Middle 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 the students. The Board also believes that school administrators 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 NC Department of Instruction, the school, and the Board. This policy is a guide for student-athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators 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
- Conduct for BCPS Student-Athletes
- Random Drug Testing Policy
- Athletic Liability Waiver
- 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 NC Department of Instruction and Burke County Public Schools. The requirements include:
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 six through eight may participate in middle school (6th, 7th and 8th grades) interscholastic athletic competition.
Note: Sixth grade students are ineligible to participate in tackle football.
Eligibility begins for all students with initial entry into the sixth grade regardless of:
- the school organization pattern
- the decision of the LEA to allow 6th grade participation
In order to qualify for public school participation, a student must meet the following requirements:
1. In grades six, seven and eight, the student must pass at least one less course than
the number of required core courses each semester and meet promotion standards
established by Burke County Public Schools.
2. If an athlete is "academically eligible” or "academically ineligible” at the beginning
of any semester, that status is retained throughout the full semester.
3. It is the responsibility of the school principal to check the academic status of each
student/athlete enrolled in school at the beginning and close of a semester.
1. A student shall not participate on a sixth, seventh or eighth grade team if the student
becomes 15 years of age on or before August 31 of that school year.
2. A middle school student who is over age for middle school play shall be eligible for senior high school participation.
1. A player must meet the LEA attendance policy during the previous semester. The student must be in attendance 85% of the time of the preceding semester per BCPS guidelines.
2. A student must, at any time of any game in which he or she participates, be a
regularly enrolled member of the school’s student body, according to local policy.
a. If there is no local policy, “regularly enrolled” is defined as enrolled for at least one-half of the “minimum load.”
3. It is recommended the student be in school the day of the contest.
Any student who is subject to the Middle School six semester rule who:
1. is convicted of a crime classified as a felony under North Carolina or federal law;
2. is adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an
adult, is not eligible to participate in the North Carolina Middle School Athletic sports program.
3. Such ineligibility shall be immediate and shall prohibit participation in the NC
Middle School sports program from the date of conviction or adjudication of
delinquency through the end of the student’s middle school career.
Gfeller Waller Concussion Awareness
In order to be eligible for practice or participation in any interscholastic athletic contests:
1. Student-athletes will be provided with the Gfeller Waller NCHSAA Student-
Athlete & Parent/Legal Guardian Concussion Information Sheet.
2. Students shall read, initial, sign, and return the Student-Athlete & Parent/Legal
Guardian Concussion Information Sheet before beginning participation in practice
or participating in interscholastic athletic contests.
3. Parent/Legal Guardians will be provided with the Gfeller Waller NCHSAA
Student-Athlete & Parent/Legal Guardian Concussion Information Sheet.
4. Parent/Legal Guardians shall read, initial, sign, and return the Student-Athlete &
Parent/Legal Guardian Concussion Information Sheet before the student begins
participation in practice or participating in interscholastic athletic contests.
5. School Representatives (parent/coach/volunteer/school nurse/athletic directors/
first responders) will be provided with the Gfeller Waller NCHSAA School &
Athletic Personnel Concussion Information Sheet.
6. All above adults shall read, initial and return the Gfeller Waller NCHSAA School
& Athletic Personnel Concussion Information Sheet before the student begins
participation in practice or participating in interscholastic athletic contests.
Promotion is defined as progressing to the next grade.
1. In grades six, seven and eight, the student must meet state and local promotion
standards each semester.
2. Regardless of the school organization pattern, a student who is promoted from the
fifth grade to the sixth grade automatically meets the courses passed requirement
for the first semester of the sixth grade.
The student must meet the residence criteria of G.S. 115C-366(a).
1. The student may participate only at the school to which the student is assigned by
2. Transfers within the same administrative unit may be governed by the local Board
of Education policy.
3. A student transferred from one administrative unit to another by mutual agreement,
as provided in G.S.115C-366.1 (F), is immediately eligible for athletic participation
in the receiving unit.
1. No student may be eligible to participate at the middle school level for a period
lasting longer than six (6) consecutive semesters, beginning with the student’s entry
into sixth grade.
2. The principal shall have evidence of the date of each player’s entry into the sixth
grade and monitor the six (6) consecutive semesters.
Sports Pre-participation and Medical Examination Form
In order to be eligible for practice or participation in any interscholastic athletic contests:
1. The student must receive a medical examination once every 395 days by a duly
licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, subject to the
provisions of G.S.90-9.1, 90-18.1, and 90-18.2.
2. All eligible students must submit to the school athletic director a completed North
Carolina High School Athletic Association Sport Preparticipation Examination
Form prior to participation in any practice or athletic contest.
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.
It is the intent of the Burke County Schools to provide safe, well-managed athletic teams. In order to help accomplish this goal, random drug testing of student athletes and cheerleaders has been implemented. All athletes, cheerleaders and their parents are required to sign the consent form for random drug testing.
I acknowledge that my child is a student athlete and therefore I assume the risk that my child may obtain an injury while participating in sporting practices and/or games. I acknowledge that I have been offered athletic insurance through the Burke County Schools and have declined to purchase the insurance. I fully understand the risk of bodily injury associated with sports activities and I hereby fully release the Burke County Board of Education, its board members, employees, volunteers and agents from any and all liability associated with my son/daughter’s participation in extracurricular athletics.
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 Middle School 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 Middle School 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