NORTHEAST KANSAS (KSNT)- For a long time high school baseball teams in the state of Kansas have only been allowed to play 20 games in the regular season.
This remains true now, but some coaches in the state want this to change.
“We have just as good of baseball as everybody else but we are really cutting our kids short compared to what other states are doing,” said Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches Heath Gerstner.
Gerstner, and many other coaches, say young athletes in Kansas deserve the opportunity to play more games. Surrounding states play as many as thirty or more games per season.
“We feel like we’re behind as a state,” Gerstner said.
Playing more games presents more opportunities to gain exposure for players wanting to compete at the next level.
“I think it’s very important just to give them more opportunities to play at the next level,” said Seaman head baseball coach Trent Oliva said. “The more time, the more opportunities they can be seen.”
Gerstner knows this is important.
“I have a good relationship with a lot of our Kansas junior college coaches and division one coaches,” Gerstner said. “If they have a kid who they think is halfway equal to a kid in Oklahoma or Missouri but that kid has played 60 more high school baseball games than this kid it’s a pretty easy decision for them.”
Some people are quick to grow angry with the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) about this issue. However, they aren’t the ones putting a stop to this proposed change.
“Our biggest hold up isn’t coaches,” Gerstner said. “It hasn’t been KSHSAA. It’s been those athletic directors and principals that are really in charge of the change in our state.”
KABC brought a list of proposals to Kansas Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (KIAAA), which included the idea of the 26-game schedule. They hoped receiving support from the KIAAA would boost momentum before taking the proposal to KSHSAA. They were met with the opposite outcome when KIAAA turned down this proposal and all the others presented.
Both these coaches say the players want to be on the field competing more often.
“If you ask any player I think they’re going to tell you they’d rather play games than practice,” Oliva said.
The limit on games can present other challenges when managing a team in the spring.
“It’s hard to keep engagement up [when you’re not playing enough games]. They don’t want to play each other any more. We did that in preseason. We want to go play other teams. Our guys are itching to just play a game,” Gerstner said.
The coaches association wants to expand the season to 26 games, which is still less than surrounding states. A KSHSAA representative told 27 News that previous proposals to expand the schedule length haven’t received enough support to reach a vote from the KSHSAA board of directors.