Albion changes athletic policy, will allow 7th graders to be on JV, varsity teams

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 August 2022 at 10:14 am

ALBION – The Board of Education changed a school policy on Monday and will again allow select seventh-graders the chance to be on junior varsity and varsity teams.

The board in 2020 voted to keep seventh-graders at the modified levels, without a chance to be on JV or varsity. The board revisited the issue last month and on Monday voted to allow seventh-graders to be on JV or varsity.

Wayne Wadhams, the board president, said there will likely only be one or two seventh-graders a year who would move up to JV or varsity. Those students need to have strong grades, be emotionally mature and be exceptional athletes.

The district has an Athletic Placement Process (APP), a protocol for moving 7th and 8th graders up the JV or varsity levels.

Mariah LaSpina, the athletic director, in a presentation to the board last month said the APP is aimed at a select few students who would benefit from placement because of their level of readiness. The process is not used to fill a position or roster. It can also be used when there isn’t a modified program.

With the APP, the 7th and 8th graders need written permission from parents and guardians to participate before there is any evaluation.

The athletic director also needs to confirm the student is suitable for consideration and there needs to be medical clearance to make sure having a 7th– or 8th-grader play at JV or varsity doesn’t increase the likelihood of injury.

Other steps in the process include:

  • Sport Skill Evaluation: sport coach will rely on past personal observations; consider input from the student’s former coaches; if coach is unfamiliar with the student, the coach may observe the student in a physical education class
  • Physical Fitness Testing: must be done by a certified physical education teacher
  • Qualification Determination: the results of the three evaluations are sent to the director of physical education/athletics
  • Try-Outs: student is allowed to try out for the sport and level requested or student must return to the modified level of competition.