Welcome to ATHLETICS
Polk County Public Schools is excited to offer competitive athletics to our high schools. We are members of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA). Athletics are of historical and social significance in our national culture and provide a primary means through which we develop and maintain the physical vigor and stamina required to develop our full potential.
Athletics provide healthful and wholesome leisure-time activities for our youth, and are a building block of lifelong health and well being. By understanding that athletics play an important role in not only developing students physically, but also mentally and socially, Polk County Public Schools embraces the important role that athletics and our coaches play in that process.
To maximize the educational potential of athletics, interscholastic programs should be organized and conducted in accordance with these six basic principles:
- Interscholastic athletic programs should be regarded as integral parts of the total educational program and should be conducted so that they are worthy of such regard.
- Interscholastic athletic programs should supplement, rather than serve as substitutes for, basic physical education programs, physical recreation programs, and intramural athletic programs.
- Interscholastic athletic programs should be subject to the same administrative control as the total educational programs.
- Interscholastic athletic programs should be conducted by personnel with adequate training in the principles of coaching.
- The welfare of the participant should be placed above any other consideration. What happens to the student-athlete who participates in the sports program is of primary importance. His or her welfare should transcend any other consideration.
- Interscholastic athletic programs should be conducted in accordance with the letter and spirit of the rules and regulations of appropriate conference, state, and national athletic associations.
While it is wonderful that we have achieved success in the competitive field, the true focus of our athletics program is to foster character, integrity, and discipline.
Participation in interscholastic athletics by a student is a privilege, not a right. To earn this privilege, students must abide by the rules and meet the standards of academic performance and personal behavior that are related to school purpose.
All of our schools’ sports games are registered on MAXPREPS. Visit www.maxpreps.com to search for your school’s sports games, or visit your school’s individual website.
Need to find your school’s website? Check out our Schools Listing page.
The Polk County School Board has purchased a basic accident insurance policy. The policy provides limited medical benefits for injuries sustained while student athletes are practicing for and competing in FHSAA sanctioned events or attending approved school activities under the direct supervision of a Polk County School Employee. In the event of an emergency, the Identification Cards can be presented to a hospital to show proof of insurance. The I.D.card does not guarantee full payment of all medical expenses. Hospitals can call the 800 number listed on the card if they desire further information. Visit www.schoolinsuranceofflorida.com for additional information.
Accidents that happen at school are generally NOT the fault of the school nor are such accidents the responsibility of the district to provide medical treatment. You are encouraged to provide medical health insurance for your children to meet the medical needs of your child due to accidents. Florida schools are not required to purchase insurance or pay medical expenses for student injuries. However, the Polk County School Board will provide a supplemental student accident insurance policy to protect Polk County student-athletes and cheerleaders while they are participating in specified summer activities and while under the direct supervision of a school coach during the school term scheduled practices and competition, during the regular FHSAA seasons.
The Polk County policy is NOT ‘primary’ insurance. The district policy is designed to provide ‘secondary or excess coverage’. This means the student accident policy will NOT pay any expenses that could be covered by other family insurance or an HMO or PPO. The accident insurance policy is NOT designed to provide 100% reimbursement for all medical expenses incurred. The policy has limitations and benefits as outlined on the backside of this form. The Polk County School Board does not assume responsibility for payment of medical expenses that are not covered by the school’s policy or for benefits that could be received from family medical insurance.
Eligible Summer Activities:
The policy provides benefits for covered injuries that may occur exclusively during Polk Public School summer sports conditioning, Polk District non-contact football passing, Polk District volleyball leagues, basketball leagues and cheerleading practices that are exclusively sponsored, funded and endorsed by the Polk County School Board and under the direct supervision of paid Polk County School coaches, while on school premises. Club Sports, summer camps or private leagues are not covered under this policy. Private camps held by third parties are not covered under this policy.
NOTE: The policy does not cover: 1) injuries that may occur away from school premises or while traveling to and from the summer activities; 2) any injury occurring during summer ‘camps’ or ‘non-school sponsored competition teams’, even if camps or competitive teams are coached by a high school coach and the events take place on school property; 3) any injury at home unless the 24-Hour option is purchased, go to www.schoolinsuranceofflorida.com.
Claim Filing Instructions:
In the event of an injury, please report student injuries to the school coach immediately. If you have other insurance, you must first file a claim with your other insurance carrier and obtain benefits from your other insurance source. After receiving notification from your personal insurance, then file a claim with the school insurance if you have unpaid medical bills and attach an itemized Doctor bill and the statement received from your personal insurance. The school policy will not pay for expenses that could be collected from other sources of coverage.
If a student is injured on Polk County School District premises during a covered summer activity or FHSAA athletic practice or FHSAA competition during the regular school term, the injury requires medical treatment within 60 days after the date of injury by a licensed physician. The policy may pay specified medical benefits incurred within one year from the date of injury subject to the following policy limits:
Doctor Visits / Consultations:
Pays up to $60 for the first day of care and up to $45 for each day of follow-up.
Pays benefits as listed in the 2004 Florida Workers Compensation Fee Schedule
Pays up to $1,000 based on the 2004 Florida Workers Compensation Fee Schedule.
In-Patient Hospital Expenses:
Pays up to $1,000 per day for semi-private room and all other in- hospital charges (except personal convenience items, T.V., phone, etc.).
Emergency Room Charges:
Pays up to $500, (applies to injuries requiring emergency treatment).
Out-Patient Hospital Expenses:
Pays up to $2,500 for the hospital or facility charges in the aggregate when major surgery is performed on an out-patient basis.
Out-Patient X-rays; MRI or CAT Scans:
Pays an aggregate X-Ray maximum of $300 & $600 for all other necessary (including interpretation/ reading fees) imaging tests such as MRI or Cat Scans in the aggregate.
Out-Patient Therapy / Manipulations /Adjustments:
Pays up to $40 per day for up to 10 days of treatment and similar treatment visits.
Orthopedic Appliances / Casting / Braces / Crutches / Drugs:
Pays up to $300 in the aggregate.
Surgically implanted Medical Devices (pins, plates, etc.):
Pays up to $500 in the aggregate.
Dental Benefit for Accidental Injury:
Pays up to $750 per injured tooth (orthodontic procedures & treatment of previously damaged teeth not covered).
Licensed Ambulance Service:
Pays up to $750 for initial trip to the closest medical facility, (air or ground).
Policy Exclusions: are and will not pay for medical treatment due to: pre-existing condition or aggravation of or reoccurrence of conditions that did not originally occur during a covered school activity; mental conditions; orthodontic treatment; Boils, pathological stress fractures, athlete’s foot, impetigo or similar skin infection, rashes, poisonous vegetation reactions, warts, blisters, calluses, cramps, muscle spasms, allergies or allergic reactions, ingrown nails, appendicitis, hernia of any kind, however caused; infections occurring other than as a result of such injury; detached retina; or psychiatric care. Any form of illness, sickness or disease process including but not limited to the following: Perthes’ Disease, Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease, Osteomyelitis, Osteochondritis, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis, Thrombophlebitis, Hysterical Reactions, or similar conditions. Any form of fighting or brawling or criminal or felonious assault or the Insured being engaged in an illegal occupation. Any condition not due solely to an identifiable accident occurring while this policy was in force. Any organized sports leagues, camps, martial arts or boxing schools that are not exclusively sponsored, supervised and funded by the Polk County Public Schools. The complete policy contains a more detailed description of the specific terms, provisions and policy exclusions.
Medical Treatment: by a licensed doctor must be provided within 60 days from the covered accident date to be eligible for policy benefits. The maximum benefit for any covered motor vehicle related injury is $2,000. The maximum policy benefit is $25,000 (subject to the schedule of benefit limitations above) for all other covered injuries. This information sheet is intended to provide a summary of the policy purchased by the Polk County School Board. All claims will be processed in direct accordance with the specified policy terms. The school insurance policy is not intended to replace family or group health insurance policies. The policy is not a guarantee that all medical expenses will be paid. Parents must assume financial responsibility for paying expenses not covered by the accident policy purchased by the Polk County School Board.
Claim Filing Instructions: If a student is accidentally injured during a school activity, immediately report the accident to the school coach or school Principal. Please remember…If you have any other sources of coverage such as an employer’s policy, HMO, PPO, Blue Cross, Champus, you must first file a claim with your other insurance source. If you have questions concerning this policy, do not call the school. Contact the agency that handles payment of claims: SCHOOL INSURANCE OF FLORIDA, P.O. Box 784268 Winter Garden, FL 34778. Phone toll free 1-800-432-6915. The website address is www.schoolinsuranceofflorida.com.
Concussions/Heat Related Illness
What is a concussion?
Concussion is a brain injury. Concussions, as well as all other head injuries, are serious. They can be caused by a bump, a twist of the head, sudden deceleration or acceleration, a blow or jolt to the head, or by a blow to another part of the body with force transmitted to the head. You can’t see a concussion, and more than 90% of all concussions occur without loss of consciousness. Signs and symptoms of concussion may show up right after the injury or can take hours or days to fully appear. All concussions are potentially serious and, if not managed properly, may result in complications including brain damage and, in rare cases, even death. Even a “ding” or a bump on the head can be serious. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms or signs of concussion yourself, your child should be immediately removed from play, evaluated by a medical professional and cleared by a medical doctor.
What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?
Concussion symptoms may appear immediately after the injury or can take several days to appear. Studies have shown that it takes on average 10-14 days or longer for symptoms to resolve and, in rare cases or if the athlete has sustained multiple concussions, the symptoms can be prolonged. Signs and symptoms of concussion can include: (not all-inclusive)
• Vacant stare or seeing stars
• Lack of awareness of surroundings
• Emotions out of proportion to circumstances (inappropriate crying or anger)
• Headache or persistent headache, nausea, vomiting
• Altered vision
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Delayed verbal and motor responses
• Disorientation, slurred or incoherent speech
• Dizziness, including light-headedness, vertigo (spinning) or loss of equilibrium (being off balance or swimming sensation)
• Decreases coordination, reaction time
• Confusion and inability to focus attention
• Memory loss
• Sudden change in academic performance or drop in grades
• Irritability, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, easy fatigability
• In rare cases, loss of consciousness
What can happen if my child keeps on playing with a concussion or returns to soon?
Athletes with signs and symptoms of concussion should be removed from activity (play or practice) immediately. Continuing to play with the signs and symptoms of a concussion leaves the young athlete especially vulnerable to sustaining another concussion. Athletes who sustain a second concussion before the symptoms of the first concussion have resolved and the brain has had a chance to heal are at risk for prolonged concussion symptoms, permanent disability and even death (called “Second Impact Syndrome” where the brain swells uncontrollably). There is also evidence that multiple concussions can lead to long-term symptoms, including early dementia.
What do I do if I suspect my child has suffered a concussion?
Any athlete suspected of suffering a concussion should be removed from the activity immediately. No athlete may return to activity after an apparent head injury or concussion, regardless of how mild it seems or how quickly symptoms clear, without written medical clearance from an appropriate health-care professional (AHCP). In Florida, an appropriate health-care professional (AHCP) is defined as either a licensed physician (MD, as per Chapter 458, Florida Statutes), a licensed osteopathic physician (DO, as per Chapter 459, Florida Statutes)Close observation of the athlete should continue for several hours. You should also seek medical care and inform your child’s coach if you think that your child may have a concussion. Remember, it’s better to miss one game than to have your life changed forever. When in doubt, sit them out.
When can my child return to play or practice?
Following physician evaluation, the return to activity process requires the athlete to be completely symptom free, after which time they would complete a step-wise protocol under the supervision of a licensed athletic trainer, coach or medical professional and then, receive written medical clearance of an AHCP.
For current and up-to-date information on concussions, visit http://www.cdc.gov/concussioninyouthsports/or http://www.seeingstarsfoundation.org
“HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS INFORMATION”
People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies cannot properly cool themselves by sweating. Sweating is the body’s natural air conditioning, but when a person’s body temperature rises rapidly, sweating just isn’t enough. Heat-related illnesses can be serious and life threatening. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs, and can cause disability and even death. Heatrelated illnesses and deaths are preventable. Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It happens when the body’s temperature rises quickly and the body cannot cool down. Heat Stroke can cause permanent disability and death. Heat Exhaustion is a milder type of heat-related illness. It usually develops after a number of days in high temperature weather and not drinking enough fluids. Heat Cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during demanding activity. Sweating reduces the body’s salt and moisture and can cause painful cramps, usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Who’s at Risk?
Those at highest risk include the elderly, the very young, people with mental illness and people with chronic diseases. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in demanding physical activities during hot weather. Other conditions that can increase your risk for heat-related illness include obesity, fever, dehydration, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug or alcohol use.
Eligibility - Middle School
THIS MESSAGE IS INTENDED FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL ATHLETES WHO PLAN TO PLAY SPORTS FOR A HIGH SCHOOL TEAM
1. You must be regularly enrolled and in regular attendance at your current school. There are exceptions (FHSAA Bylaw 9.2)
2. Once you enter high school, you are required to maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 unweighted scale after completion of the first semester of 9th grade (FHSAA Bylaw 9.4).
3. You can only compete for the high school you attend. There are exceptions. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.2)
4. You must not turn 19 years old prior to September 1st to participate as a high school student that school year. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.6)
5. You must complete all participation forms before participating in any athletic activities. (FHSAA Bylaws 9.7 and 9.8)
6. You must display good sportsmanship and follow the rules of competition before, during and after every contest in which you participate. If not, you may be suspended from participation for a period of time. (FHSAA Bylaw 7)
7. Must refrain from hazing/bullying while a member of an athletic team or while participating in any athletic activities sponsored by or affiliated with a member school.
8. You must not provide false information to your high school or the FHSAA to gain eligibility. (FHSAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168)
9. Falsifying documentation, accepting an impermissible benefit or talking to a coach or someone from the school about playing at his/her school before you begin attending that school is a violation and could result in: (FHSAA Policy 36)
a. you being ineligible for a year;
b. the coach may be fined and suspended;
c. the school may face penalties including fines and not making the playoffs.
Eligibility - High School
To Represent Your High School in an Athletic Contest, You:
1. Must be regularly enrolled and in regular attendance at your school. There are exceptions. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.2)
2. Must maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 unweighted scale. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.4)
3. Must not have graduated from any high school or its equivalent. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.4.7)
4. Are eligible to participate at the school in which you first enroll, or at which you first take part in an official FHSAA athletic practice, at the beginning of the school year. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.2)
5. May transfer to another high school and retain eligibility provided you meet the FHSAA transfer regulations. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.3)
6. Must not have enrolled in the ninth grade for the first time more than eight semesters ago. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.5)
7. Must not turn 19 before September 1st, otherwise the student becomes ineligible to participate. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.6)
8. Must complete a pre-participation physical evaluation form (EL2) and be certified as being physically fit for participation, have consent to participate by completing the consent and release from liability certificate (EL3) prior to participating in interscholastic athletics. All forms must be on file prior to participating with the school. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.7 and 9.8)
9. Must be an amateur. This means you must not accept money, gift or donation for participating in a sport. (FHSAA Bylaw 9.9)
10. Must display good sportsmanship and follow the rules of competition before, during and after every contest in which you participate. If not, you may be suspended from participation for a period of time. (FHSAA Bylaw 7)
11. Must refrain from hazing/bullying while a member of an athletic team or while participating in any athletic activities sponsored by or affiliated with a member school.
12. Must not provide false information to your school or the FHSAA to gain eligibility. (FHSAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124)
13. Falsifying documentation, accepting an impermissible benefit or talking to a coach about playing at his/her school before you begin attending that school is a violation and could result in: (FHSAA Policy 36)
a. you being ineligible for a year;
b. the coach may be fined and suspended;
c. the school may face penalties including fines and not making the playoffs.
Keep Them Hydrated, Keep Them Safe
5 Tips to Help Athletes Stay Hydrated
- Keep Hydration Top of Mind
- Remind athleres to check their urine color before practice. If it;s the color of pale lemonade, that’s a sign of being hydrated.
- Take weather info account and give athletes opportunities to drink during practice.
- Teach athletes to pay attention to how they feel, incuding their thirst and energy levels.
2. Keep Fluid Levels Up
- Athletes should drink enough fluid to maintain hydration without over-drinking.
- Flavored, cold, lightly salted sports drinks like Gatorade Thirst Quencher are inportant because sodium helps maintain the athlete’s desire to drink and retain the fluid consumed.
3. Keep the Body Cool
- Remind athletes to drink cool fluids to help maintain their body temperature.
- If your athletes experience heat illness, help them lower their body temperature by laying them down in a cool place with their legs elevated, applying cool, wet towels to their body and having them drink cool fluids.
4. Keep Hydrated Before, During And After Activity
- Athletes need to think about their entire athletic schedule when it come to fueling (not jsut when they are competing).
- Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to replace the fluids list through sweat.
5. Keep A Recovery Schedule
- Rest and recovery are an essential part of avoiding heat illness.
- Ensure your athletes have time for breaks during practices.
- Encourage ahtletes to get 6-8 hours of sleep each night in a cool environment if possible.
The Effects of Dehydration:
- Decreased performance
- Decreased mental function
- Decreased motor skills
- Decreased fluid absorption
- Decreased tolerance to heat
Both parenting and coaching are extremely difficult vocations. By establishing an understanding of each position, we are better able to accept the actions of the other and provide greater benefit to children. As parents, when your children become involved in our program, you have a right to understand what expectations are placed on your child. This begins with clear communication from the coach of your child’s program.
COMMUNICATION YOU SHOULD EXPECT FROM YOUR CHILD’S COACH
1. Philosophy of the coach.
2. Expectations the coach has for your child as well as the players on the squad.
3. Locations and times of all practices and contests.
4. Team requirements, i.e., fees, special equipment, off-season conditioning.
5. Procedure should your child be injured during participation.
6. Discipline that may result in the denial of your child’s participation.
COMMUNICATION COACHES EXPECT FROM PARENTS
1. Concerns expressed directly to the coach.
2. Notification of any schedule conflicts well in advance.
3. Specific concern in regard to a coach’s philosophy and/or expectations.
4. Medical or physical limitations of your child.
As your children become involved in the athletic programs they will experience some of the most rewarding moments of their lives. It is important to understand that there are also may be times when things do not go the way you or your child wishes. At these times discussion with the coach is encouraged.
APPROPRIATE CONCERNS TO DISCUSS WITH COACHES
1. The treatment of your child, mentally and physically.
2. Ways to help your child improve.
3. Concerns about your child’s behavior.
It is very difficult to accept your child’s not playing as much as you may hope. Coaches are professionals. They make judgment decisions based on what they believe to be best for all students involved. As you have seen from the list above, certain things can be and should be discussed with your child’s coach. Other things must be left to the discretion of the coach.
ISSUES NOT APPROPRIATE TO DISCUSS WITH COACHES
1. Playing time.
2. Team strategy.
3. Play calling.
4. Other student-athletes.
There are situations that may require a conference between the coach and the parent. These are to be encouraged. It is important that both parties involved have a clear understanding of the others position. When these conferences are necessary, the following procedure should be followed to help promote a resolution to the issue of concern.
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN TO DISCUSS WITH A COACH, THIS IS THE PROCEDURE YOU SHOULD FOLLOW:
1. Call to set up an appointment.
2. If the coach cannot be reached, call the Athletic Director. He/she will set up the meeting for you.
3. Please do not attempt to confront a coach before or after a contest or practice. These can be emotional times for both the parent and the coach. Meetings of this nature do not promote resolution.
WHAT CAN A PARENT DO IF THE MEETING WITH THE COACH DOES NOT PROVIDE A SATISFACTORY RESOLUTION?
1. Call and set up an appointment with the Athletic Director or Principal to discuss the situation.
2. At this meeting the appropriate next step can be determined.
3. Every effort should be made to resolve the problem at the high school before addressing your concerns with the District Director of Athletics.
Since research indicates a student involved in extra-curricular activities has a greater chance for success during adulthood, these programs have been established. Many of the character traits required to be a successful participant are exactly those that will promote success after high school. We hope the information provided within this pamphlet makes both your child’s and your experience with the Polk County Schools athletic programs less stressful and more enjoyable.
PRESEASON MEETING RATIONALE
The philosophy of the preseason meeting is to involve the parents and the school in a conscientious effort to be partners. Through such involvement, the opportunity for optimal growth and development of students is enhanced. Preseason meetings provide a forum for students and their parents, school staff and other adult leaders to openly discuss a variety of issues, such as sportsmanship, school policy, risk of injury and healthy lifestyles, including the use of tobacco,
alcohol and other drugs. Preseason meetings represent an extraordinary opportunity to foster a dialogue among students, their parents and school staff – a dialogue that lays the groundwork for real collaboration towards healthier youth and strong communities.
PRESEASON MEETING GOALS
• Introduce student activity participants, their parents, coaches, athletic trainers and sponsors to each other in a relaxed, cooperative atmosphere.
• Provide information about activities, insurance, physicals, district policies, program philosophy, etc.
• Provide information on state high school athletic/activity association, school and team rules.
• Provide specific guidelines, rules and consequences of rule violations.
• Provide information concerning practice, game and tournament schedules.
• Warn student activity participants and their parents of the potential for physical injury.
• Promote importance of ongoing, honest communication.
• Create awareness about tobacco, alcohol and other drug-use issues, ethics and sportsmanship and how they relate to sports and other activities.
• Involve parents in tobacco, alcohol and other drug education and prevention efforts.
• Develop a bond of mutual respect, cooperation and shared responsibility.
• Involve parents in the development of student performers on and off the playing field.
PCPS Good Cause Authority Policy
Students will exhibit satisfactory conduct in order to retain eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities in Polk County Public Schools. Students attending an Alternative School cannot participate in extracurricular activities.
Disciplinary Actions – Extracurricular Activities/Athletics
For In-School Suspension: Students may not participate in extracurricular game activities during in-school suspension.
Practice is acceptable.
For Out-of-School Suspension: Students assigned to out of school suspension shall be excluded from participating in all extracurricular activities from the date of the offense until completion of the disciplinary action, and the student has attended a regular school day. For the purpose of continuity, suspension shall begin the day the referral is finalized and the consequences issued by the appropriate administrator.
For Level III or Level IV Offenses: Students who commit a level III or IV offense shall be excluded from participating in all extracurricular activities from the date of the offense until completion of the disciplinary action, and the student has attended a regular school day
Students entering Polk County Public Schools from another school district or charter school must complete any disciplinary actions from the previous school district before the student is eligible to participate in any interscholastic school activity within Polk County Public Schools.
Special Note: Athletic Policies
A student not currently suspended from interscholastic extracurricular activities, or suspended or expelled from school, pursuant to a district school board’s suspension or expulsion powers provided in law, including ss. 1006.07, 1006.08, and 1006.09, is eligible to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities.
A student may not participate in a sport if the student participated in that same sport at another school during that school year, unless the student meets the criteria in s. 1006.15 (3)(h).
A student’s eligibility to participate in any interscholastic extracurricular activity may not be affected by any alleged recruiting violation until final disposition of the allegation pursuant to s.1006.20 (2)(b).
If a player quits or is dismissed for disciplinary reasons from a team, he/she shall not be permitted to try out for the next season’s sport at the same school until the season ends in the initial sport from which the athlete quits. For example: Quits football to try out for basketball. A season is defined as the first day of practice through the school’s last FHSAA play-off game. (Sideline cheer Included.)
The following includes a list of examples, such as, but not limited to, which may be considered for exclusion as eligibility standards to participate in extracurricular interscholastic activities:
- School attendance policy that may prevent a student from participating
- Alcohol/drug related behavior
- School/classroom discipline issues
- Principal discretion
- Social media issues
- Dress code policy
- Four year limit of eligibility
- Age limit – 19 years, 9 months (seniors) or 19 years on or after Sept. 1st (all others)
- Physical evaluation (EL2) and Consent and Release from Liability Certificate (EL3)
- Any other district policy which would remove or prevent a student from participating in extracurricular activities.
High School Eligibility
Academic Requirements: 2.0 grade point average required for academic eligibility. A high school student must have a cumulative 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 unweighted scale, or its equivalent, at the conclusion of each semester to be academically eligible during the next semester (s. 1006.15 (3)(a)1, Florida Statutes). Final grades previously earned by the student from another school shall not be converted using the scale in calculating GPA. The grades from all courses required for graduation that a student takes, including those taken by the student before he/she begins high school, must be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA at the conclusion of each semester. For public school students, this includes the courses listed in s. 1003.4282, Florida Statues.
Academic eligibility/ineligibility is for one semester. A student who is academically eligible at the beginning of a semester will continue to be academically eligible for that entire semester. Likewise, a student who is academically ineligible at the beginning of a semester will continue to be academically ineligible for that entire semester, except as provided in by-law 126.96.36.199.2. The student’s academic eligibility for each successive semester will depend upon his/her cumulative GPA at the conclusion of the previous semester. 188.8.131.52 Attendance during previous two consecutive semester required. A student cannot be academically eligible if he/she has not attended school and received grades for all courses taken during the previous two consecutive semesters. (FHSAA ByLaws.)
All district high schools shall be members of the Florida High School Athletic Association Inc. (FHSAA) and shall be governed by the rules and regulations adopted by FHSAA. Students who participate in athletics shall meet eligibility requirements by FHSAA and the school board.
Special Note: Athletic Student Transfer Eligibility
A student who transfers is immediately eligible as long as all other eligibility requirements are met. Students may notparticipate in the same sport in the same year at more than one school (unless one of the exceptions are met):
- Children of active duty military whose move resulted from military orders
- Children relocated due to foster care placement or McKinney-Vento Act
- Children who move due to a court-ordered change in custody due to separation, or serious illness or death of custodial parent
- Good cause policy in district or charter (district placement)
- Special assignment by Regional Superintendent, School Office, or Office of School Culture and Climate
- Move to a new residence following the marriage of the student. The student immediately establishes a new residence that makes it necessary to attend a different school
- Reassignment by District School Board or Charter School Board
- Transfer of school within the first 20 days – i.e.: acceptance into a previously applied for magnet program
- Any athletic appeal which will require the Office of Athletics Review Committee to intervene and make a decision on a case led by the Senior Coordinator of Athletics. All decisions will be given within 10 school days from the date of the appeal
- Affidavit of residency will require county athletic director approval
- Academy transfer before the season begins.
- Any student who participated in fall football season at one school and then is approved transfer to newly enrolled school per the district’s enrollment policy, will be allowed to participate in spring football.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Facts
• Almost 400,000 people in the U.S. suff er sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, yet less than 10% survive.
• SCA occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.
• At any one time, an estimated 20% of the U.S. population congregates on school grounds, increasing the likelihood of school-based cardiac emergencies.
• In children and adolescents, the causes of SCA are varied and include heart conditions that result from abnormal heart structure or function, primarily electrical abnormalities, and outside factors such as a sudden blow to the chest or drug use.
• Every 3 days a young competitive athlete dies of SCA in the U.S.
• A victim of sudden cardiac arrest will often complain of feeling “faint” or dizzy, usually during or just after exercise. They will rapidly become unconscious and may gasp for breath for a short time.
• Victims of SCA can be brought back to life by providing chest compressions and early defi brillation with an automated external defi brillator (AED).
• Every second counts. When SCA occurs, chest compressions and the use of an AED need to start immediately.
• Survival rates decrease by 10% with each minute of delay.
• There is a 5- to 6-minute window before death or irreparable brain damage occurs.
• The AED can only help and will only deliver a shock if it is needed.
• The AED is very easy to use. Just turn it on and follow the voice prompts.
• Since anyone might witness a collapse, it is important for all staff members, parents, and athletes to have some general awareness of what sudden cardiac arrest looks like and what the action steps are to help:
- Call 911
- Start chest compressions
- Use an AED
- Turn it on and follow the voice prompts
GENERAL UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT:
A student-athlete who is ejected from a contest for unsportsmanlike conduct or a flagrant foul will be ineligible to compete for the remainder of that contest and in any inter-scholastic athletic contest for the next seven (7) calendar days at the same level, or any level of participation in which the student-athlete was ejected. If less than two (2) contests are scheduled during this seven-day period of time at the same level of ejection, the student will be ineligible for the next football game or a minimum of the next two (2) contests in all other sports. If the ejection occurs in the last contest of a season, the student will be ineligible for the same period of time stated above in the next sport in which the student-athlete participates. A student-athlete who is ejected for a second or subsequent act of general unsports-manlike conduct or a flagrant foul, will be ineligible to compete in any interscholastic athletic contest for a period of up to six (6) weeks. In addition to being ineligible for the next seven (7) calendar days by FHSAA rules, any Polk County public school student-athlete ejected will be assessed a financial penalty of $50.00 payable to the school before he/she is permitted to compete in another athletic contest. The principal has the authority to impose additional penalties due to this general unsportsmanlike conduct which can include removal of the student-athlete from the athletic team for the remainder of the season. The superintendent and/or principal may also suspend or terminate an athletic program due to excessive and continuous unsportsmanlike conduct.
GROSS UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT:
A student-athlete who is ejected from a contest for any act of gross unsportsmanlike conduct will be ineligible to compete in any interscholastic athletic contest for a period of up to six (6) weeks. In addition to being ineligible for up to six (6) weeks by FHSAA rules, any Polk County public school student-athlete ejected will be assessed a financial penalty of $50.00 payable to the school before he/she is permitted to compete in another athletic contest. The principal has the authority to impose additional penalties due to this gross unsports-manlike conduct which can include removal of the student-athlete from the athletic team for the remainder of the season. The superintendent and/or principal may also suspend or terminate an athletic program due to excessive and continuous unsportsmanlike conduct. The FHSAA defines gross unsportsmanlike conduct as: An act of a malicious and hateful nature toward a contest official or an opponent. Such malicious acts shall include, but not limited to, cursing, striking or threatening a contest official during a contest or at any other time because of resentment over occurrences or decisions during a contest; physical contact with an opponent that is beyond the normal scope of competition and which appears to be with the intent of inflicting bodily harm on the opponent; spitting on a contest official or opponent; directing gender, racial or ethnic slurs toward a contest official or opponent; or other such acts which may be deemed as unacceptable conduct by the FHSAA.
It is the responsibility of the high school principal to ensure this policy is enforced. When an ineligible student-athlete is allowed to participate, forfeiture of the contest is mandatory. This policy applies to all regular season and State series contests.
Symptoms and Risks of SCA
Educating youth about the symptoms and risk factors of sudden cardiac arrest is one way to help prevent it. In more than half of the cases of SCA in youth, death is the fi rst sign of a problem. Young people are often unaware of the risk factors and don’t tell adults if they experience the symptoms. They may be frightened, embarrassed, or simply unaware that what they are feeling indicates a potentially fatal condition. Athletes don’t want to jeopardize their playing time, so they may also avoid telling their parents or coaches in hopes that the symptoms will “just go away” on their own. Let student athletes know that if they experience any of the symptoms below, it is crucial to get follow-up care right away with a primary care physician.
The symptoms below indicate that SCA may be about to happen:
• Racing heart, palpitations
• Dizziness or light-headedness
• Fainting or seizure, especially during or right after exercise
• Fainting repeatedly or with excitement or startle
• Chest pain or discomfort with exercise
• Excessive, unexpected fatigue during or after exercise
• Excessive shortness of breath during exercise
The following factors increase risk of SCA:
• Family history of known heart abnormalities or sudden death before age 50
• Specifi c family history of long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)
• Family members with unexplained fainting, seizures, drowning or near drowning, or car accidents
• Known structural heart abnormality, repaired or unrepaired
• Use of drugs such as cocaine, inhalants, or “recreational” drugs
Frequently Asked Questions
If my child attends a public school that does not offer a certain sport, can they participate for another school?
No, state laws do not allow this type of participation.
My child is a Home Education student, where can they participate in athletics?
Your child will automatically be allowed to participate for the public school they are zoned for based on their residence or the school they would normally attend. If they want to participate for a public school they are not zoned for, they are required to complete a Controlled Open Enrollment for Sports Participation application. The application period begins the first Monday in April and concludes the last Friday in April. All applications submitted during this period will be applied to the subsequent school year.
My child attends a private school, where can they participate in athletics?
If your child attends a private school that does not hold membership with the FHSAA, carries an enrollment of less than 125 students in the respective grade levels and does not offer the sport of interest, your child will automatically be allowed to participate in that sport for the public school they are zoned for based on their residence or the school they would normally attend. If they want to participate in that sport for a public school they are not zoned for, they are required to complete a Controlled Open Enrollment for Sports Participation application. The application period begins the first Monday in April and concludes the last Friday in April. All applications submitted during this period will be applied to the subsequent school year.
My child attends a charter school that doesn’t offer he/his sport of interest, where can they participate in athletics?
If your child attends a charter school that doesn’t offer his/her sport of interest, your child will automatically be allowed to participate for the public school they are zoned for based on their residence or the school they would normally attend. If they want to participate for a public school they are not zoned for, they are required to complete a Controlled Open Enrollment for Sports Participation application. The application period the first Monday in April and concludes the last Friday in April. All applications submitted during this period will be applied to the subsequent school year. They are also allowed to participate at another charter school, if that charter school will allow it. Please contact that charter school directly for their open enrollment procedures.
What GPA is needed for my child to participate?
State laws require students to maintain a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
How often do I need a sports physical completed?
Sport physicals are required every school year to participate in extracurricular activities.
How much does it cost to play a sport in Polk?
Nothing, Polk County is a “no pay to play” county.
Can attend or participate for a school of my choice?
Only if a “Controlled Open Enrollment” application is completed and approved, and the school has not reached capacity. Controlled Open Enrollment begins the first Monday in April and concludes the last Friday in April.
How much does it cost to attend a sporting event in Polk County?
- Varsity Football – $6.00 (General Admission); each school sets their own prices for reserved seat tickets, season tickets, and booster club packages.
- Middle Schools – $3.00 Adults; $1.00 Students. Children who have not started school
(under 6 years old) will not be charged an admission as long as they are accompanied by
a responsible adult.
- All other sports (except Swimming) – $5.00 Adults and $2.00 Students.
- Swimming – $3.00 Adults and $2.00 Students. This is what the pool venues agreed to let us charge since the venues do not belong to the school district.
- Invitational Tournaments – Schools who host an invitational all-day event with multiple contests may choose to charge a higher “all-day” ticket price in lieu of having multiple sessions.
- FHSAA State Series Contests – Ticket prices for these events are set by the FHSAA and there are no student tickets or passes accepted for these events.
- Parking Fee – $5.00 at varsity football only. Unless an FHSAA regional event.
Who should I approach if I have an issue with a coach?
Contact your school’s Athletic Director first.
Can I bring outside food and drinks to a sporting event?
Please contact your school’s Athletic department for their policy regarding outside food and drinks.
What do I need to qualify for NCAA?
Please click the NCAA / NAIA / NJCAA Eligibility link under “Parent Information” on the PCPS Athletics webpage.
If I move during the school year, after starting a sport, can I play at my new school?
Yes, provided your situation meets one of the four criteria below:
- Children of active duty military whose move resulted from military orders.
- Children relocated due to foster care placement or McKinney-Vento Act.
- Children who move due to a court-ordered change in custody due to separation, divorce or serious illness or death of a custodial parent.
- Good cause policy in district or charter board policies (Polk County’s listed below):
- Special assignment by Regional Superintendent, School Office, or Office of School Culture and Climate; or
- Move to a new residence following the marriage of the student. The student immediately establishes a new residence that makes it necessary to attend a different school; or
- Reassignment by District School Board or Charter School Board; or
- Transfer of school within the first 20 days – i.e.: acceptance into a previously applied for magnet program; or
- Any athletic appeal which will require the Office of Athletics Review Committee to intervene and decide on a case led by the Senior Coordinator of Athletics. All decisions will be given within 10 school days from the date of the appeal; or
- Affidavit of residency, which will require county athletic director approval; or
- Academy transfer before the season begins.
If I practice during the summer with one school, leave and go to another school, am I eligible to play for the new school?
Yes, provided you did not participate in a tryout, practice or other school-sponsored activity for that sport on or after the official start date for that sport season.
How do I find out which school is my child's home zone school?
You will need to enter your address into the school district’s zone finder. https://polkschoolsfl.com/zonefinder/
My child is interested in trying out for sports; where are the athletic clearance forms located.
On the District Athletics home page under “Athletic Clearance” section. Two forms available for you (EL2 & EL3).
What is the policy concerning backpacks, bags, and large purses?
- Backpacks, bags, and large purses are prohibited at all school sporting events.
- Small, clutch-type purses are permissible as long as they are no larger than 4.5” by 6.5”. These purses will be subject to search.
- Binoculars or cameras will be allowed into games if carried by hand. Bags designed specifically to carry those items are prohibited.
- Blankets are allowed during cold weather and should not be placed in a bag.
- Those who show up to the game with unapproved bags or items will be turned away from the gates and have the opportunity to return the belongings to a vehicle. The bags cannot be left at the gate or unattended on campus.
- There will be exceptions for bags required for medical needs, members of the media covering a game, and student athletes participating in the game. All bags will be subject to inspection.
Participation in Sports
Home-Schooled, Full-Time Virtual, or Charter Students:
If home-schooled, full-time virtual school, or charter school (charters with no athletic teams) students wish to participate in sports at the public high school they are zoned for, the parents must notify the principal and/or the athletic director.