CHSAA Comes Down Hard…ish

5A Rival Pine Creek is Cited for Recruiting

Mara Abernethy, Sports Editor

Pine Creek High School, among Coronado’s counterparts in the Colorado Springs 5A Metro League, was recently handed the most severe citation ever issued by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), the governing body for Colorado high school sports and activities.

The original citations, issued in early January, revolved around the wrestling team’s second recruiting citation of the season, and an undisclosed citation against the Pine Creek Football program.  Citing bylaw violations in “lack of administrative control”, the  citations were expanded to include the entirety of the school’s athletic program. The revised reprimand placed Pine Creek athletics under restriction, potentially barring the school’s participation in postseason competition.

CHSAA defines recruiting as “soliciting or encouraging a student to enroll in a school in order to secure that student’s participation in an interscholastic athletic program.”

One particularly interesting clause in CHSAA’s recruiting guidelines specifies which individual’s actions qualify as recruiting. CHSAA regulations prevent any “school representative” from participating in recruiting. The term “school representative” proves broad, however, and according to CHSAA bylaws “includes any person who has a special interest in a school or athletic team, such as a school administrator, coach, assistant coach, other school employee or volunteer, student athlete, parent or family member of a student athlete, school alumnus or booster club member.”

Coronado’s athletic director, Andrew Colgate, worked in the strength and conditioning, football, and track programs at Pine Creek prior to being appointed athletic director at Coronado in 2015. Regarding the citation and its presentation to the public, Mr.Colgate said, “Restrictions handed down by CHSAA are complicated. Often times the general public is mislead.”

Regarding Pine Creek, the school’s restriction status was lifted following the resignation of Pine Creek athletic director Matt Mahan, who was rehired as an assistant principal, effective at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 school year. Despite the citation being lifted, Pine Creek athletics will remain on probation for the entirety of the coming year.

When asked how Coronado could avoid such an issue, Colgate answered simply, “abiding by the CHSAA rules”. The organization suggests coaches and other “school representatives” avoid recruiting violations by “not initiating contact with any athlete for the purpose of recruiting” as well as alerting school administration, athletic offices, or guidance counselors both at the athlete’s current and contacted schools of “athletes or parents of an athlete from a different school initiating contact with a coach asking academic or athletic questions about the school”.

The association maintains, however, that such regulations do not seek to discourage “unplanned and casual conversations that may occur between coaches and athletes from different schools”.

CHSAA also sets guidelines for eighth grade contact, authorizing eighth grade open houses and eighth grade participation in preseason activities following May 1st, and preventing eighth grade participation on teams of high school students representing their school.