High School Sports

January 28, 2013

Give SCISA 10th-graders their due

CLASS 3A COACHES and administrators want to see SCISA allow their 10th-graders to “eight quarter” in participation.

CLASS 3A COACHES and administrators want to see SCISA allow their 10th-graders to “eight quarter” in participation.

What that means is they want their 10th-graders to be able to play with the junior varsity on Thursday night and dress for varsity competition on Friday night as reserves.

The eligibility rules in SCISA allow for sixth- and seventh-graders to play middle school football, eighth- and ninth-graders to player junior varsity, and 10th- through 12th-graders be on the varsity level. This appears to work in Classes 1A and 2A because of the enrollment numbers in those schools. But at the 3A level, 10th-graders are often giving up a year, as many of those players are not at the maturity level to compete for playing time in a varsity program. Since they are not allowed to play junior varsity, they either don’t get playing time or stop playing football until they get to be juniors who can compete for playing time.

If these players were allowed to play junior varsity and dress for varsity (eight quarter), it would be beneficial to both the development of the players and the programs.

The SCHSL allows for the “eight quarter” rule in their member schools, and it works great for the kids.

In March, the SCISA Class 3A coaches plan to present this proposal to the athletic association for consideration. The proposal, being drafted by Hammond football coach Erik Kimrey and Porter Gaude coach Rick Reetze, has the support of every 3A football coach in SCISA , as well as the athletics directors, and head masters. Within the proposal of allowing the 10th-graders participation on junior varsity is the exception of when the 3A teams are playing against 2A competition. In those games, only the eighth- and ninth-graders would be allowed to dress for those junior varsity games.

SCISA is behind the times and needs to get behind this proposal to bring member schools into the modern era.

Competition in SCISA football has evolved into a much more competitive brand than they had even 10 years ago. To continue development, the association must allow these programs to do what is best for their kids.

There are rumors that lobbying is being done by SCISA to oppose the proposal. Reasons vary from “allowing kids to play 20 games a year is not healthy,” to “coaches would use it to take advantage of other junior varsity programs.”

Eight quarter kids are not going to be “playing” 20 games a year. If they are playing on junior varsity there is a pretty good chance they are not ready for varsity. Even though they may dress as reserves, they would not see significant playing time.

The “eight quarter” term refers to how many quarters they are dressed and available. Coaches are not going to dress their stud 10th-graders for sub-varsity competition. It would be foolish to risk losing a varsity starter in that manner.

While the athletic association may argue that it is not safe to put 10th-graders on the field with eighth- and ninth-graders, they allow eligibility for eighth-graders in varsity competition. Incidentally, there is a greater gap in growth and development between a 10th- and 11th-grader than there is an eighth- and 10th-grader.

There is an alternative for Class 3A schools, if unhappy enough — leave SCISA and apply for membership to the SCHSL. With the success of schools like Christ Church, some of 3A SCISA schools have seen that they can compete in Class 1A within the SCHSL.

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