SIG: Special Olympics Texas Information Guide

The Special Olympics Texas Information Guide (SIG) contains important information about the policies, sports rules, fundraising guidelines, financial requirements and communications strategies governing Special Olympics Texas. The SIG is updated each year, and all coaches and heads of delegations are required to review and understand the rules. Changes are discussed each year during the “Annual Conference” held online or in person in January and February.

Summary of Changes and Updates

New or updated information will be shown in blue italic within each section of the SIG.

Below is a summary of all changes/updates since 2017:

Section C - Volunteer  

  • Volunteer Opportunities
    • Project UNIFY is now known as Unified Champion Schools.
  • Volunteer Eligibility
    • Class B Volunteers 7 years old and younger – are not given volunteer assignments, but are welcomed and encouraged to be cheerleaders or spectators at competitions, accompanied by a parent/guardian. They must remain outside the immediate competition area.
  • 2017 award winners:
    • Volunteer of the Year – Keith Maxwell, Belton
    • Male Athlete of the Year: 15-21 – Jarred Duran, Celina
    • Male Athlete of the Year: 22+ - Augustin Serna, Laredo
    • Female Athlete of the Year: 15-21 – Caitlin Ripley, Houston
    • Female Athlete of the Year: 22+ - Laura Mashuca, Laredo
    • Coach of the Year – Olga Guierrez, Laredo
    • Trainer of the Year – J'Nette Thorne, Amarillo
    • Outstanding Volunteer for Sports and Competition – George Ann Benson, Lubbock
    • Outstanding Service from a Business/Corporation – Embassy Suites Houston Downtown, Houston
    • Family of the Year – The Salazar Family, Robstown
    • Outstanding Volunteer for Fund Raising – Chief Doug Reim, Highland Village
    • Outstanding Service for Outreach – Cypress Champions, Cypress
    • Outstanding Service from a Community Leader – Terri Fuman, Lubbock
    • Outstanding Service from a Civic or Service Organization – Knights of Columbus Council 12803, Lubbock
    • Unified Sports Partner of the Year – Timmothy Brown, Abilene

Section D – Establishing a Local Program

    • Procedures Relating to Team Funds Held by SOTX
    • In the event of the dissolution of the team/delegation, when a team decides to cease activity and no longer compete, SOTX will proportionately disburse the remaining team funds to the new team the athlete(s) join if we are notified of the new team of the athletes within 12 months. The money will “follow the athlete”. If we are not notified in writing within 12 months of the dissolution of the team which new team the athletes have joined, the remaining team funds will be transferred to the Operating Account and will no longer be available to the team. Teams that are disbanding should communicate clearly with their Area Director regarding the future participation of the athletes on their team.
    • In the event of inactivity of the team/delegation, when a team does not compete in an Area or State competition for a period of 12 months, they will be placed in “inactive” status. All inactive team funds will be frozen until SOTX receives confirmation from the Area Director that the team has competed in an Area competition. At the end of each calendar year a list of teams will be sent to each Area Director for them to mark as “active” or “inactive.” Team funds will be held for 12 months after the team has been listed as ‘inactive’. All team funds will be transferred to the Operating Account and no longer be available to the team after this time.

Section E – Coaches Training and Certification

  • Head of Delegation Requirements:
    • Must attend the Area Conference annually
    • Must be responsible for informing all Coaches and Athletes of Area conference material.
    • Must submit Coach Report to Area office by February 28th to remain in compliance to participate.
  • Coach Certification Maintenance
    • Receive Area Conference changes from HOD or can take the Area Conference on line (preferred)
    • Responsible for staying updated on all changes and updates
    • The Area Conference will remain online throughout the year for Coaches to stay updated on rule changes, policies and procedures, calendar of events, etc.,
    • The coach must remain active in the Special Olympics program in the specific sport(s). An absence of more than 12 months will result in a lapse of certification and require the coach to attend another training school.
    • The coach must attend all required coach meetings for the sport(s) in which active.
    • Every three years the coach must complete the Protective Behaviors, Concussion in Sports Training and submit a new Class A Volunteer Application.
    • Every four years the coach must complete Criminal Background Check.

Section F – Training

  • Online Concussion in Sports Training required for all new and returning Coaches.
  • Forward completion certificate to Area office.
  • All Coaches must retake Concussion in Sports Training once every 3 years

Section L - Chapter SMT

2018 Meeting Schedule

  • March 1, 2018 at 5:30pm (conference call)
  • June 14, 2018 at 5:30pm (conference call)
  • September 6, 2018 at 2:00pm (conference call)
  • November 15, 2018 at 5:30pm (conference call)

New forms available for sport rules change requests. 

  • Removed Outreach Liaison

Section M - Rules and Competition

2018 National Games

  • 2018 USA Games will be hosted in Seattle Washington
    July 1, 2018 – July 7, 2018
    • Venues will be throughout the University of Washington
    • Team Texas will depart June 30, 2018 and will return July 7, 2018 from the following airports:
      • Austin
      • Dallas/Fort Worth
      • Houston
      • San Antonio
  • Team Texas will compete in the following sports:
    • Swimming
    • Athletics
    • Bocce
    • Bowling
    • Golf
    • Art. Gymnastics
    • Powerlifting
    • Tennis
    • Stand Up Paddle (new)
    • Basketball
      • Male Traditional Team
      • Female Traditional Team
    • Soccer (5v5)
    • Softball – Unified Team
    • Volleyball – Unified Team
    • Flag Football – Traditional Team
  • Team Texas consist of:
    • 147 athletes and unified partners
    • 3 caddies
    • 3 Youth Leadership Experience
    • 38 Coaches
    • 7 Staff
      • 198 SOTX Strong!

USA & World Games – Team Sports

  • Delegations whose team(s) are selected for USA Games and/or World Games, must have that same selected team compete in the next state games prior to the USA Games and/or World Games.  Selected team’s roster cannot be changed. 
  •  Example:  If your team is selected for USA Games as a traditional Flag Football team, that team must compete as a traditional Flag Football team with the original players selected.  Same rule applies if a unified team is selected. 

USA & World Games – Unified Sports

Unified team(s) applying for selection to the USA Games and/or World Games, must qualify with new age differentials.

  • All athlete and partners 21 years old or younger, can only have a maximum of 5 years age differential or less from the youngest player on the roster.
    • Example: youngest player on the roster is 16 years of age, the oldest player on the roster can only be 21 years of age.
    • Athletes and partners 22 years of age or older, can only have a 20-year age differential from the youngest player on the roster.
      • Example: youngest player on the roster is 22 years of age, the oldest player on the roster can be maximum of 42 years old.

USA & World Games – Travel

All Athletes, Unified Partners, Caddies, Coaches, and Staff who apply and are selected for USA Games and/or World Games must travel with the team to and from the games. 

Exceptions for the return travel only, upon completion of the games, will be:

  • Athletes whose parent/guardian have made prearrangements for their athlete to travel back with them from the games. 
  • Unified Partners and Caddies may make prearrange to travel back separate from the team if the chaperone to athlete ratio is not affected, 4:1.

Selected coaches will need to travel to and from the games.  No Exceptions to this rule.

Section N - Registration

New Event Codes

Aquatics

  • 25m Kickboard: AQ25MK
  • 15m Assisted swim: AQ15AS
  • 25m Assisted swim: AQ25AS

Athletics

  • 1500 Meter Walk: AT1500W
  • 4X200 Meter Relay: AT4X200M
  • 4X200 Meter Unified Relay: AT4X200MU

Powerlifting

  • Combination 2 (Bench, Deadlift): PLCOMB2
  • Combination 3 (Bench, Deadlift, Squat): PLCOMB3
  • Comb. 3 (Bench, DL, Squat - Females): PLCOMB3F

Chapter Entry Deadline

    • Figure Skating: Thursday, January 18, 2018
    • Equestrian: Thursday, March 29, 2018
    • Summer Games: Thursday, April 5, 2018
    • Sailing and Kayaking: Thursday, September 6, 2018
    • Fall Classic: Thursday, September 6, 2018
    • Flag Football: Thursday, October 25, 2018
    • Winter Games (2019): Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Section P - Summer Games

Soccer - Unified

A ream can play with a maximum of five and minimum of three during competition.

Only the following lineups are permitted:

  • 3 athletes and 2 partners
  • 2 athletes and 2 partners
  • 2 athletes and 1 partner

Section Q - Fall Classic

Flag Football – Rule Clarification

  • Blocking: No downfield blocking/screening is permitted.
    • Anytime the ball has advanced past the line of scrimmage (by pass, or by runner) all other offensive players should freeze until ball carrier passes players.
    • No foul is made if players continue to run a route and/or not actively trying to screen a defender.
  • Rushing: Rushing the Quarterback must begin 7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Section R - Winter Games

Volleyball – Rule Modification

  • A three-point (lower level) or five-points (higher level) serving rule can be used at all SOTX Volleyball competitions
  • The team with the ball after the serve limit will lose possession at the end of the three-point or five-point serves.
  • The SOTX Sports Management Team has made adaptions to this rule to prevent one dominant server from dictating the outcome of the game, thus affecting the integrity of a division.
  • The classification team can determine for each division whether a side out or rotation after a serve limit has been reached.
  • The three-point or five-point modification can be applied to any division that the classification team and competition committee feel is necessary to provide quality divisions of teams.

Section T – Families

  • Online Family registration to:
    • Receive information related to updates, news and events related to SOTX Families
    • Receive helpful financial, legal and transition resources to support your Family 
    • Get further connected into Area Family network

Section U – Public Relations/Communications

  • Social Media Guidelines
    • Follow us on Snapchat at SO.texas
    • Follow us on Facebook Live
  • Visual Identity
    • All previous versions of the logos including those with the teal color were to be completely phased out by the end of 2015.

Section V - Names and Addresses

  • New Area 12 Training Director: Rena Gibson

List of Forms

Note: All forms created in Microsoft Word use the official Special Olympics Inc. font Ubuntu. If you do not have Ubuntu loaded on your computer, forms may be distorted. You may download Ubuntu for free at this website: http://font.ubuntu.com/.

Section B - Athlete Eligibility

Section C - Volunteer Eligibility

Section D - Establishing a Local Program

Section E - Coaching

Section F - Training

Section G - Policies

Section H - Risk Management

Section I - Health & Safety

Section J - Outreach

Section K - Unified Sports

Section L - Chapter SMT

Section M - Rules & Competition

Section N - Registration

Section P - Summer Games

Section Q - Fall Classic

Section R - Winter Games

Section S - Development

Section T - Families

Section U - PR/Communications