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SPORTS INDUSTRY LEADERS GATHER IN INDY FOR RULES TALK

Date: 4/29/14

SILVER SPRING, MD – April 29, 2014 -- Representatives from the leading sports apparel and equipment companies met in Indianapolis last week for the 8th annual SFIA/NFHS/NCAA Rules Meeting. More than 100 attendees, representing nearly 40 companies, met to discuss potential rules changes for high school and college sports. This is the eighth consecutive year that the SFIA, National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have worked together to host this meeting.

“Historically, the sporting goods industry always had to react to rule changes implemented by the NFHS and the NCAA after they had been discussed, voted on and approved by the two governing bodies. Eight years ago, through the creation of the annual Rules Committee meetings, the SFIA membership and these two key sports governing bodies took the first step toward working together to ensure equipment rule changes were smoothly implemented,” said Gregg Hartley, SFIA Sports Standards Liaison.
 
Held every year in Indianapolis -- the home to the NFHS and NCAA -- this meeting gives SFIA members an opportunity to discuss potential rules and policy changes and to give feedback on the timing of implementation. 

“These discussions are important because some rules decisions can directly affect the businesses of SFIA’s member companies,” said SFIA President Tom Cove.

The day included a committee breakout session by sport, where attendees could get an update on a specific sport where they have a specific business interest.  The sports which had breakout sessions were baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, spirit, swimming/water polo, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.
 
“The NFHS rules committees’ meetings afford the NFHS an opportunity to take a close look at each sport for which we write rules,” said NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner. “In addition to making changes that attempt to keep the sport current with trends, the meetings provide scrutiny over ways to minimize risk in participation of our nation’s high school students.  With over 7.5 million young people playing high school sports, we take that charge seriously.”

Gardner also noted that when a rules change is made concerning adopting or approval a certain product, the NFHS has three key areas of concern about that item:  (1) risk minimization, (2) the balance between offense and defense; and (3) the sound traditions of the various sports.

Attendees also had a chance to hear remarks from the NFHS and NCAA as it relates to the injury surveillance systems of the two organizations.  Plus NOCSAE Executive Director Mike Oliver gave an update on his organization’s work.  One of the handouts distributed that day was the NFHS’s key staff contact for each sport and when each sport’s rules committees will be meeting in Indy during the next 12 months.
 
The co-hosted event between the three organizations has led to increased communication and a strengthened relationship between the SFIA, NFHS and NCAA.
 
“The NCAA appreciates the opportunity to communicate our playing rules process and hear feedback from the Sport Fitness Industry Association at this annual event,” said Ty Halpin, associate director of playing rules administration for the NCAA. “It provides our staff with a deeper understanding of the industry and provides valuable relationship building.”
 
“This important meeting now has more than 100 participants. That is a testament to the cooperative efforts of the SFIA, the NFHS and the NCAA,” concluded Hartley.

Attendees can click here to access a password protected notes and presentations from the Rules Meeting.

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SFIA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership and product promotion.  More information about SFIA membership, SFIA public policy platform, and SFIA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SFIA.org.

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