IHSA puts off vote on proposed baseball pitch-count limits
The Illinois High School Association pushed back a vote on proposed baseball pitch-count limit recommendations at its October meeting.
The vote was rescheduled for Dec. 12 after the board holds a series of annual meetings that are not open to the public.
The IHSA conducts the meetings to keep principals up to date on rules and proposed changes. Principals at IHSA member schools are required to attend the meetings each year.
Round Lake High School baseball coach Ed Adamson said the recommendations are a good idea
"Pitchers are still growing, and there should be some regulation," Adamson told the Lake County Gazette. "I don’t think it’s a big deal at the high school level. High school coaches generally have a good grasp of how to take care of their pitchers.’’
But Adamson said there a couple of potential pitfalls.
"These regulations should help those coaches who are in more of a win-now situation," Adamson said.
Adamson also said the recommendations should help coaches develop more pitchers.
"You need to have 12 pitchers, and you can't rely on just a couple of guys. We want to have as many kids as possible throw strikes," Adamson said.
In August, the IHSA baseball advisory committee made a series of recommendations to the board, which had been scheduled to vote Oct. 12. To become a rule, the board has to pass the recommendation by a simple majority.
In attendance at the August meeting was Dr. Preston Wolin, director and founder of the Center for Athletic Medicine in Chicago, who helped draft some of the proposed rule changes, along with area coaches.
"This meeting was not only extremely gratifying, but really historic for the players, parents, coaches and administrators,’’ Wolin said.
Wolin said Illinois has gone above and beyond any other state in the nation when it comes to pitch counts.
"The proposed rules also provide a weekly cap on the number of pitches thrown," Wolin said. "The reason this is important is that while many of the models used by other states protect the pitcher, there is a potential for overuse by throwing the pitcher on multiple consecutive days -- even at the allowable number of pitches."
If passed, the recommendations would become rules and go into effect starting with the 2017 season.
"I think these recommendations are going to make the game safer and more enjoyable,’’ Wolin said. ‘’The cooperation of the baseball coaches in coming up with these limits was outstanding. Everyone in that room was committed to the safety of our young pitchers. That dedication is being translated into our pitch-count limits in the State of Illinois.’’
Another high school coach does not have a problem with the recommendations but wishes the committee would go a little further.
"The biggest issue is not guys being abused during the high school season," Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko said. "One of the biggest issues are guys being abused pitching on summer travel ball teams. Pitchers are going to one-day showcases where they have not thrown for a lengthy period of time."
"There are kids who play summertime travel ball, and that’s where they can throw a ton of pitches, but during high school season, we have to make sure our pitchers are not as extended," Adamson said.
Here is a schedule of the town hall meetings. http://ihsa.org/documents/forms/2016-17/16-17TMPRM%20Final.pdf.
Here is the pitch count proposal: www.ihsa.org/documents/ba/2016-17/Pitch%20Count%20Proposal.pdf.