Letter to the Editor: Crew and VHSL's Decision to Remove it from the Activities List

John D. White II, president of the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association, on the Virginia High School League's decision to remove crew as a covered activity.

The following is a letter a from John D. White II, president of the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association, regarding the Virginia High School League's decision Wednesday to remove crew/rowing and men's gymnastics from its forms.  Read more about the VHSL decision and how local crew team parents are reacting here.

The VHSL Executive Committee voted yesterday on the motion to reinstate crew on the list of VHSL activities … it failed, 9 yes, 10 no, 4 abstentions. 

A principal argument against rowing was it does not have a “50% plus 1” participation within the state. Another was VHSL does not sponsor playoffs/state championship for rowing. When the statement was made to treat crew like lacrosse as an emerging sport, that was countered that a state championship tournament is run by VHSL for lacrosse. The two most vocal opponents in the VHSL EC were from Loudoun County: the Athletic Director of John Champe HS, and the Principal of Stone Bridge HS. The removal of rowing as a VHSL activity will be effective at the end of this academic year (July 2013).

In my opinion, a second appeal would not be politically appropriate at this time. And I am not inclined to get emotional or claim the sky is falling. There is opportunity, here, as well, and we just need to look at options and make measured judgment and take measured action. We should to take our time consult with the Crew Council, and assess our position. Mr. Bill Curran, FCPS Student Activities and Athletics Director, has stated that FCPS rowing programs will continue as before.

One thing we have done already is look into replacement of the catastrophic medical insurance our teams (athletes only) now receive through VHSL. We can obtain this coverage for a reasonable price AND cover coaches, officials, regatta staff, and volunteers as well for an entire year (beginning August 2013).


John D. White II

President, Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association

Member Elect, U.S. Rowing Board of Directors


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