seven-on-seven game last summer. Players are free to join other teams in the summer.

KERI WIGINTON | Times (2008)

Nature Coast’s C.J. Baker takes part in a seven-on-seven game last summer. Players are free to join other teams in the summer.

Football teams and their high school coaches working together in the summer used to be taboo. Now, year-round practice is common and virtually mandatory.

Take various weekdays this summer. At campuses across the Times' four-county coverage area (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando), varsity and junior varsity teams play in seven-on-seven flag football leagues.

Head coaches supervise their teams. So, on Wednesdays at Gaither for example, Robert Weiner coaches the Plant team, David Mitchell coaches Wharton, and so on. But football players can play with any team they want. If an Armwood player wanted to join Freedom kids for the summer, there's no rule against that.

The rule change began with the 2006-07 school year after an FHSAA assembly voted to repeal the "50 percent clause" by a 46-6 vote, which limited coaches from working with their players out of season. The change came after schools in rural areas struggled to field teams with players other than those at one school, and in some cases were at risk of putting kids in the hands of less qualified coaches or those with hidden agendas.

"Our board of directors wanted a method that would put the students in the hands of the educationally based coaches more than the non-educational coaches," FHSAA associate executive director Sonny Hester said in an e-mail.

So what are the rules today?

• The FHSAA does not regulate summer athletics with the exception of football (ref. Policy 22 in FHSAA handbook). Instead, it calls on local school boards to create and enforce summer guidelines. Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando follow bylaws in the FHSAA handbook.

• Football teams are prohibited from wearing helmets or pads, and cannot partake in hitting of any form. Participation in leagues such as seven-on-seven is okay as long as there is a published schedule of competition.

• Coaches can host camps, clinics and workshops during the summer and must open them to any student. Coaches cannot transport kids to or from the event and cannot use the event to recruit participants to attend their school. Students can accept a fee for working the event. Students can attend a camp as an individual throughout the year, and teams can attend camps in the summer.

• Participation in summer activities is voluntary. No one can be forced to participate — directly or indirectly — for membership on a team.

• Offseason conditioning programs on campus are voluntary and open to all students at the school. Workouts must be supervised by school personnel.

• Coaches may contact students for various reasons (resolving insurance issues, reviewing film, building morale, etc.).

• All participation fees and assessments must be documented.

• Playing with a team primarily made up of kids from another school followed by a student's transfer to that school is considered a move for athletic purposes. Unless cleared by FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing, the student must sit out 365 days from the enrollment date.

• Possible penalties for a school that breaks the rules include a minimum $2,500 fine per violation, loss of practice time, loss of a preseason classic or jamboree with a reimbursement of a minimum $500 to each affected school and the FHSAA, reduction in regular-season home contests and loss of privileges to participate in the FHSAA state series.

Izzy Gould can be reached at

On the Web

Have a question for one of our prep writers? Want to sound off in response to one of our county-by-county writers' blogs? Nominate Top Performers for the month? For this and more, check out our high school sports blog at

Fielding a football team during summer requires different set of rules 06/25/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue


    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former LSU/Countryside softball player AJ Andrews, now w/ Akron, is the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year history. (Courtesy of Rawlings)
  2. James Wilder Jr. back at running Canada


    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  3. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)