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Column: GHSA makes the right call with the dead week

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of AllOnGeorgia.

There is silence at Brunswick High. There is silence at Glynn Academy.

No one is playing basketball this week. Nobody is practicing football, and no one is hitting baseballs or softballs in the batting cages.

This week is different than the summer weeks we’ve had up until this point and those that will take place starting next week leading into the start of another school year.

It’s the Dead Week in the Georgia High School Association.

Member schools best not be holding any organized athletics activities at anytime this week.

This means no weightlifting sessions. It means no basketball scrimmages, and it means no 7-on-7 passing tournaments for football teams.

It means no school or coach can hold an organized event, even one of those so-called voluntary deals.

If an athlete or a group of athletes is doing something on campus or even away from the school, they better truly be doing it on their own.

Or else, someone will be answering to the GHSA sometime in the near future.

I don’t know what the penalties are should someone get caught doing something they aren’t supposed to this week, but there’s really no sense in pushing the limits.

Players, coaches, athletic officials, they all should take a break. That’s the point of the Dead Week which was instituted several years back to fall around the Fourth of July.

This year, the exact time frame is Sunday, July 1 through Saturday, July 7.

That’s seven full days for everyone to rest and relax and take a break from the grind that high school athletics can be.

For all I know, GHSA officials instituted the dead period to ensure they got a break in the middle of the summer to make sure their office phones don’t ring for a full seven days.

Or maybe, the athletic directors around the state got together and ganged up on the GHSA to put the week into play so they got a built-in break from dealing with their own coaches, parents and boosters in mid-summer.

Or maybe, the ADs asked for it to make sure their hard-working coaches would take some time off and take a much-needed break that maybe they deserve but are afraid to take.

I don’t know.

But I do know that the dead week was largely put into place to protect the prep athletes themselves. And truthfully, to protect them from their coaches.

Some of these guys and gals would work the kids to death if something like this wasn’t in place. And really, they would keep grinding themselves without taking a break between school years, too.

That’s how coaches are. Many of them believe in going, going, going and grinding, grinding, grinding. They might give their kids the occassional day off during the summer, but a whole week?

Nah, probably not, unless they are told to do so like they are with the dead period in effect.

The way it is, most baseball activities wrap up in June prior to the dead period. And it’s largely the same with basketball as prep teams attend camps and play in summer leagues and tournaments mostly in June.

Other sports like volleyball, softball and cross country will start gearing up for their fall seasons later in the summer, but nowadays they are allowed to work in the earlier weeks of the summer. So, they too have to stop during the dead week.

Make no mistake, though. This rule was put into play most because of football. There once was a time when football teams lifted weights in the summer months and maybe did some conditioning workouts on the field as they awaited the start of preseason practice in August.

But, that was about it.

Those days have been long over and done, however.

Nowadays, the entire summer is really preseason camp for football programs in Georgia.

Teams come out of spring ball in May and pretty well keep on going. They might take some time off in the final days of the school year for the players to concentrate on final exams. And maybe, they give them a few days off after school is let out for the summer.

But other than that, and maybe some days off here and there, the summer is basically preseason camp anymore.

Teams do things differently. Pretty much any program worth two cents will have their players lifting weights.

And most all of them will do some on-field work as well, whether that is 7-on-7 passing competitions, attending camps by position groupings or holding padded practices against other teams which are allowed in the summertime now.

Some programs just do more of these things than others. For instance, some coaches will go to a 7-on-7 deal every week, but others may only participate in one or two of those because they don’t value those events as much as others.

Bottom line is the GHSA has allowed football teams more leeway in the summer months to get things done leading into the season.

But in doing so, they also put in parameters to monitor things like two-a-day practices in preseason camp and of course put in the dead week to make sure nothing takes place for at least one whole week in the summer.

It makes sense also that this week falls in line with the Fourth of July holiday as it essentially comes in the middle of the summer. Teams can work out and attend camps in June, take this week off, and then resume their summer activities for the rest of the month before school generally starts in early August.

The GHSA gets things wrong a lot of times and takes heat on a lot of issues, too.

But, they are spot on with this dead week deal.

It’s a good thing.

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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