Mandatory Break? Dead time rule is complicated, misunderstood
Olympus softball coach Cyndee Bennett said the push to do more with and for high school athletes comes from parents and the athletes themselves. Bennett was a three-sport athlete in high school and believes her versatility made her more attractive to the University of Utah where she earned a softball scholarship.
"Unfortunately, our student athletes have to get so sport specific in order to succeed in their primary sport," said Bennett. "I think it's good for them to have time off… The kids need the time to be kids, to focus on their academics."
She doesn't see a reduction in the dead time as an advantage or disadvantage, and it certainly won't change what parents are willing to do to help their children earn scholarships or succeed on a high school or club team.
"Some parents have the idea that an athletic scholarship is more beneficial than an academic scholarship," said Thompson. "When I look at what some are investing in club soccer or club volleyball, I'm just appalled."
Most coaches acknowledge parents will often supplement what they provide, even when it is the maximum the state allows. Unfortunately, the rules set up to protect high school coaches and student athletes may now be the cause of some of the problems.
"I think what's happening is that it's making the rich richer and the poor poorer," Thompson said. "Those schools with affluent constitutents … have the opportunity for their kids to play together year-round. The kid who can't afford to do that, a school that's not quite as blessed and a coach who may be willing to work with that kid, but is barred from doing so because of dead time. We're hoping this can be dealt with through some adjustments. It's a long discussion, and we need to decide what exactly it is we're trying to accomplish with dead time. And then we need to find something that will accomplish that."