High School Notebook : Basketball Coaches May Be Unleashed From Their Restrictions

The “seat belt rule” may be close to being rescinded in California. Not for drivers--for basketball coaches.

California high school basketball coaches are required to sit on the team’s bench during play or get a technical foul. No pacing, no walking to the scorer’s table, no exhorting the team--and no discussions with the officials while standing.

But the National Federation of State High School Assns. has given each state permission to lift the rule if desired.

According to Kendall Webb, San Diego Section commissioner, the 10 California section commissioners have agreed to place the item on the agenda at the the Oct. 21 meeting of the state CIF Federated Council, which makes state rules.


“We agreed that either all or none of the sections in the state would take away the rule,” Webb said. “We’re not saying we want it or don’t want it. We’re saying let’s discuss it.”

Most coaches are in favor of abolishing the rule. But Webb said many high school administrators would like to keep it as a control mechanism. Stay tuned.

One change that’s certain will occur during the high school baseball season.

The national federation has stipulated that each state establish a limit on how much high school pitchers should be allowed to throw during a certain period. It’s up to the state CIF Federated Council to determine what that limit will be.


Of the 10 California sections, only 1 has a limit. Pitchers in the SacJoaquin section can throw no more than 10 innings in a 3-day period, and that must be followed by 2 days of rest.

Webb said it is likely either that limit, or another, proposed by the Southern Section, that would limit pitchers to 30 outs or 3 appearances in a calendar week, will be passed at the state Federated Council meeting on Friday.

The playoff format for the section water polo championships is expected to be increased from 12 to 16 teams to accommodate the increasing number of automatic qualifiers. Section by-laws state that 2 teams will advance to the playoffs in leagues with 5 or more teams, and 1 team will advance from leagues with fewer than 5 teams.

Under those conditions, there would have been 12 automatic qualifiers and no room for at-large teams. That would have left Coronado, an independent and the section champion last year and 3 of the past 5 years, out of the tournament.

“It’s the only way, otherwise I don’t know why we are playing,” Coronado Coach Randy Burgess said.

Growth is part of the problem, with 38 teams competing this year, 4 more than last season. Also, the Grossmont Conference split into separate 2-A and 3-A leagues this season, adding another automatic qualifier.

There is only one section title for water polo.

Burgess said that he does not expect the sport to divide into 3-A and 2-A divisions even though the teams have increased in number.


“I think we’re still in a growth period,” Burgess said. “I think we could add 6, 7 or 8 teams before we can consider that. I don’t think we’re ready yet.”