Policy 597 - Interscholastic Eligibility

Revised: August 9, 2011

Extra-curricular is defined as those events and organizations that are in no way tied to the grade a student would receive for any class. Following is a summary of the basic regulations governing a student’s eligibility to participate in all high school extra-curricular activities. These regulations are in compliance with official Minnesota State High School League regulations. Regulations outlined are in the Minnesota State High School League Handbook. Copies of the handbook are available at the high school.

A. ANNUAL ATTENDANCE

All participants are required to attend a pre-season eligibility meeting. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend these meetings regarding rules and policies for students involved in MSHSL activities.

B. ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

Students must be making satisfactory progress toward school district requirements for graduation (see policy 613 Graduation Requirements). Any participant competing at the 9th grade, 10th grade, Junior Varsity and/or Varsity Levels receiving an “F”, beginning with the 4th-week trimester grade check, will be ineligible to compete one school day after notification to the student. Participants can become instantly eligible to compete upon receiving verification from all teachers that no “F’s” exist. Participants will be able to practice. Participants with an “F” will not be permitted to leave school early for practices, events or contests. The scholastic average will be 2.0 for grades 9 - 12. Students not meeting this requirement at the 4/6/9 grade check periods will have 2 weeks to remain eligible (this period will be called “probation”). If a 2.0 is not attained during the 2 week probation, a 2 week suspension results (this period will be called "suspension"). If a 2.0 is not attained after 2 weeks of academic suspension, the student is removed from the team roster. Fall participants will be placed on academic probation if a 2.0 GPA is not attained during the 3rd trimester of the previous school year.

7th & 8th grade students participating in athletics and/or fine art activities are expected to be passing all of their classes. Grade checks will take place at the beginning of each season and/or as needed. Students not achieving a 2.0 GPA and/or if they have one or more “N’s” will be placed on academic probation. During this time, students will have two weeks to remain eligible by attaining a 2.0 GPA and/or receiving zero “N’s.” If students remain academically ineligible, they will be placed on academic suspension. If a 2.0 and/or zero “N’s” is not attained after two weeks of academic suspension, the student is removed from the roster. Fall participants will be placed on academic probation if a 2.0 GPA is not attained during the 3rd trimester of the previous year.

Note: Coaches/Advisors have the ability to raise the 2.0 academic standard for their participants as long as the expectation is made clear at the beginning of the season.

The administration may review individual cases and has discretion regarding waiving eligibility requirements.

C. ALCOHOL / DRUGS / TOBACCO - VANDALISM / THEFT OF PROPERTY

A student shall not use, have in possession, buy, sell or give a beverage containing alcohol (regardless of quantity) during the entire year, including the summer months.

1. A student shall not have in possession or use tobacco during the entire year, including the summer months. Students who violate this rule shall be suspended from participation in all high school extra-curricular activities for the time specified herein.

2. A student shall not have in possession or consume any substance defined by law as a drug, unless specifically prescribed by their doctor for the student’s own use. Further, they shall not buy, sell or give away such a substance during the entire year, including the summer months. The term “possession” includes having on your person, in your locker, or in your vehicle. Students involved in vandalism or theft of school property, student property, or property of school personnel shall be subject to the same disciplinary action specified for alcohol/drugs.

3. Students who violate any of these rules shall be suspended from participation in all school district extra-curricular activities for the time specified herein.

4. Chemical Violations

Rule: Attendance - Attendance at parties, events, or gatherings, for whatever length of time, where alcoholic beverages and/or illegal drugs as defined by State Law are illegally present and/or illegally used is prohibited.

5. Cooperation and Honesty - If at any time a student participant is found uncooperative and dishonest regarding their statement(s) concerning testimony as it relates to stated violations of this policy, the following suspensions(s) will be administered:

a. First offense: the individual will be suspended from the squad five (5) school days and/or one (1) contest, whichever is greater. This suspension will be above and beyond any suspension that will be and/or has been administered.

b. Second offense: the individual will be suspended from the squad for the next ten (10) school days and/or two (2) contests, whichever is greater. This suspension will be above and beyond any suspension that will be and/or has been administered.

D. PENALTIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VIOLATIONS

Administration will notify parents of any/all violations listed below:

1. First Violation

a. Penalty: After confirmation of the first violation, the student shall lose eligibility for the next two consecutive interscholastic events or two weeks of a season in which the student is a participant, whichever is greater. No exception is permitted for a student who becomes a participant in a treatment program.

b. Recommendations:

1. It is recommended that the school develop a local education program through which the student would receive information about the effects of misuse or abuse of mood-altering chemicals.

2. It is recommended that, when appropriate, the school refer a student to a community agency or a professional individual outside the school for assessment of potential chemical abuse or misuse.

2. Second Violation

a. Penalty: After confirmation of the second violation, the student shall lose eligibility for the next six consecutive interscholastic events or three weeks of a season in which the student is a participant, whichever is greater. No exception is permitted for a student who becomes a participant in a treatment program.

b. Recommendations:

1. It is recommended that before being readmitted to activities following suspension for the second violation, the student shall show evidence in writing that they have received counseling from a community agency or professional individual such as a school counselor, drug counselor, medical doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

2. It is recommended that, when appropriate, the school refer a student to a community agency or a professional individual outside the school for assessment of potential chemical abuse or misuse.

3. Third Violation

a. Penalty:

1. After confirmation of the third or subsequent violations, the student shall lose eligibility for the next 12 consecutive interscholastic events or 4 weeks of a season in which the student is a participant, whichever is greater.

2. If after the third or subsequent violations, the student on their own volition becomes a participant in a chemical dependency program or treatment program, the student may be certified for reinstatement in MSHSL activities after a minimum period of six weeks. Such certification must be issued by the director or a counselor or a chemical dependency treatment center.

b. Recommendation: It is recommended that the student be referred for assessment of potential chemical abuse, misuse or dependency by a community agency or a professional individual outside the school.

4. Penalties shall be cumulative beginning with and throughout the student’s participation on a varsity, junior varsity, sophomore or freshman team or activity.

5. Denial Disqualification: A student shall be disqualified from all interscholastic activities for nine additional weeks beyond the student’s original period of ineligibility when the student denies violation of the rule, is allowed to participate and then is subsequently found guilty of the violation.

E. In addition to Section C, where students are found to have violated eligibility rules, situations of suspected student chemical use need to be addressed before serious problems or reported violations occur.

1. In instances where growing indications of chemical use appear, a personal conference with the student shall be conducted by a concerned staff person to discuss concerns about the student and their chemical health.

2. In instances where the indications of chemical use still appear, following the student conference and a grace period, a conference will be held with parents to discuss the staff’s concern for the student’s chemical health.

3. In instances where the indications of chemical use still appear, following the parent conference and grace period, the student may be suspended from “play” by the coach until there are positive improvements in chemical health.

4. Racial/Religious/Sexual Harassment/Violence and Hazing

NOTE: (See current Minnesota State High School League Athletic Eligibility General Rules on file at the high school.)

F. SUSPENSIONS

In unique situations, the initiation of the suspension may be aired by the administration. (Example: Individual goes out for one activity, violates a rule, the suspension would begin at the start of this event even if the youth decides to go out for an additional activity.)

G. ENROLLMENT, ATTENDANCE AND REQUIRED SUBJECT LOAD

A student must be registered, attending classes regularly and be enrolled in the required number of credits.

H. TRIMESTERS IN HIGH SCHOOL

A student shall not participate in a high school extra-curricular activity after their 12 trimesters in grades 9 - 12 inclusive. All 12 trimesters shall be consecutive. The attendance of 15 days or more in one trimester will count as a trimester in administering this standard.

I. SEASONS OF PARTICIPATION

No student may participate in more than four seasons in any sport while enrolled in grades 9-12, trimesters 1-12 inclusive.

J. AWARDS RULES

Awards other than medals, ribbons, letters, trophies, plaques, athletic insignias, cups, etc., shall not be awarded for participation in high school extra-curricular activities. Cost may not exceed $100.00.

K. GRADUATE

A graduate of a high school is ineligible for participation in any high school extra-curricular activities. Early graduation will be governed by Minnesota State High School League regulations.

L. AGE

A student may not participate in high school athletics who is twenty years of age on the date of the contest. A student who has started a season will be permitted to complete that season after reaching their twentieth birthday. Adapted athletes are eligible to participate until their 22nd birthday, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements.

M. AMATEURISM

A student must be an amateur in the sport for which they are candidates. Golf is governed by the United States Golf Association Amateur Rule.

N. ALL-STAR TEAMS AND GAMES

Students who participate on all-star teams or in all-star games, after having participated in activities as a representative of a Minnesota State High School League member school, are ineligible in that sport in which the violation occurred for a period of one year from the date of the last violation. In the case of a senior, they will forfeit remaining eligibility in all athletic activities for their senior year.

O. ATHLETIC CAMPS AND CLINICS

1. School Year: Students may attend athletic camps and clinics which have been approved by their high school principal.

2. Summer Vacation Period: Non-school specialized athletic camps and clinics do not require approval.

a. The non-school sponsored camp or clinic fee must be provided by the student or the student’s parent(s) or guardian, unless other arrangements are approved by the Board of Directors.

b. A student may attend a camp or clinic where a member of the school’s coaching staff (sophomore, B-squad, junior varsity or varsity) in that sport owns, administers, directs, organizes, or serves as an instructor or is a staff member during the student’s attendance.

3. Penalty:

a. First Violation: After confirmation of the first violation, the student shall lose eligibility in that sport for the next two consecutive interscholastic contests or two weeks of that season, whichever is greater. If there are fewer than two events remaining in that sport, the loss of eligibility will continue into the next season in that sport. Note: This means that a senior who violates the bylaws at the end of one sport season will lose eligibility for two games in the next sport season in which the student participates.

b. Second Violation: After confirmation of the second violation, the student shall lose eligibility in that sport for the next six consecutive interscholastic contests or three weeks, whichever is greater.

c. Third Violation: After confirmation of the third or subsequent violations, the student shall lose eligibility in that sport for the next 12 consecutive interscholastic contests or 4 weeks, whichever is greater.

d. Accumulative Penalties: Penalties shall be cumulative beginning with the student’s first participation in a League activity and continuing through the student’s high school career.

P. PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND PARENT’S PERMIT

Any student who intends to participate in high school interscholastic activities and cheerleading activities must have on file in the high school a record of a physical examination performed by a physician within the previous three years. A health questionnaire shall be completed annually and could indicate the need for physical examination prior to participation. The signature of the parent or guardian approving participation is required annually.

Q. TRANSFER RULE

As per MSHSL transfer policy, bylaw 111.00 (contact Activities Director for more specific information in this area):

1. A change of residence is the actual physical relocation by the parents or guardians of a student with the intent to reside indefinitely at a new residence and terminate all occupancy of a previous residence. The change in residence must be bona fide, include other minor siblings and involve transfer from one school district attendance area to another school district attendance area.

For purposes of eligibility determinations, the residence of a student shall be the bona fide location of the residence and must include occupancy by the student's’ parents or guardians in the public school attendance area. Both parents, except as otherwise provided herein, must physically reside at the residence on a regular basis for the duration of the student’s enrollment.

If married, residence is determined by the bona fide residence where the student and the student’s spouse actually reside. In determining whether a change in residence is bona fide, a member school and the League may consider:

a. New mailing address of the parents or guardians

b. Voting registration of parents or guardians that coincides with the new residence

c. Driver’s license registration that coincides with the new residence

d. Purchase or rental agreements

e. Any other reliable evidence of residency

2. Residence: For purposes of eligibility, a student may only have one residence. To determine residence for eligibility purposes, the public school district attendance area in which the home last occupied by both parents is located shall be considered as the family’s residence.

3. Emancipated Student: If emancipated, a student’s residence is determined by the bona fide residence where the student actually resides. An emancipated student is one who:

a. has been a resident of the state of Minnesota for at least one full calendar year immediately preceding the date in question, and

b. is totally self-supporting. Criteria to determine if a student is self- supporting may include, but is not limited to:

1. a notarized statement from the parent(s) or guardian(s) that they provide none of the student’s support;

2. verification of employment or other means of financial support from the student’s employer or supporting agency;

3. verification of rent payment by the student

4. verification from a school that the student is accepted to attend as a resident student on the grounds of being emancipated.

5. any other documentation requested by the Minnesota State High School League or member school.

4. Good Standing: For purposes of this bylaw, the term “good standing” shall mean that on the official date of withdrawal from the last school attended the student was fully eligible at that school under all of the conditions and all of the eligibility requirements of that school as well as the eligibility requirements of the state activity association of which that school is a member.

5. Guardianship: For purposes of this bylaw, guardianship shall not be accepted for the purpose of establishing the residence of a student except when the guardianship has been established pursuant to a child protection order placement in a foster home or a juvenile court disposition order.

6. High School: A high school shall include grades 9 through 12.

7. Parents: For purposes of this bylaw, parents shall mean both parents of the student. In the event of divorce, parent shall be the parent with legal and physical custody of the student. In the case of a child protection order, parent shall mean the facility assigned by a court pursuant to a child protection order, foster home placement or juvenile court disposition order.

8. Public School District Attendance Area: The term “public school district attendance area” shall be understood to refer to the area assigned to a specific high school by a Board of Education and shall not refer to a school district except in cases in which only one high school exists in a school district.

9. Transfer Student: A transfer student is one who discontinues enrollment and attendance in any high school, public or non-public, located in a public school district attendance area and enrolls and attends classes in any other high school in Minnesota.

Domestic Students

a. A transfer student is eligible for varsity competition provided the student was in good standing on the date of withdrawal from the last school the student attended and one (1) of the provisions in Section 2 (below) is met.

b. A transfer student is eligible for varsity competition if:

1. 9th Grade Option: the student is enrolling in 9th grade for the first time;

2. Family Residence Change: the student transfers from one public school district attendance area to another public school district attendance area at any time during the calendar year in which there is a change of residence and occupancy in Minnesota by the student’s parents. If the student’s parents move from one public school district attendance area to another public school district attendance area, the student will be eligible in the new public school attendance area or a non-public school if the student transfers at the same time the student’s parents move.

If the parents move from one public school district attendance area to another, the student shall continue to be fully eligible if the student continues enrollment in the prior school for the balance of the current marking period or for the balance of the academic school year. If the student elects either of the current enrollment options above, the student will be fully eligible upon transfer to the new school.

A student who elects not to transfer upon a parent’s change in residence shall continue to be eligible at the school in which the student is currently enrolled.

3. Court Ordered Residence Change for Child Protection: the student’s residence is changed pursuant to a child protection order placement in a foster home, or a juvenile court disposition order.

4. Custody of Student: A student of divorced parents who have joint physical custody of the student may move from one custodial parent to the other custodial parent and be fully eligible at the time of the move. The student may utilize this provision only one time during grades 9-12 inclusive.

5. Move From Out of State: If a student’s parents move to Minnesota from a state or country outside of Minnesota and if the student moves at the same time the parent establishes a residence in a Minnesota public school district attendance area, the student shall be eligible at the first school the student attends in Minnesota.

6. Enrollment Options Program: A student who utilizes Minnesota Statute 124D.03 Enrollment Options Program, and transfers without a corresponding change of residence by the student’s parents shall elect one of the following:

a. retain full eligibility for varsity competition for one (1) calendar year at the school where the student was enrolled prior to the transfer after which time the student shall become fully eligible at the school to which the student has open enrolled; or

b. be eligible only at the non-varsity level in the school to which the student has open enrolled for one (1) calendar year.

c. If none of the provisions in Section 2 (above) are met, the student is ineligible for varsity competition for a period of one calendar year beginning with the first day of attendance in the new school.

1. Students are immediately eligible for competition at the non-varsity level.

2. A student may not obtain eligibility as a result of a transfer. If at the time of transfer the student was not fully eligible in the previous school, the student shall be ineligible in the new school. A student who was not in good standing at the time of transfer shall be ineligible until the penalty from the previous school has been served.

3. Each time a student transfers and the conditions of the transfer do not meet any of the provisions of Bylaw 111.2.A., the student will be ineligible for varsity competition for a period of one (1) calendar year beginning with the first day of attendance at the new school. For example, if a student, while serving a one-year transfer suspension, transfers to another school and none of the provisions of Bylaw 111.2.A. are met, an additional one-year suspension will be applied. The student will begin serving the additional one-year suspension immediately following the completion of the previous one-year suspension.

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Board of Directors has established a due process procedure for a student or parent who believes the bylaws of the MSHSL have been misinterpreted by the student’s school administrator(s) who are charged by the school to determine the student’s eligibility. A student who represents the student’s school in competition between member schools at the varsity, junior varsity or sophomore B-squad level must be fully eligible to do so, and the student or the student’s parents who wish to contest a school’s failure to certify the eligibility of a student may do so as identified in the Fair Hearing Procedure identified at the beginning of the 300 series of bylaws in the most current MSHSL Official Handbook.

Rationale:

The member schools of the Minnesota State High School League believe that the development, interpretation, application and administration of eligibility rules and regulations are essential components of a school’s membership in the MSHSL because they:

    • Uphold the integrity of the mission of the MSHSL.
    • To the extent possible, provide fair and equitable competition for students, schools and school communities throughout the state and serve as a deterrent to students and others who may seek to attend a particular school for the purpose of building athletic strength.
    • Support students in local school communities from being displaced by others who reside in different attendance areas.
    • Protect school programs from losing students who have established an identity as an athlete or fine arts participant and, as such, are contributors to the overall support of the school community.
    • Further, the member schools believe the universal and consistent application of eligibility rules.
    • Support the founding purposes of the MSHSL to “ . . . provide and administer a program of activities . . . on a competitive basis . . . to establish uniform and equitable rules . . . to elevate standards of sportsmanship and to encourage the growth of responsible citizenship among the students, member schools and their personnel.”
    • Limit the varsity eligibility of students who move from their district of residence to another school without a full and complete move by the student's parents.
    • Advise students about limitations they may face if they don’t immediately qualify for varsity competition.
    • Affirm that athletic and fine arts eligibility to represent a school is a privilege and not a right, and they support the educational philosophy that athletics must not be permitted to assume a dominant position in a student’s or school’s program.
    • Clarify the difference between a student’s opportunity to transfer from school to school or to become involved in PSEO and similar academic programs and a student’s athletic and fine arts eligibility when a transfer occurs.
    • Support the school community relationship. The pride a community takes in its school’s teams can’t be matched. To undermine the integrity of a community-school alliance to benefit the athletic pursuits of an individual or a small group of athletes is, at best, a questionable practice.
    • Speak directly to the summertime athletic program influences. The Minnesota State High School League was created, “to establish uniform and equitable rules for youth in inter-school activities” and “to protect youth, member schools and their personnel from exploitation by special interest groups.”
    • Underline the belief that ethical behavior, fair play, honorable competition, dignity and respect are non-negotiable.
R. NON-SCHOOL COMPETITION AND TRAINING FOR TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL SPORTS

1. During the High School Season: A student may not participate as a member of a non-school team, in the same sport. SEASON DEFINED: The high school season shall run from the first date that practice may begin until the team is eliminated in MSHSL tournament competition. Baseball, softball, and skiing are exceptions to this rule.

Exception: Summer Vacation Period - Students may participate on a non-school team in the same sport as they currently play at the high school level during the summer vacation period. SUMMER VACATION DEFINED: Summer vacation shall start on the Saturday following the fourth Friday in May and ending on Labor Day.

Summer Coaching Waiver: If a student participates on a team coached by a member of the high school coaching staff, coaching contact shall end on July 31 unless an extension to the summer waiver is granted by the school’s Activities Director.

2. During the School Year, Prior To and Following the High School Sports Season: A student may participate in contests, meets or tournaments as an individual competitor or as a member of a non-school team provided that these activities are voluntary and not influenced or directed for a salaried or nonsalaried member of the student’s sophomore, B-squad, junior varsity or varsity high school coaching staff.

a. A student may not use any type of high school uniform.

b. A student may not receive coaching or training from a salaried or nonsalaried member of the student’s sophomore, B-squad, junior varsity or varsity high school coaching staff in that sport. Power skating and indoor soccer are included in this limitation.

c. A student may receive training through private lessons from a person who is not a salaried or nonsalaried member of the student’s sophomore, B-squad, junior varsity or varsity high school coaching staff in that sport.

d. A student’s fee for non-school coaching or training must be provided by the student or the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) unless approved by the Board of Directors.

3. Summer Vacation Period:

a. A student may compete as an individual or as a member of a non-school team even though competing on a high school team in the same sport. SUMMER DEFINED: The day following the fourth Friday in May through Labor Day. (Exception Summer Coaching Waiver).

b. Students may receive a summer waiver to be coached by their high school coach. Students must contact their high school Activities Director.

4. Penalty:

a. First Violation: After confirmation of the first violation, the student shall lose eligibility in that sport for the next two consecutive interscholastic contests or two weeks of that season, whichever is greater. If there are fewer than two events remaining in that sport, the loss of eligibility will continue into the next season in that sport. Note: This means that a senior who violates the bylaws at the end of one sport season will lose eligibility for two games in the next sport season in which the student participates.

b. Second Violation: After confirmation of the second violation, the student shall lose eligibility in that sport for the next six consecutive interscholastic contests or three weeks, whichever is greater.

c. Third Violation: After confirmation of the third or subsequent violations, the student shall lose eligibility in that sport for the next 12 consecutive interscholastic contests or 4 weeks, whichever is greater.

d. Accumulative Penalties: Penalties shall be accumulative beginning with the student’s first participation in a League activity and continuing through the student’s high school career.

5. Special Considerations:

a. National Teams and Olympic Development Programs - The MSHSL may permit participation by high school students on bona fide national teams or in Olympic development programs if:

1. The program is approved and supported by the national governing body of the sport or if there is an Olympic Development Program of training and competition.

2. Directly funded by a national governing body on a national level.

3. Authorized by a national governing body for athletes having potential for future national team participation. Students who are invited to participate on National Teams or in Olympic Development Programs must contact their high school principal to obtain an application form. This must be completed at least 30 days prior to participation.

b. During the school year, students who participate for their school in a sport may participate through training, try-out or competition on a National Team or in a United States Olympic Development Program provided the student receives an individual invitation from the United States Olympic Committee or the United States National Governing Body on the national level for that sport.

c. Students who have completed their eligibility in a sport are exempt from the non-school competition and training rules in that sport. All-Star rules shall apply.

S. DUE PROCESS

Before a student is suspended from an extra-curricular activity, the appropriate minimum due process components will be followed. They include:

1. Regulations governing the eligibility for participation in extra-curricular activities and consequences of violations of these rules will be provided to all participants.

2. Suspension: A student may, at any time, be suspended from participation in an activity if the advisor feels that their actions or behavior are in violation of activity rules or a disruption to the functioning of the activity. The advisor need not discuss rationale for the suspension until after the completion of the day’s activity.

3. Students will be removed from participation in extra-curricular activities only after a fair and objective investigation of the alleged violation.

4. Any student alleged to have violated the regulations will be provided an opportunity for a conference with the school administration to discuss the infraction, the evidence and the decision.

5. In unique situations, the initiation of the suspension may be varied by the administrator.

6. Fair Hearing Procedure: The League Constitution provides a Fair Hearing Procedure for the student or parent contesting a school’s failure to certify the eligibility of a student. The student has 10 calendar days in which to appeal the school’s decision. The appeals process includes an appeal before a hearing panel at the school and the right, if desired, to appeal that decision to the League’s Board of Directors. An independent hearing examiner will hear the appeal and make written findings of fact, conclusions and a recommendation for the Board of Directors following the hearing. The Board’s decision shall be final. A complete listing of the Fair Hearing Procedure may be obtained from the Activities Director or Principal of the high school.

Cross References:

Adopted: August 23, 1983
Revised: June 12, 1990
Revised: April 13, 1999
Revised: June 8, 1999
Revised: May 24, 2005
Revised: August 23, 2005
Revised: July 17, 2007
Revised: October 13, 2009
Revised: January 12, 2010
Revised: August 9, 2011