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Middle school kids starting varsity

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I was looking at the KHSAA Handbook online. Did you all know in Ky. pupils in grades 1-8 may play on the high school basketball team? As long as it does not conflict with he following:


c) No student having been enrolled in the fourth (4th) grade

or in any grade through twelfth (12th) shall be eligible for

interscholastic athletics at the high school level (grades 9

through 12) for more than a total of one (1) year in each grade

and applicable eligibility shall begin in the fi rst year enrolled

in that grade. Students repeating a grade for any reason are

ineligible to participate in interscholastic athletics at the high

school level (grades 9 through 12) during the second year in

that grade. The penalty for violation of this rule shall be the loss

of one of the four years of eligibility after being promoted from

grade nine (9). Policies regarding the participation of repeating

students at the levels of play below high school interscholastic

athletics shall be determined by the school council pursuant to

KRS 160.345 (2) (i).

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I think this was covered pretty accurately in a previous thread about a kid a Holmes.


I'll weigh in again (if anyone cares).


In schools such as Holmes (where grades 8-12 are on the same campus) and Beechwood (7-12 are HS grades), I have no problem with pulling a kid up to play at the JV or Varsity level. These students go to school with each other on a daily basis, eat with each other and are even in some of the same classes. Because they report to the same school office/principal/athletic director, they are held to the same standards.

Conversely, I have a problem with going to feeder schools to get players. If you don't have the horses to field a Freshman team this year, scrap it. I watched the Dayton/Newport Girls play earlier this year and was appalled to see the starting five Freshman start the JV and play significant minutes int he Varsity. What was bad at 4:30 was horrible (and exhausted) at 7:30. Most of the Frosh coaches don't schedule games until the fall coaches meeting anyway. If you have to go to a middle school, you're disrupting the following (in my order of importance) 1. that student's academic routine as set by teachers in that school; 2. that sudent's social routine with the friends their own age; 3.that student's athletic development.


Let me break it down.

1. Teachers often set goals and assignments based on activities. If, for example, a sixth grade teacher at Turkeyfoot knows that the team plays every Wed. night, that teacher may lighten the load a bit, or may choose not to schedule tests for Thursdays. However if a student is playing at Dixie, no consideration can be made. This becomes especially important when the team may travel even just a short distance to Holy Cross and the bus doesn't even get back to school until 9:30 or 10.

2. Any student can be enrolled in school, go to all their classes, make good grades and not get any social benefit from being there. It is overly important for kids to be allowed to mature before getting to the HS level. By pulling kids up too soon, you'd be both putting them in with an older group that they may not be ready for and pulling them away from the friends that they are going to spend the next 5 6 or 7 years with. Those bonds cannot always be rebuilt.

3. By pulling these kids up too soon, I think you put them on a pedastal too early. The best kids in 12th grade are normally the ones who had to work to get there. The ones that were great early tend to fall off at the end because they don't continue to work to get better.



Edited by alwayswrong
poor typing
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I don't know if I'm reading this right or not but want to ask. I know if a kid is in grades 9-12 and they fail a grade they are ineligible the following year while they are repeating that year. The next year, if they pass, they are back to being eligible and still have all their years left to play. BUT if the kid is in 8th grade playing varsity ball, and they fail that year and have to repeat, then they are eligible the repeat year to play varsity ball again? "). Policies regarding the participation of repeating

students at the levels of play below high school interscholastic

athletics shall be determined by the school council pursuant to

KRS 160.345 (2) (i)." Is this what this last part means? That it is up to the individual school to determine the kids eligibility? Just a little confused but if this is true then that's really screwed up. And I agree with alwayswrong and have seen it too many times where a very talented MS athlete is pulled up to varsity, told how great they are, get the big head that any 13 or 14 year old would get, and then quit working and flame out before their senior year. Why isn't the KHSAA doing something about this?

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It is my understanding that the KHSAA eligibility rules do not apply until the student is in the ninth grade. However, the age requirement does-- the only exception is if a student is held back in the k, 1, 2, or 3rd grade with a certain action plan (I think its an LD action plan) then an exception can be granted to the 19 by sept 1 rule.

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Didn't Dennis Johnson play varsity football in the 6th grade or something like that?



Dennis and Derek Johnson were on the Harrodsburg varsity football team as 3rd and 4th graders when their father, Alvis, was the head coach. They were big kids for their ages and were at a very small school with their father as the coach. Very special circumstances.

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