Moratorium weeks assigned by the IHSAA are a lightning rod for contrasting opinions:
They’re thought to be either an ill-timed interruption of summer conditioning or a much-deserved rest for athletes and coaches.
Every summer the IHSAA has a seven-day period in which there can be no contact between athletes and coaches. It’s a week during which no athletics activities can take place — including conditioning.
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This year’s moratorium begins Monday, July 4, and runs through Sunday, July 10.
This marks the 12th year of the moratorium. The IHSAA Board of Directors formally approved the moratorium to go into effect in the summer of 2005.
Moratorium weeks have been established through 2021, though IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said changes at some point in the future haven’t been ruled out.
“The question of moratorium and potential changes are as varied as our member schools,” Cox said. “Generally speaking, the membership is strongly in favor of our current moratorium week yet largely undecided about additional moratorium time and placement within the summer calendar.”
School systems incorporating a balanced calendar are experiencing drastically lessened summer vacations from what the traditional school calendar offered.
Moratorium weeks in Indiana are always the week that includes July 4.
“I think the original design for it was excellent in terms of giving them a week off and making sure people are spending adequate time with their families,” Center Grove football coach Eric Moore said. “It was a great idea.
“But that’s when we started football Aug. 12 or 13 and started school the 20th. You still had a week of two-a-days. That’s all gone now. School starts Aug. 1, so, in essence, you’re giving them off the first week of July and then you cannot do anything football-related the last week of July, as well.
“You can only lift and run. You can’t have footballs out. You can’t have practices. You really have two moratorium weeks from practicing football.”
Blaine Williams, who coaches girls/boys cross-country and track and field at Greenwood Community High School, is satisfied with the way moratoriums are currently scheduled.
“It gives the coaches and kids a chance to take a vacation if they want to,” Williams said. “In cross-country I know they’re going to run on their own, so I don’t worry about it.
“Especially coaching a fall sport, if you’re not putting in the time in the summer you’re behind when the season starts. With school calendars the way they are now, the landscape has changed so much.”
In the IHSAA rule book, summer is defined as beginning the Tuesday after Memorial Day and concluding the day before the Monday of Week 5. Also addressed are rules pertaining to open facilities, camps and clinics and football practice guidelines.
Moore said he thinks it’s not aligned to best serve schools observing a balanced calendar.
“The problem with everything is the IHSAA has not locked up with this year-round schedule like Center Grove and so many schools are on,” Moore said. “I think they need to sit down and re-evaluate everything we do in spring from the start of track to the end of the baseball championship.
“I’m not sure. Maybe the whole month of June should be moratorium. I think it needs to be addressed.”
Whiteland girls/boys track and field coach Brandon Bangel knows the pressure on athletes and coaches to succeed is greater than it’s ever been before.
Therefore, the training of high school student-athletes rarely comes to a stop.
“I’m glad they do a mandatory week off. There are times you feel maybe it’s not enough,” Bangel said. “Anymore, if you’re a fall athlete you get that moratorium week and that’s about it.
“There’s not a lot of time away, that’s for sure.”
The IHSAA’s moratorium weeks the next five years:
2017 – July 3 to 9
2018 – July 2 to 8
2019 – July 1 to 7
2020 – June 29 to July 5
2021 – June 28 to July 4