“Well, it’s about time!”
“Why only a week? It ought to be at least two weeks.”
Those were the first and foremost reactions when the week-long “dead period” was adopted and implemented for the first time during the summer of 2007. After several years of study and surveys and statewide discussion, the MHSAA Representative Council approved the policy that school coaches would not interact in athletic settings with students of their school districts in grades 7 through 12, and schools would not allow others to use school facilities to do what school coaches could not, during the seven consecutive summer days of each district’s choosing.
It was a response to students, parents and coaches alike, each looking for a little time away, perhaps some family time, a period where they wouldn’t have to be worried that one team was gaining an advantage while another team took a break.
In most school districts – more than 90 percent, according to our surveys – the seven consecutive days somehow include the July 4th holiday. In some districts, the break is utilized to refinish gym floors or perform other important maintenance that would chase away users.
While the dead period’s adoption was one of the most universally praised policy changes of the past decade, it has not been without requests for modification. There’s been some criticism that the organized competition of non-school summer baseball and softball is exempted, and there have been several requests to provide tennis and swimming & diving that same special treatment.
In 2007, almost 60 percent of 807 respondents to the MHSAA fall Update Meeting Survey expressed a favorable opinion to lengthening the dead period from seven to ten or 14 consecutive days; but the majority opposed any change in application of the policy to tennis, swimming & diving or baseball/softball.
It likely is now, or soon will be, the dead period for your school district. Use the time to think about something else, and to do something different.