Most coaches still favor six-quarter ruleBefore every varsity basketball game, McCook Central/Montrose boys’ basketball coach Bill Marquardt signs a roster participation form as a part of the six-quarter rule.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
Before every varsity basketball game, McCook Central/Montrose boys’ basketball coach Bill Marquardt signs a roster participation form as a part of the six-quarter rule.
And he’s done this game in and game out to ensure his team doesn’t violate the mandate set forth by the South Dakota High School Activities Association.
The six-quarter rule has been around since the late 1970s, and many longtime coaches such as Marquardt, who’s been involved in the sport for 33 years, are still in favor of the rule because of player safety. In a poll formed by The Daily Republic, nine of 10 randomly selected coaches asked were in favor of keeping the rule as it is.
The six-quarter rule states that no player can participate in more than six quarters of basketball during a session, which is a string of games with a minimum of one hour between.
“I think it’s necessary to development, otherwise coaches might be too tempted to play players more than they should,” said Marquardt, adding players used to be limited to five quarters when he began his coaching career in the late 1970s. “I think it’s great the way it is, and there’s not many things I feel that way about.”
John Krogstrand, assistant executive director of the SDHSAA, said the rule was put into place not because of the amount of time a student plays but mainly for participation.
“In my understanding, the rule was designed and implemented to regulate players playing across subvarsity and varsity levels,” he said. “The activities association didn’t want participation taken away from other kids at certain levels if certain players played in two or three games.”
Longtime Tripp-Delmont/Armour boys’ basketball coach Burnell Glanzer, who retired last season after coaching 37 years, said he supports the rule’s intent and believes it has the players’ best interest in mind.
“You can’t really argue against it because it’s meant to protect the kids,” he said.
In 25 years of coaching, Tripp-Delmont/Armour girls’ basketball coach Brian Jones has seen the six quarter rule misused once, that he recalls.
Jones said the eighth-grade girl played the entire eighth-grade game, two quarters in the junior varsity game and two or three quarters in the varsity game. Jones chose not to disclose which school the girl played for.
“I knew this girl and she was a great athlete, but by the time she played in the varsity game, she was tuckered out,” said Jones, who was spectating the game from the crowd. “I’m sure it’s happened before and it’s not healthy for the kids.”
If the rule is violated, the head coach is charged with a technical foul and the player is removed from the game.
But in the instance Jones remembers, nobody caught it, so the girl continued to play.
“I don’t think the coach was abusing it on purpose,” Jones said, adding the occurrence happened around five years ago.
Other coaches, who weren’t necessarily in the coaching scene when the rule was implemented, also agree with the rule’s nature.
“The kids are young yet, and still developing and growing as players,” Sanborn Central/Woonsocket girls’ co-head coach Rob Baruth said. “I just think that it’s just a good way to keep it in check. We don’t need girls playing eight to 10 quarters in a day.”
Baruth and Jones, like many other coaches, have players in which the rule affects during game nights.
“If a young player is good enough to play at all levels, that’s a coaches’ choice to where they play,” Jones said. “I’m sure there are times I wish it wasn’t a rule, but it is reasonable and I’m glad they have it.”
Canistota boys’ basketball coach Pat Jolley, who was not in favor of the rule, said he thinks the rule can be refined and changed. One concern with the rule is what to do when a team is low in numbers.
“It is a definite factor in the smaller schools because they have to use those younger players,” Scotland boys’ coach Wayne Brunke said.
Recently, the Mitchell Christian boys’ basketball team had two starters out with injuries.
In the Eagles’ second game of the season, the team played nine players, yet in its game last week against Mount Vernon/Plankinton the Eagles had six players participate in the varsity game.
“It does come into play when you’re low in numbers,” Mitchell Christian boys’ coach Dennis Martin said. “You really have to use time management for some kids.”