The Alabama High School Athletic Association was planning on bringing in big names from college football coaching to speak at its 18th annual summer conference. Names like Saban, Malzahn, Richt and others who lead their teams to big wins.
But none of those coaches will be coming now, thanks to new legislation from the NCAA, the governing body of college athletics.
The legislation, passed by the NCAA in October 2013, prohibits Division I college head coaches and their assistant coaches from attending high school all-star football contests.
AHSAA officials originally interpreted the legislation to mean it would only affect the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game, not its summer conference. After learning that the new ruling also applies to the summer conference, AHSAA officials appealed directly to the NCAA, but were denied an appeal seeking a waiver for the 2014 event.
The summer conference is designed to offer professional development programs for coaches in 18 of the 24 sports offered by the ASHAA and draws more than 5,000 coaches and administrators.
"We are very disappointed," Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association Director Alvin Briggs said. "It's unfortunate that our Division I coaches will not be able to attend..."
Biggs was upbeat, however, adding, "but we will have great replacements this year and will continue to have outstanding conferences for years to come."
The solution? AHSAA leaders are turning to Division II and junior college coaches, as well as some retired college coaches.
Still, Biggs called the denied appeal "disappointing", explaining, "our high school coaches won't be receiving professional development instruction at our conference from some of the nation's best current college coaches."
"We hope that as the NCAA membership evaluates future state association sponsored professional development conferences that contain all-star game components, priority consideration will be given to the educational emphasis the state high school associations place on such events," AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said.
The conference will go on, running from July 21 to 25 in Montgomery.
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