Worcester County Public School officials added some clarity last week to the county’s student athletic eligibility policy.
Members of the board of education approved the minor addition to the state-established document during their monthly meeting on Sept. 21.
“The addition is to provide clarity to current practice and regulations set forth by [the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association] and [the Maryland State Department of Education],” C. Dwayne Abt, the assistant superintendent for safety and human relations for the school system, said in an email this week.
“WCPS wanted to make sure we emphasized the following clause,.. ‘consecutive’ years based on the date of first entry into the 9th grade,” he continued.
Before the vote, the policy said students in ninth through 12th grades could participate in interscholastic contests for a maximum of four years. There was no mention of when the four years were required to begin or whether the timeline was consecutive, so officials clarified it.
“This was a local district decision for clarity,” Abt explained. “Instead of researching through MSDE to find information such as ‘beginning with the date of entry into 9th grade ...’ or MPSSAA to find 4 years of eligibility. We thought it would be best to put it all in one place that is easy to access and clearly communicated.”
The change was minor and does not alter the rules, but simply clarifies them to eliminate confusion.
Abt said the district’s policy for athlete eligibility is based on MPSSAA and MSDE standards. Currently, the policy states that a student is ineligible to participate in athletics if they do not meet specific grading standards at their October progress report, November report card, January report card, April report card or final report card. The standards include possessing a 2.0 or higher grade point average and no more than one failing grade.
Abt said no athletes have been declared ineligible to play since he took on his position four years ago.