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Rule change affects event limit for track

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Last spring T.R. Miller's Joy McCorvey scored in five events (triple jump, 100, 200, 400 relay, 1600 relay) at the Class 3A state track and field meet.
Under a recent rule change set by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA), the best McCorvey can do next year is four.
The NFSHSA reaffirmed its position that limits track athletes to a maximum four events per meet. Relay events count towards an athlete's participation limit.
"I wasn't aware of the ruling by the NFSHSA until it was recently brought to my attention. As a coach, a four-event limit will certainly affect the way you line up your athletes as compared to a five-event limit," T.R. Miller coach Alan Baker said.
Baker said the four-event limit rule is actually nothing new.
"Alabama used to have a four-event limit a few years ago and then it went up to five. Florida currently has a four-event limit and we have to follow that rule when we go into that state for meets," Baker said. "Individual states can petition the NFSHSA for exemptions to rules. I don't know at this time whether or not Alabama will petition for an exemption or not."
Baker said the four-event limit would affect track and field in a couple of ways.
"The four-event limit will test a team's depth a lot more. Instead of using a high caliber athlete in that fifth event, now you have to use somebody else. You might also see more situations where teams do not enter anybody in an event because they might be short on numbers and the kids they have have used up their event limit," Baker said. "You may also see a little dropoff in some performances at the state meet. One team might have the best athlete for that event, but can not enter them at the sectional because they have reached their event limit. As a result, a lesser caliber athlete will now take their place."
W.S. Neal coach Shane Smothers said even though the rule change might make his job a little more difficult, he would not object to a reduction in events for athletes.
One exception to the event limit rule, which affects very few athletes, is for competition in decathlons, heptahlons and pentathlons.
The next meeting for the T.R. Miller Quarterback Club will be Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Field House.