The New York State Education Department Board of Regents approved revisions to the Commissioner’s Regulations related to athletic eligibility on Tuesday, June 13. The revisions impact the Duration of Competition Regulation and K8 public school districts.
K8 Public School Districts:
In general, the approved amendments do not change the existing APP. However, there are 13 public school districts in the State that operate to serve students in grades K-8 only, and contract for the education of their high school students with other public school districts pursuant to the provisions of Education Law and Commissioner’s regulation 174.4. Because of their unique configuration, these 13 public school districts do not have their own “district high school,” and as a result, questions have arisen regarding the ability of students who are enrolled in K-8 public school districts to participate in the APP because they are not “enrolled” in a district with its own high school. The approved amendment is designed to clarify the conditions under which K-8 public school districts may also employ the APP protocol to allow the opportunity for exceptional student athletes to participate in interscholastic sports at the high school(s) with which the K-8 school district contracts for the education of its high school students, when such students are bona fide students of the K-8 school district.
Duration of Competition:
Commissioner’s regulation relating to the duration of competition, limits the participation of students in high school athletic competition to four consecutive seasons commencing with the student’s entry into the ninth grade and prior to graduation. However, the regulation provides that a request for an extension of duration of competition may be granted if sufficient evidence demonstrates that the student’s failure to enter competition during one or more seasons was directly caused by illness or accident, and such illness or accident will require the student to attend school for one or more additional semesters to graduate. In response to public comment, the Department revised the amendment to clarify and further define the circumstances under which extended eligibility may be granted. The approved language is as follows:
“If sufficient evidence is presented by the chief school officer to the section to show that the pupil's failure to enter competition during one or more seasons of a sport was caused by illness, [or] accident, or documented social/emotional condition or documented social/emotional circumstances beyond the control of the pupil such pupil's eligibility shall be extended accordingly in that sport…”
Furthermore, school districts will have to determine if students will have a “significant adverse effect” if their eligibility is extended.
Additionally, the Department anticipates issuing further guidance relating to the implementation of the proposed amendments.