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Non-School Participation Eligibility and Coaching School Participation During the Season Become Local Decisions

At their June 15, 2012 meeting, the IESA Board of Directors acted on a recommendation of an action team committee that was responsible for reviewing By-Law 3.042. The committee, part of the strategic planning process of the Association, has been discussing this rule for the past 6 months. The committee was comprised of coaches. A.D.'s, parents, club reps, and principals.

Their charge was to review all of the issues regarding By-Law 3.042 and either recommend to the IESA Board of Directors to leave the rule as is or recommend a change to the rule. The committee decided after reviewing all of the information regarding the rule to recommend to the IESA Board that the rule be dropped. In essence, the decision as to whether students can compete on a school team and a non-school team at the same time would be left up to the individual schools to decide.

The IESA Board of Directors approved this committee's recommendation.

Therefore, effective July 1, 2012, the decision as to whether students can do school and non-school participation at the same time in the same sport is a local decision. If the local district would decide that students cannot do both at the same time and a student participates in both at the same time, he/she would be in violation of a local policy and not an IESA rule. While this decision may come as a surprise to some, the rationale for the change is sound. The truth is that there are so many opportunities for students to participate in non-school competitions during the school year (in all sports) that the By-Law has become almost impossible for the school to insure compliance. In many ways, the only schools that were penalized were those who were honest enough to self-report a violation or who were turned in by some other individual or school, often times without any knowledge by the school that a student was participating in non-school competition. With this change, the local district will decide and monitor the situation.

In addition, because the decision is now up to the local school, the by-law that prevented students from participating in camps and clinics during the sport season has also been deleted. The decision as to whether or not students can participate in a camp or clinic during a sport season is entirely up to the local school.

These changes are sure to raise some eyebrows but the number of opportunities for students to participate in clubs and coaching schools is simply unbelievable in today's world. As the organization that is responsible for ensuring fairness amongst our member schools, the only way we can be totally fair and equitable was to insure that everyone was penalized if there were violators. Unfortunately, this was not the case as there were plenty of kids doing both and only a handful that were being penalized. That simply was not fair.



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