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.

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Upcoming Events

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.

FAQs

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.
  • 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.

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. 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.

Athletic Clearance

Pre-Participation Physical Examination - EL2

A student must have a physical evaluation each year and be certified as being physically fit to participate in interscholastic athletic programs prior to participating in interscholastic athletic competition or engaging in any practice, tryout, workout, or other physical activity associated with the student’s candidacy for an interscholastic team.  Physical exams for the upcoming school year can be obtained no earlier than June 1.  All physical exams obtained on June 1 or at any time during the school year will expire on May 31, regardless of the date of the physical exam.  The student cannot be allowed to participate in any activity related to interscholastic athletic programs until the fully executed physical evaluation form is on file in the school (§ 1002.20(17)(b), F.S.).

Consent & Release – EL3

Student must provide school with signed consent and release form to participate. A student must have the consent of his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to participate in interscholastic athletic programs at a member school prior to participating in interscholastic athletic competition or engaging in any practice, tryout, workout, or other physical activity associated with the student’s candidacy for an interscholastic team. The student and his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must also release the FHSAA, its member schools and contest officials from all liability for any injury or claim that may result from the student’s participation in interscholastic athletics. This consent and release from liability must be provided in writing on a form developed by this Association for that purpose. The form must be signed by the student and his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s). The student cannot be allowed to participate in any activity related to interscholastic athletic programs until the fully executed consent form is on file in the school.
 
Parents should contact the school athletic director to determine if special arrangements have been made for athletic physical exams by local physicians or medical facilities before making an appointment with their family physician.

These forms are required by the FHSAA before a student-athlete can participate in any type of conditioning, workout, practices or contests and are ONLY AVAILABLE AT EACH HIGH SCHOOL IN THE OFFICE OF THE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR. These forms must be turned in directly to the athletic director. These forms contain additional statements that are specific to Polk County Public Schools and require the signatures of the parent/guardian and student-athlete.
For that reason, please do not download the EL2, EL3 forms from the FHSAA website.

Forms - EL2 & EL3

Attention Middle School Student Athletes

Protect your future High School athletic eligibility. This message is intended for middle school athletes who plan to play sports for a high school team.

Athletic Resources

Online Coaching Education Courses

American Sport Education ProgramPCPS, in partnership with the American Sport Education Program (ASEP), offers high school coaches the opportunity to take the ASEP online courses Coaching Principles, Sport First Aid, and Coaching [Sport] Technical and Tactical Skills to meet the Florida Department of Education Athletic Coaching Certification and Endorsement. Certification is earned by successfully completing the three required online courses and passing each course exam with a score of 80 percent or better.

View flier for more information and directions

Visit the ASEP Website

Visit the CPR Course Website

View flier on Renewing Teacher Certificate

Online

Free Recruiting Webinar

The Free Recruiting Webinar provides answers to common questions concerning the collegiate athletic recruiting process for high school student-athletes, parents, counselors and coaches. All too often parents and high school student-athletes enter the recruiting process not properly prepared for the obstacles that await them.

www.freerecruitingwebinar.org

Athletic Directors

School: Athletic Director: Phone: Email:
Auburndale HS Pam Lancaster 863-965-6200 pamela.lancaster@polk-fl.net
Bartow HS Brandon Kneer 863-534-7400 brandon.kneer@polk-fl.net
Discovery Academy Carissa Harris 863-295-5955 carissa.harris@discoveryfl.org
Fort Meade HS Jonathan Spradlin 863-285-1180 jonathan.spradlin@polk-fl.net
Frostproof HS Chuck Loveless 863-635-7809 charles.loveless@polk-fl.net
George Jenkins HS Jestin Bailey 863-648-3566 jestin.bailey@polk-fl.net
Haines City HS Tyrhon Crawford 863-421-3281 tyrhon.crawford@polk-fl.net
Kathleen HS Tom Sasser 863-499-2655 thomas.sasser@polk-fl.net
Lake Gibson HS Gabe Gibbs 863-853-6140 gabriel.bibbs@polk-fl.net
Lake Region HS Bill Bullock 863-297-3099 william.bullock@polk-fl.net
Lake Wales HS Marvin Pavy 863-678-4222 marvin.pavy@lwcharterschools.com
Lakeland HS Deron Collins 863-499-2918 deron.collins@polk-fl.net
McKeel Academy Chuck Smith 863-499-2818 chucksmith@mckeelschools.com
Mulberry HS Heath Hunt 863-701-1104 heath.hunt@polk-fl.net
Ridge Community HS Nick Nixon 863-419-3315 nicholas.nixon@polk-fl.net
Tenoroc HS Jeff Barr 863-614-9148 jeffrey.barr@polk-fl.net
Winter Haven HS Randy Pritchard 863-298-7970 marcus.pritchard@polk-fl.net
Polk County Dan Talbot 863-647-4203 dan.talbot@polk-fl.net