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Arkansas Activities Association approves eight-man football as a club offering

The Arkansas Activities Association's board of directors approved eight-man football as a club sport during the first day of the association's summer workshop on Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Little Rock Airport Conference Center.

Five teams have expressed interest in playing eight-man football for the 2018 season -- Augusta, Decatur, Episcopal Collegiate, Hermitage and Arkansas Christian Academy. Only Arkansas Christian Academy is not currently a AAA member in football as it plays in the Heartland Christian School Athletic Association. Those five schools showed their interest in a meeting May 30 at the AAA office in North Little Rock, where 11 other schools also were in attendance.

A club season would last 10 games with no championship. Schools have until July 1 to decide whether they want to play eight-man football. If there is enough interest, Steve Roberts, the AAA associate executive director, will handle eight-man football schedules.

The high school football regular season for 11-man football begins Monday, Aug. 20, but it is not certain when the eight-man football season would begin.

The board also approved the use of the association's catastrophe insurance policy for eight-man football teams. The policy provides coverage for students who are injured in AAA games or practices.

While the AAA does not sponsor club sports, the association does offer its insurance policy to AAA members that play in those sports. Other club sports in the state include bass fishing and trap shooting.

In other business Tuesday, Jamie Graham from Varsity Spirit in Amarillo, Texas, spoke to the board about changing the state cheerleading competition from a competitive format to a game-day format, where cheerleading teams would perform routines that would involve crowd-leading and the school's fight song instead of stunts and tumbling.

Lance Taylor, the AAA executive director, said Tuesday that cheerleading coaches and school administrators will meet at a future date for further discussion on a possible change to the competition.

Also, Mark Koski from the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) Network led a presentation on eSports in high schools. Koski presented PlayVS, an online gaming provider, that would feature at least five video games, including 2K Sports' NBA2K18. The board voted to hold a future meeting with school administrators to discuss more about eSports with Koski and representatives from PlayVS.

Five items on the spring survey from coaches and administrators received at least 66 percent passage, and proposals of those items will be heard today.

One of the items concerns moving the senior high age eligibility rule from Sept. 1 to Aug. 1 during each year. A senior high student is currently not eligible for interscholastic participation if the student's 19th birthday is on or before Sept. 1.

The workshop continues through Thursday.

Sports on 06/06/2018

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