Pre-season practices can affect players\' home life

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COLUMBIA - A Missouri Legislative Joint Communications committee concluded Tuesday there is no connection between the start date of school and the start date when high school sports get to start their practices.

This can bring up some concerns with how players get to practice during the summer months when school buses don't run.

The communication director for the Missouri State High School Activities Association, Jason West, said every sports team needs to have 14 practices before competing against other teams.

However, those practices can conflict with a summer break since school starts so early.

The majority of schools use an agricultural exemption, which helps communities that have a large farm population.

These exemptions originally started to help during the planning and harvest season. Students were able to take time off during those seasons to help out.

The statute that is currently in place allows schools that fall under the exemption to not start earlier than 10 days before Labor Day.

This year sports teams were allowed to start practice as early as Aug. 1.

State Rep. David Wood, R-Versailles, said, "It forces the students to make choices. If I am going to be in the state fair and I play football, and I want to show my cattle, but I can't be at practice. There are arrangements that can be made to have things qualified as practice, but it is very difficult to do."

Rock Bridge High School head softball coach Janel Twehous works a full time job during the day and has practice at night in the summer. She said her players know what they are getting themselves into before tryouts in the spring. 

"I let them know back in spring when my tryouts are going to be, when everything is going to happen prior to when school is starting."

West said life is full of making difficult choices. 

"Sometimes we can't make both choices we want to make. We have to choose "A" or "B" and not both "A and B" and that is some of the life lessons that we learn," West said.