PSAL Sets Standards For Players

By Sam Boorstyn ‘16  and Christian Orando ‘16

PSAL “student athletes” are held to a set of standards regulating athletic eligibility which range from rules on minimum credits and attendance to maintaining amateur status.

According to Cathy Okhrimchuck ‘16, a Midwood girls varsity lacrosse player, the rules are fair and completely necessary. She believes that grades are more important than sports.

“This is because you need good grades to get into college and play that sport at a higher level,” said Okhrimchuck.

The PSAL’s credit requirements are more complicated than just a set of number.  The 5+1 Rule, states that a student athlete must pass five “credit bearing subjects” as well as a physical education class in the most recent marking period.  At least three of these five subjects have to be major classes that are required for graduation such as history and math.  The 5+1 Rule applies to students that are taking the minimum number of classes as well as those who are taking 6 credit bearing classes plus a physical education class. According to Anthony Odita, varsity football coach, the 5 +1 rule was implemented in place of the 4+1 rule, because students taking the minimum number of classes under the 4+1 rule weren’t always in position to graduate in four years.

According to Carl Colas ‘16, a Midwood varsity football player, these rules regarding academic standards are unfair.

“I think the rules for student-athlete ineligibility should not exist because academics and football should not interfere with each other,” said Colas. “ They are two separate things and should stay that way.”

The PSAL also holds its athletes to strict attendance standards.  The PSAL website states that student athletes must have at least a 90% attendance mark for each marking period.  This attendance requirement applies to general school attendance rather than attendance for each class.  After a student is deemed ineligible on attendance grounds, they are in turn ineligible until the next report card is issued.  This rule only pertains to the semester during which an athlete’s season is taking place.

“Even though the 90% attendance is hard to follow for many kids nowadays, as a coach, I agree with it,” said Odita. “However, that’s coming from a man who is almost never absent.”

An amateur is someone who plays a sport only for the physical, mental, and social benefits. According to the PSAl, a student’s amateur status is forfeited if money is accepted for competing, receiving an unauthorized award, or signing a professional contract in a sport. If a student has violated these rules, the PSAL board and commissioner are responsible for administering a proper punishment that fits the severity of the violation.

If an athlete has violated any of the aforementioned regulations, they are thus deemed ineligible until they fulfill their requirements.  In the case of academic and attendance ineligibility, an ineligible student can’t become eligible again until the next report card is administered.  If they have fixed their violations, their eligibility is then reinstated.

“ I feel it is not fair that just because I failed my class I should be stopped from doing what I love and that’s playing football,” said Colas.

Once student has been deemed ineligible, they aren’t allowed to compete until the violations are fixed. This means that teams that have players that are ineligible must continue their season without said players no matter how good the players were  . Coaches are responsible for helping their athletes maintain their eligibility, though according the PSAL,  the principal is responsible for reporting violations and administering the proper consequences. If a coach plays a player that has been deemed ineligible then the game may be forfeited and the coach could face punishments from the PSAL. Of the three athletes that were interviewed by the Argus, all three said that their coaches made them fully aware of the regulations and punishments.

“Mr. Hero is constantly telling us to make sure we are not absent, check our grades and check with Mr. Peterson to make sure that we are eligible,” said Joe Vittoriano ‘16, a member of the Midwood Wrestling team. “He says he won’t even let us practice if we are ineligible.”

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