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.

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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.

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Parent Information

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:

  1. Children of active duty military whose move resulted from military orders.
  2. Children relocated due to foster care placement or McKinney-Vento Act.
  3. Children who move due to a court-ordered change in custody due to separation, divorce or serious illness or death of a custodial parent.
  4. Good cause policy in district or charter board policies (Polk County’s listed below):
    1. Special assignment by Regional Superintendent, School Office, or Office of School Culture and Climate; or
    2. 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
    3. Reassignment by District School Board or Charter School Board; or
    4. Transfer of school within the first 20 days – i.e.: acceptance into a previously applied for magnet program; or
    5. 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
    6. Affidavit of residency, which will require county athletic director approval; or
    7. 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.

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. All FHSAA paperwork and eligibility requirements must also be completed before the students can begin any activities associated with that team. View the practice start dates below.

If home-schooled, full-time virtual school, or charter school (charters with no athletic teams) students wish to participate in sports at another public school other than their zoned school, parents must complete the district controlled open enrollment form for participation only. This form will only be available during the district-approved time period; no other applications after the deadline will be considered or approved.

Private School Students:
If private school students, who attend a private school that is not a member of the FHSAA and has 125 or fewer students in grades 6-12, wish to participate in sports at the public high school they are zoned for, the parents must notify the principal and/or athletic director BEFORE the first day of practice for that sport in order to be eligible to participate in that sport. All FHSAA paperwork and eligibility requirements must also be completed before the students can begin any activities associated with that team. View the practice start dates below.

If private school students, who attend a private school that is not a member of the FHSAA and has 125 or fewer students in grades 6-12, wish to participate in sports at another public school other than their zoned school, parents must complete the district controlled open enrollment form for participation only.  This form will only be available during the district-approved time period; no other applications after the deadline will be considered or approved.