High School Athletics Handbook
The Burke County Board of Education believes that students can benefit from involvement in athletics and that as a school system we should provide opportunities for students to be involved in positive, extra-curricular activities. The Board recognizes that athletics is an important activity for many students and decisions concerning athletics should be based on what is in the best interest of participants. The Board also feels that participation in athletics, as well as any other extra-curricular activity is a privilege and not a right afforded students at their respective schools. The Burke County Board of Education believes a unified athletic program is in the best interest of students. The Board also believes that schools and coaches should be permitted to make decisions that best meet the needs of each individual student in accordance with the rules and regulations of the NCHSAA, the school and the Board. This policy is a guide for athletes and coaches to demonstrate and communicate the importance of each athletic team and each student on those teams.
- Student-Athlete Commitment
- General Eligibility Requirements for Student-Athletes
- NCHSAA Handbook
- Conduct for BCPS Student-Athletes
- Random Drug Testing Policy
- Conflict Resolution Protocol
- Sportsmanship Policy
- School Athletic Equipment Policy
- Students in “Good Standing”
Each member of an athletic team is expected to:
- Commit to being present at all team activities, including try-outs, practices, meetings and contests with other schools.
- Dedicate to becoming an excellent teammate and role model within the school.
- Strive to continually improve as a student-athlete in the classroom and on the playing fields/courts..
- Demonstrate pride in their school and team.
Students must meet all eligibility requirements as developed by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and Burke County Public Schools.
Participation in athletics is a privilege afforded students in attendance at their respective schools. Such participation and/or privilege may be limited, suspended or revoked at the discretion of the coach, athletic director or principal if the student’s behavior is unbecoming of a representative of that school.
Only students in grades nine through twelve may participate in high school (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades) interscholastic athletic competition.
Eligibility begins for all students with initial entry into the 9th grade.
In order to qualify for public school participation, a student must meet the following requirements:
- The student must pass 75% of the course work of the previous semester; on the 4 x 4 block scheduling in high school, this would mean passing at least 3 out of 4 classes.
- The student must meet all local promotion standards set by the Burke County Public Schools.
- The student must be in attendance 85% of the time of the preceding semester per BCPS guidelines.
- The student must be in residence at the school where he/she is participating; this residence is used for athletic purposes and is defined as to where a child is domiciled
- and where the local Board of Education assigns him/her to Membership.
- A player must receive a medical examination at least once every 395 days by a duly licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.
- No student may participate at the high school level for a period lasting longer than 8 consecutive semesters beginning with the student’s first entry into grade 9 or participation on a high school team, whichever occurs first.
- No player may be approved for any athletic contest if his/her 19th birthday comes on or before August 31 of the school year in which he/she is participating in athletics.
- No student may participate in athletics if he/she has been convicted of a crime classified as a felony under North Carolina or federal law.
- A student may not participate in athletics if he/she is an adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
- If a student is charged with a felony, he/she shall be suspended from the sports team he/she is participating on until adjudication is made on the felony charge by the court.
- Participation in athletics is a privilege afforded students in attendance at their respective schools. Such participation and/or privilege may be limited, suspended or revoked at the discretion of the coach, athletic director or principal if the student’s behavior is unbecoming of a representative of that school.
Each year the state of North Carolina publishes a handbook, which lists the rules and regulations of the state regarding all interscholastic contests. All high school athletic directors and head coaches will have access to this handbook. It is the duty of each coach and athletic director to know all rules and regulations which apply to his/her sport. It will also be the duty of coaches to make their players aware of issues impacting their amateur status.
The athletic policies for the Burke County Public Schools are a uniform set of guidelines that are to be followed by ALL Athletic teams. Each sport may add other regulations, rules and guidelines, not inconsistent with Burke County Athletic Policies, which the coach deems necessary for the program.
Such additional regulations, rules and guidelines must be submitted in writing to the athletic director at the respective school and approved for use prior to their implementation.
The following offenses and consequences are related specifically to incidents that occur at practice, games, or anytime an athlete is under the direct supervision of a coach. Enforcement of these policies is the responsibility of the head coach and consequences will be assigned in consultation with the athletic director and school Principal.
1. Conduct: The conduct of all athletes participating in a school related activity, in or out of season, will be the responsibility of the Principal, Athletic Director, and Coaching Staff.
2. Profanity or Threatening Language: The use of profanity or threatening language by the student athlete will not be tolerated. Students who persist in using profane or threatening language may be suspended or dismissed from their team or teams.
3. Stealing: Any athlete found guilty of stealing may be suspended or dismissed from their team or teams.
4. Tobacco: There is to be no use of any tobacco product by athletes in the Burke County Public Schools during an athletic event or during any practice for said event as defined by Burke County Public Schools Board of Education Policy 4320. Any athlete found guilty of using or possessing tobacco during a school function or any school related activity will be subject to the consequences set forth by the Burke County Public Schools Student Code of Conduct and may be suspended or dismissed from their team or teams.
5. Alcohol, Drugs and Illegal Substances: No athlete shall possess, manufacture, use, transmit, or be under the influence of any narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, or other drug defined as a controlled substance pursuant to chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes, or any alcoholic beverage or other intoxicating liquor as defined in Chapter 18A of the North Carolina General Statutes, or inhale or ingest any chemicals or products to bring about a state of exhilaration or euphoria while in any school building, on any school premises, or in any school bus, or off school grounds at any school activity, function, or event before, during, or after school hours, or at any location or time that can be substantiated by court action or a police report unless such possession, use, or transmission is specifically authorized by law and/or school regulations. Any athlete who violates this policy will be subject to the consequences set forth by the Burke County Public Schools Student Code of Conduct and may be suspended or dismissed from their team or teams. Disciplinary procedures and actions by the coaching staff, school administration, or Board of Education will not exempt the participant from possible criminal prosecution.
NOTE: Prescribed medications may be specifically authorized by law and/or school regulations.
6. All athletes must adhere to the rules and regulations in the student handbook that have been established by their school.
The Burke County Board of Education strongly believes that participating in interscholastic athletics and cheerleading, and registering, operating or parking a motor vehicle on campus are privileges, not rights. High school athletes and cheerleaders represent the school and the school system when they compete. Many of these athletes become role models for other students. Therefore, they have great influence on other students. Competing in athletics or cheerleading or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses significant safety risks. Most important, the Burke County Board of Education believes that the adoption of this policy will deter the use of illegal and/or controlled substances.
The Burke County Schools Random Drug/Alcohol Testing Policy will be administered as follows:
- The policy applies to all high school students who elect to participate in interscholastic athletics, cheerleading, or who register, operate or park a motor vehicle on a Burke County School campus.
- To be eligible to compete in athletics, cheerleading or to register, operate, or park a motor vehicle on a Burke County School campus, the student and his/her parents or legal guardians must agree in writing to the conditions of the Random Drug/Alcohol Drug Testing Policy.
- A percentage of eligible students at each high school shall be selected for random testing on a periodic basis as deemed appropriate by the Superintendent. This percentage of students will be determined by the Superintendent and shall not exceed 10%.
- Random drug/alcohol testing will screen for illegal and/or controlled substances.
- Refusal to submit to random testing when selected will be treated as a positive test, resulting in the loss of eligibility or athletics, cheerleading, or registering, operating or parking a motor vehicle on a Burke County School campus.
Consequences of a positive test:
- First Offense – A student who tests positive for illegal and/or controlled substance(s) will immediately become ineligible for athletics and cheerleading, and cannot register, operate, or park a motor vehicle on a Burke County School campus for 365 consecutive days. However, if the student successfully completes the approved drug/alcohol treatment program and submits the proper documentation thereof to the school principal, the student shall become eligible for the above privileges after 30 days or at the end of the sports season, whichever comes later.
- Second Offense – Any student who refuses to be tested or tests positive for a second time shall be ineligible for athletics, cheerleading, or registering, operating or parking a motor vehicle on a Burke County School campus for 365 days.
- If a student tests positive, he/she will be required to produce a negative test to be performed by a testing laboratory approved by the Burke County Board of Education prior to the beginning of his/her sports season. If there is reasonable suspicion by the school administration at any time, the student will be asked to submit to a test for illegal and/or controlled substances. The cost of this process will be the responsibility of the parent.
- The student shall not be subject to suspension from school solely as a result of a random test unless the student is in violation of other portions of the Burke County Schools’ Student Code of Conduct.
- On rare occasions, a student may test positive because of medication(s) he/she is taking. This information should be noted on Form RDT 3, which is filled out by the student prior to the test. If a student or the parent/guardian feels that the positive test results are in error, they may proceed as follows:
- Contact the principal or his/her designee immediately to request a retest.
- The retest must be done by a reputable and Board approved testing laboratory within 24 hours of notification of a positive test.
- The Superintendent reserves the right to make the final decision regarding eligibility after reviewing all test data.
- The Superintendent or his designee shall develop a plan by which students may volunteer to be placed in a random drug/alcohol testing pool.
Athletic involvement can be highly emotional and issues can arise. It is very important that these issues be addressed as soon as possible, and as directly as possible, so that they can be resolved promptly. The following model will be used when a problem arises.
STEP ONE: Personal Contact between Student-Athlete and Coach
As a general rule, the issue should be presented as soon as possible to the coach by the individual student-athlete. If this recommended route is not successful, the coach should be contacted by the student-athlete’s parent(s) at an appropriate time. Times to be avoided are:
- Either prior to or immediately after a competition
- During a practice session
- During a time when other students may be present
Usually the best solution is to ask the coach either over the phone, via email or in person if an appointment could be made to discuss the issue. It is strongly recommended that the student-athlete join their parent(s) at this meeting to ensure that all sides of the issue can be thoroughly discussed.
Please keep in mind that the Athletic Director and Coaches will NOT discuss the following with parent’s and/or community members:
- Playing Time
- Another Student-Athlete
However we will always discuss how we can support student-athletes academically, socially, or emotionally.
STEP TWO: Personal Contact between Coach, Student-Athlete and Athletic Director
If a satisfactory resolution is not reached through direct contact with the coach, the student-athlete and/or parent(s) should contact the Athletic Director. As a courtesy, the coach should be informed that this contact is being made (either the parent/guardian should notify the coach or the AD will notify the coach). If this discussion does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, then a meeting will be scheduled involving all concerning parties in an attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution. It is very important for all student-athletes and their parent(s) to know that any comments, concerns, or issues brought to the athletic director will be addressed with the coach.
STEP THREE: Student-Athlete – Administration Contact
If there is not a satisfactory resolution, the student-athlete and/or parent(s) should contact the School Principal. As a courtesy, the Athletic Director should be informed that this contact is being made. While there is no guarantee that all parties will agree with all resolutions or findings, hopefully this process can lead to more productive relationships and clearer understandings in the future.
Burke County Schools Athletics expects all parties present at a contest to display the highest possible level of sportsmanship. Players, coaches, and spectators should treat opponents, game officials and visiting spectators with respect at all times. Burke County Schools Athletics reserves the right to warn, censure, place on probation or suspend any player or spectator determined to be acting in a manner contrary to the standards of good sportsmanship. Spectators who do not adhere to standards of good sportsmanship may be asked to leave the contest and/or be prohibited from future contests.
Students are responsible for and expected to maintain proper care of all equipment issued to them. Students are responsible for payment of any lost, stolen or damaged items. Each item not returned will be assessed at a rate comparable to the current replacement cost and that student athlete will be billed for the missing items. All equipment is to be returned at the completion of the season. Additionally, those student-athletes may not be allowed to participate in another sport until equipment is returned. Student-athletes are not to wear uniforms, either practice or game, at any time other than those allowed by the coaching staff.
If a student-athlete is suspended during their sport season they will not be allowed to play or practice during the time of that suspension. The Principal/AD has the authority to extend the athletic suspension as needed.
Students that receive in school suspension (ISS) will not be allowed to participate during the time of the suspension. If ISS is recurring by a student athlete this could result in suspension or removal from the team.
Student-athletes are considered representatives of the school at all practices and contests and events. Students will conduct themselves properly when traveling as they represent the community, school and team.
Respecting the Spirit of the Game:
Student-athletes will realize that officials do not lose a game, but are there for the purpose of ensuring the game they are playing is a fair and safe contest for all participants. The officials will be shown courtesy and respect at all times.
Respect for the Coaching Staff:
Student-athletes will understand that their coaches have their best interests and the team’s best interest in mind as they plan and guide the athletic team. They will adhere to the specific rules of the coach.
Respect for school buildings and grounds:
Student-athletes will understand that damage to the school building, grounds, or school equipment could result in immediate suspension from the team. The length of such suspension will depend on the severity of the damage as determined by the Principal, Athletic Director, and Coach.
Student-athletes understand that inappropriate activity on social media may result in disciplinary action from the administration, AD, or coach. Social media activity should be a positive reflection of the school, team, and community.
Burke County Public Schools will not tolerate bullying/hazing in any regards. Activity that represents this type of behavior could result in disciplinary action by the principal, AD, or coach and could lead to removal from the team