Handbook for Student Athletes: Athlete Responsibilities and Procedures

  1. Athletic Participation Requirements

    1. VHSL Athletic Participation/Parental Consent/Physical Examination Form
      No athlete will be permitted to begin tryouts or practices until this form has been completed and participation approved by the Coordinator of Health Services.

    2. Eligibility
      Eighth-grade students with middle school eligibility may not compete in interscholastic competition at the high school level.

      Eighth-grade students who are not age-eligible for middle school athletics may compete in interscholastic competition at the sub-varsity high school level with the following conditions.
      1. The parent/guardian must provide transportation for all activities related to the sport.
      2. The student must meet all eligibility requirements of Frederick County Public Schools and the Virginia High School League.
      3. Student athletes shall not be released prior to scheduled dismissal except for competitions.
      4. The student athlete must have the approval of both the sending middle school principal and the receiving high school principal to participate in high school interscholastic competition.
      5. Student-athletes must pay a non-refundable “pay to participate” fee for each sport in which they are a confirmed team member prior to the first official contest date.

      Middle school interscholastic athletics shall be available only to seventh- and eighth-grade students.

      Sixth-grade students, who meet eligibility standards, will be eligible to practice in cross country, track, and wrestling, but not participate in interscholastic activities. A sixth-grade student may be a manager only if he/she meets eligibility requirements as defined below and no other seventh- or eighth-grade student who meets the requirements is available or has expressed an interest. A bona fide sixth-grade student may be granted eligibility if he/she has reached age 13 before August 1st.

      Intramural programs should be available for all middle-school students.

    3. Middle School
      A student shall pass five full-year courses or their equivalent the previous nine-week quarter in order to participate in any interscholastic activities (includes cheerleaders, managers, or anyone practicing with a team).

    4. Insurance
      Frederick County Public Schools contracts with independent insurance providers to offer low-cost student health coverage that meets the criteria for athletic participation. Application forms can be found on each school’s website and at the schools.
      1. All candidates for an athletic team MUST have health insurance.
      2. No student athlete will be permitted to begin practice until properly covered by insurance.
      3. For students that purchase Virginia’s Excess Student Accident Insurance coverage, it is the responsibility of the student athlete to report an injury requiring medical attention to the secretary in the main office immediately.
      4. Expenses associated with medical treatment resulting from participation in school sponsored athletic activities are the responsibility of the parent or guardian.

    5. Emergency Medical Release Card
      No student athlete will be permitted to begin practice until the emergency release form is filled out completely, signed by the parent and athlete, and turned in to his or her respective coach.

    6. Equipment Issue Form
      1. Each student athlete will be issued certain basic equipment and uniforms. After receiving the equipment and/or uniform, the student athlete is required to sign the equipment form.
      2. Other necessary equipment may be the responsibility of the athlete.
      3. Each athlete is responsible for the equipment and uniforms issued to him or her.
      4. All lost equipment and/or uniforms must be paid for at the replacement cost.
      5. Student athletes will not be permitted to participate on other athletic teams or receive any awards until all equipment and/or uniforms issued to them have been properly returned or payment has been made for lost items.
      6. Athletic equipment and uniforms belonging to the school are to be worn only for designated school activities.
      7. Members of athletic teams in possession of equipment or uniforms not issued to them may be disciplined.
      8. All equipment, uniform and other ancillary items purchased for athletic teams, must meet the approval of the principal or his/her designee (CSA). Donations by parents, support groups, or other individuals must seek prior approval from the principal/designee.

  2. During the Season

    1. Practice
      1. All members of an athletic team are required to attend all practices.
      2. Student athletes who find it necessary to miss practice must make prior arrangements with their coach. This must be done before and not after missing practice. Verified illness may be an exception.
      3. If at any time a student experiences a scheduling conflict between a school-sponsored sporting event and student organization activity, the student, in conjunction with the coach/sponsor, will choose the activity to attend. The student will not be penalized by the coach, sponsor, or teacher for the choice, but will be required to make up practice time.

    2. Substance Abuse/Training Rule
      1. The use of tobacco, alcohol, and/or drugs by student athletes is strictly prohibited.
      2. The use of certain energy drinks and supplements is strongly discouraged by state and national athletic governing bodies due to possible detrimental effects on the health of young athletes. The Virginia High School League has banned the use of energy drinks (Policy Manual, 27-15-1). If a student-athlete is found to have consumed such drinks, he/she will be unable to participate in any athletic activity for that day. Repeated violations may warrant further disciplinary action.
      3. Disciplinary action for violations of this policy will follow the Frederick County Public Schools Policy Manual, 402R Student Code of Conduct.

  3. Athletic Trips
    1. Student athletes, acting as official representatives of their respective school, may be required to subscribe to a more rigorous dress code than that set forth by the school.
    2. Athletes must abide by school bus rules and regulations when being transported to and from athletic contests.
    3. All student athletes and managers must travel to and from athletic contests on transportation provided by the school except under special circumstances approved by the administration or designee. Parents may be requested to provide transportation to or from athletic contests.

  4. Attendance
    1. Regular attendance in school is MANDATORY in order to participate in athletics.
    2. A student athlete is expected to have regular attendance and to be at school on time and remain in school for the entire day. On days following competition, athletes are expected to be at school on time.
    3. Repeated tardy and attendance violations will result in a one game participation suspension. If such behavior continues, the student athlete may be dismissed from the team. Exceptions may be made for doctor appointments, court appearances, or other absences that receive prior administrative permission. Verification of the aforementioned exceptions must be presented when the student returns to school.
    4. Students will not be excused from school to go home to get uniforms, shoes, lunches, etc.
    5. Students will not be excused from school to secure a “fast food” dinner to eat on the bus traveling to or from a contest. If an eating stop is necessary, the coach will make arrangements or students may bring lunches with them from home.
    6. Students who arrive to school late or who leave school early due to illness may not be permitted to participate in practices or games scheduled for that day.
    7. A student athlete who is found to be delinquent or whom the court places on probation may be declared ineligible for athletic participation.
    8. Student athletes who are suspended from school will not be permitted to practice or play on the day of the suspension.

  5. Other Related Issues

    1. Conduct of Athletes
      A firm and fair policy of enforcement is necessary to uphold the regulations and standards of the athletic department. The community, school administrators, and coaching staff feel strongly that high standards of conduct and sportsmanship are essential in maintaining a sound program of athletics. The welfare of the student is our major consideration and transcends any other considerations.

      All athletes shall abide by a code of ethics, which will earn them the honor and respect that participation in the interscholastic program affords. Any conduct that results in dishonor to the athlete, the team, or the school will not be tolerated. Acts of unacceptable conduct such as, but not limited to, theft, vandalism, disrespect, immorality, or violations of the law tarnish the reputation of everyone associated with the athletic program and will not be tolerated. Such severe violations may result in suspension or dismissal from the team.

      Students who have been charged with a criminal offense may be suspended from participation for a period of time or until certain conditions have been fulfilled. Any and all sanctions are at the discretion of the school principal.

    2. Bullying
      Students, either individually, or as part of a group, shall not harass or bully others. The following conduct is illustrative of bullying:
      • Physical intimidation, making threats, hazing, taunting, name calling, and insults.
      • Comments regarding the race, gender, religion, physical abilities or characteristics of associates of the targeted person.
      • Falsifying statements about other person.
      • The use of electronic media to harass, threaten, or falsify information about another person.

    3. Sexual Harassment/Harassment
      It is the policy of the Frederick County School Board to provide a working and learning environment free of sexual harassment/harassment of any kind. All employees and students must avoid offensive or inappropriate behavior. All employees and students are responsible for assuring that the working and learning environment is free from sexual harassment/harassment at all times and that work and school activities are conducted in a professional manner.

      All complaints of sexual harassment/harassment will be investigated promptly and fairly.

      Any student who has a complaint of sexual harassment/harassment at school by anyone, should report this immediately to a school counselor, a school administrator or to the Title IX compliance officer.

      All complaints must be put in writing, and should state in detail the basis for the complaint, the names of the persons involved, and the dates of any specific incidents.

      Students are assured that the complaint and investigation will be handled confidentially.

      All students are assured that they will be free from any and all reprisal or retaliation for filing a complaint of sexual harassment/harassment.

    4. Use of Electronic Media
      The use of any electronic media to bully, threaten, harass, sexually harass, or insult other students, team members, coaches, opponents, or officials, or other actions that reflect negatively on the sport, program, and/or school, will not be tolerated. Such use may include but is not limited to statements, photos, or videos sent to other individuals or posted on social media sites.

    5. Individual Coach’s Rules
      A coach may establish additional rules and regulations with the approval of the Coordinator of Student Activities/Athletic Directors and school principal for his or her respective sport. At the start of the season, the coach will explain such rules pertaining to a particular sport to athletes and parents.

    6. Changing Sports
      After the completion of the first official contest, an athlete cannot join another athletic team without the mutual consent of both coaches and with the approval of the Coordinator of Student Activities.

    7. Grooming and Dress
      As representatives of the Frederick County high schools, student athletes are expected to adhere to sensible standards of dress and personal appearance.
      Virginia High School League (VHSL) and National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) regulations may govern the wearing of certain clothing, jewelry, and/or hair styles. These regulations will be covered in detail by the coach for each sport.

  6. Post-Season
    All school-issued equipment is to be returned to the head coach. Lost or damaged equipment must be paid for as discussed in section I–F.

    Student athletes are encouraged to maintain a degree of physical fitness by participating in other sports or off-season conditioning programs.