School board ta­bles ath­let­ics pol­icy up­date

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­

The Polk County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion will be wait­ing un­til April to ap­prove pol­icy up­dates on how stu­dent ath­let­ics are gov­erned within the sys­tem, from res­i­dency re­quire­ments to what’s al­lowed on the Mid­dle School level.

School board mem­bers unan­i­mously ap­proved to ta­ble the pol­icy up­date brought up from the com­mit­tee level dur­ing their March 4 work ses­sion which will gov­ern how the school dis­trict han­dles stu­dent trans­fers and their eligibility to play, but also pro­vides lo­cal con­trol over mid­dle school ath­let­ics.

The changes re­ported by board mem­ber J.P. Fos­ter looked to en­sure that when a stu­dent comes into the sys­tem to Cedar­town or Rock­mart High School — or at the mid­dle school level as well — they do with a clear record and meet­ing all the re­quire­ments they are sup­posed to.

“No one should be caught un­aware,” Fos­ter said. “We’ve all heard be­fore of a player who was a jam-up player, but af­ter the sea­son maybe a team had to for­feit a game, or maybe their en­tire sea­son be­cause of is­sues. We don’t want things like that to hap­pen on our watch.”

New lan­guage re­places old within the pol­icy, and pro­vides that all stu­dents who par­tic­i­pate in ath­letic com­pe­ti­tion have to be a full-time stu­dent at the school where they wish to com­pete dur­ing the se­mes­ter of com­pe­ti­tion, which means they have to live within the dis­trict full-time and at­tend school with­out any ab­sen­tee is­sues, keep up their grades, go through phys­i­cals and more.

It also pro­hibits the “re­ten­tion of stu­dents for ath­letic pur­poses” and forces prin­ci­pals to be re­quired to en­sure that ei­ther them­selves, or some­one they des­ig­nate, is re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing those eligibility re­quire­ments are be­ing met.

On the mid­dle school level, the pol­icy changes also were up­dated to en­sure that lo­cal con­trol re­mains over stu­dent ath­let­ics on the sixth through eighth grade lev­els.

They have to fol­low the same re­quire­ments for eligibility as high school ath­letes in res­i­dency and the need for a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion.

How­ever the su­per­in­ten­dent or a de­signee can de­ter­mine re­quire­ments for gov­ern­ing com­pet­i­tive ath­let­ics on the mid­dle school level in the pol­icy change, and those are be­ing out­lined in the PSD’s Ath­letic Hand­book, which are given out to play­ers and par­ents ahead of the start of a sport’s sea­son.

School board mem­bers will come back to ei­ther make changes or ap­prove the pol­icy up­date dur­ing their April com­bined ses­sion fol­low­ing spring break.

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