Faulkton Area High School Principal Craig Cassens has been elected chairman of the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors. Brookings Activities Director Randy Soma will serve as vice chairman.
The election took place during the SDHSAA board of directors meeting in Pierre on Thursday. While board members met in person in Pierre, due to COVID-19 concerns the public and member schools were allowed to monitor the meeting via the internet.
When Cassens calls his first meeting to order in August, he will have three new board members. School board member Marty Weismantel of the Groton Area School District will represent the association’s small school group. Weismantel ran for the position unopposed.
Serving on the board as the Division I, large school, member will be Rapid City Central Principal Michael Talley. Talley defeated Sioux Falls Washington Principal Dan Conrad on a membership vote of 84 to 62.
There will be a run-off in July for the position of East River at-large board member between Avon Superintendent Tom Culver and Chester Area Superintendent Heath Larson. Culver earned 70 votes and Larson 33. Also receiving votes were superintendents Kelly Glodt of Pierre, 32, and Jeff Kosters of Frederick, 17. There will be a run-off because association rules call for the winning candidate to receive the majority of votes cast.
Member schools also approved an amendment to the association’s constitution that changes the time required for team practices prior to the start of a season from two weeks to five days. Weather and other circumstances often cause the association to give out waivers shortening the length of time required for practices prior to the start of a sport.
The amendment was approved on a vote of 143-11 from member schools.
Souvenir vendor contract goes to Iowa firm
Fine Designs Inc. of Grimes, Iowa, was awarded a three-year contract as the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s souvenir vendor.
The SDHSAA board of directors took the action during a meeting Thursday in Pierre. The board met in Pierre but due to COVID-19 concerns, member schools and the public were allowed to monitor the meeting via the internet.
The offer from Fine Designs covers the three academic years starting July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2023. The company bid a minimum guarantee of $75,000 plus 35% of sales for each dollar of sales over $350,000 per contract year. The bid specifications called for at least a minimum guarantee of $60,000.
SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos said the bid process generated interest among vendors, but the bid from Fine Designs was the only one the association received. One of the board goals for the year is finding new revenue sources that can be shared with member schools.
Swartos said the goal of the association is to use the money generated by the contract to help pay the expenses of school districts that host state tournaments. He said the association sought a “significant amount of money to put into those hosting fees without raising ticket prices.”
In the past, schools have been in charge of souvenir sales at the state events they hosted. Board member Randy Soma of Brookings said host schools will enjoy not having the extra work of arranging T-shirt sales for state events.
Swartos said last year the host schools earned a $15,000 profit on T-shirt sales. When explaining the reason for the change to schools, Swartos said, “We’re turning down $75,000 for $15,000.”
Activities Association tweaks summer contact rules
With winter and spring high school sports canceled due to the coronavirus, Thursday the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors took action to increase the amount of time that athletes have for workouts in the summer.
The board took action Thursday during a meeting in Pierre. While the board met in person, member schools and the public could monitor the meeting via the internet.
This year’s summer contact period was approved at a special May meeting to run from June 1 until July 31. Approved during the special meeting was a detailed three-phase plan for running workouts while trying to avoid coronavirus infections.
SDHSAA rules call for a moratorium on summer workouts from July 1 through July 7 to accommodate family vacations centered on the Independence Day holiday.
SDHSAA Chairman Moe Ruesink of Sioux Valley said he wanted to shorten the moratorium period to “ease the pain of the end of winter and spring sports.” He suggested changing the moratorium for only this year to July 3 through July 5.
Board member Randy Soma of Brookings said the change would add time for more workouts but make life difficult for school districts.
“We have all kinds of stuff that goes on in that moratorium,” Soma said, noting that this year the time would also be used for cleaning facilities before workouts start again.
“This time was put in for a break for our student-athletes and for families,” said board member Craig Cassens of Faulkton.
Board member Brian Maher said school districts could enforce a stricter moratorium than the one proposed by Ruesink, but he acknowledged that it would come with some difficulty.
“We do put schools in a bind when you say, ‘You don’t have to follow this; you can be more restrictive,’” Maher said.
The motion to shorten the moratorium also included lengthening the summer contact period by two days to include Aug. 1 and 2, a Saturday and Sunday. SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos said some schools had asked about the possibility of athletes taking part in a national track meet planned for Sioux Falls that weekend.
Other schools asked about sending athletes to a national golf tournament in North Carolina. South Dakota athletes would not be allowed to compete unless there was a change to the summer contact rules.
The board approved the changes on a vote of 5-4.
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