Non-traditional season policy embraces Simpson’s fall sports

by Christin KloewerStaff Writer

The football, soccer and volleyball teams will be given the opportunity to engage in athletically-related activities for the first time this spring because the Iowa Conference has finally adopted the Division III non-traditional season for fall sports.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association allows a maximum of 16 permissible institutional practices within a specific time frame in the spring. However, the Iowa Conference has only adopted eight days of institutional practices for Division III fall sports, and these eight practices must fall within the course of a continuous three-week period.

“It puts a little bit of an extra strain on the equipment room, so we have two sports starting March 16 and the other two sports will start somewhere around April 3,” Athletic Director John Sirianni said.

Sirianni also stated that practices may start no earlier than March 15 and must be completed by the end of the semester, which is April 18 for Simpson. When school is in session the maximum practice length is two hours, and when school is not in session, such as on the weekends or over breaks, the maximum practice length is four hours.

“For most of the practices, there will only be one practice a day,” Sirianni said.

Scheduled practices may be held on a maximum of three days a week during the respective three-week period and any competition against an outside team is prohibited.

“The non-traditional practice season will be great for us,” Kevin Ferguson, assistant offensive football coach, said. “It gives our players a chance to refocus on football.”

Ferguson stated that there is a lot of time from the end of one season to the start of a new one, and the off-season can get long for the football players because it is consumed with strength and conditioning development. However, spring football will allow both players and coaches to brush up on schematics and fundamentals.

“Spring ball will help break up the rigors of an off-season training regime which I believe will make their off-season training more productive from a mental and physical standpoint,” Ferguson said.

Many Division III conferences around the nation have been taking part in spring football, and Ferguson believes that spring ball will be one more tool to aid in the retention of players over the off-season.

“Spring football will help Simpson’s new coaching staff implement their new offensive and defensive schemes which in turn will benefit us tremendously when we get to football season,” Ferguson said.

Cory Chapman, head women’s soccer coach and facility manager, also agrees that the non-traditional season will be very beneficial to the athletes.

“For years, the NCAA has allowed for a non-traditional season in the spring, but the Iowa Conference schools have not been allowed to participate,” Chapman said. “This has put our athletes and teams behind in terms of development and team chemistry. The coaches, athletes and administrators are extremely appreciative of the opportunity we now have.”

Chapman would like to structure the spring sessions to be more focused on the individual. He is looking to get the players more time with the ball and fine-tuning their strengths while focusing on how they can improve on their weak areas.

“The non-traditional season is a great thing for our fall athletic programs,” Chapman said.

Simpson athletics does believe, however, that the non-traditional season is not to detract from travel abroad or eliminate the two-sport athlete. This program is not designed to interfere with any academic endeavors, and the coaches will work very hard to keep anything from interfering with the student-athlete’s academic aspirations.