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Athletics Policies

These rules may be amended as necessary by the administration. In this case, notification will be made to parents and posted here. The interpretation of these rules is the sole responsibility of the administration of Saint Mary's Parish School. Waivers from MIAA rules will be requested at the discretion of the Athletic Director. Exceptions to specific school rules are made by the administration. Their decisions are final and student-athletes have no recourse to appeal.

Saint Mary’s Parish School is a member of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference (PVIAC). They set the minimum standards for our athletics program. Saint Mary’s often sets standards higher than those required. You can access the MIAA Handbook on their website at miaa.net.

Fall (Season begins on August 27, 2015)
Boys & Girls Cross Country Boys & Girls Soccer Golf

Winter (Season begins on November 30, 2015)
Boys* & Girls Basketball Ice Hockey Boys & Girls Skiing

Spring (Season begins on March 21, 2016)
Boys** & Girls Lacrosse Boys & Girls Tennis Baseball*

* Teams which are expected to support a junior varsity program this year.
** This is the second year of a two-year co-op agreement with Westfield Voc-Tech.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to play a sport, a student must complete the following requirements:

1. Grades: a student must pass all courses at the end of the marking period. He/she must also maintain a grade point average of at least 1.67. If a student gets an F or is below the required GPA, he/she is not eligible until after the next marking period. For fall sports, these same standards are applied to both the fourth quarter and the final year grade. An F for the year will be considered passing if the student completes the same course in summer school. Incoming freshmen are exempt from grade requirements for the fall season.

2. Health & Physical: a physical must be on file dated within thirteen (13) months. After thirteen months, a physical expires and the student may not participate in any practices or games. If a student is ill or injured, he/she is not eligible to play. If a student has recently suffered a concussion, he/she must have the completed “Return to Play” form before being eligible to return. Please see the concussion section below for more information.

3. Commitment: a student must commit to attending all practices and games throughout the season. See the membership section below for more information.

4. Discipline: a student must be in good standing with the school in order to participate in athletics. The administration reserves the right to suspend an athlete as a disciplinary measure.

5. Detention: a detention takes precedence over a practice, game, or team meeting. If you were assigned a detention on a specific day, you are considered ineligible to participate in athletics until it has been served in full. Failure to appear for detention due to athletic commitments will result in suspension from future athletic events.

Membership on a Team

Once a student is a member of a team, he/she may not switch to a different sport in the same season. If a student joins the team after the first practice, he/she must have ten practice sessions before playing in a competition. Before joining a team, students and parents should consider the time and commitment required. If a student decides to quit a team, he/she must notify both the coach and the Athletic Director.

Saint Mary’s Parish School has a general “no cut” policy. This means that any eligible student may join a team. However, the Athletic Director may cut students if numbers are excessively high and would be detrimental to the team (e.g., golf, tennis). Please keep in mind two important consequences to this policy:

1. Playing Time: no student is guaranteed playing time. Commitment is also no guarantee of playing time. The coach has to weigh many factors when choosing which students to start and which to play. Issues should be addressed directly with the coach. His/her decision is final.

2. Away contests: due to transportation limitations, not every member of a team will travel to away contests. The coach will choose which players will attend. His/her decision is final.

Attendance Policy

If a student is absent from school, he/she may not participate in practice or a game on that day. A student must be in school before 10:30 a.m. to be eligible for sports that day. A student dismissed from school cannot attend practice or a game without prior permission from the Athletic Director or Dean of Students.

A team member must attend all games, practices, and team meetings as scheduled by the Athletic Director and coaching staff. A student may not miss a game or practice to play on another sports team. In accordance with MIAA rule 46, he/she will be automatically suspended for 25% of the season.

If a student must miss a practice or game, the coach should be notified in advance. Each coach will inform the team of his/her specific attendance policy. Please note that there may even be consequences for an excused absence. For reasons of fairness to the team (and not as a punitive measure), a coach may choose to bench a player even if he or she has a valid excuse for missing a game or practice. This is left to the coach’s discretion.

Vacation Policy

Extended vacations should not be scheduled if you choose to participate on a team. While this can be a challenge for some families, please understand the important lesson of commitment we are teaching our students. Please note that fall sports begin during summer vacation, Christmas and February vacation fall during the winter season, and April vacation is during the spring season. Scheduling a vacation during the season may result in dismissal from the team at the discretion of the coach or administration.

Community Service

Each team will perform community service as a group. Every student is expected to participate. If a student cannot attend, permission must be sought in advance from the Athletic Director.

Conflict Resolution

If a student or parent has an issue with any aspect of the athletics program, he/she should adhere to the following:

1. Speak directly to the coach of the team involved.
2. If not satisfied with the coach’s response, speak to the Athletic Director.
3. If not satisfied with the response of the Athletic Director, speak to the Dean of Students.
4. If not satisfied with the response of the Dean of Students, speak to the Head of School.
5. If not satisfied with the response of the Head of School, speak to the Pastor.

If any of the above steps are omitted, you will be asked to address your concerns with the appropriate person before it moves up the chain of command.

Athletic Fees

Saint Mary’s Parish School does not charge an athletic fee. Members of the ice hockey team are responsible for paying the ice time. Parents will be billed at the beginning of the season and the balance is due once the final ice bill is received. A student-athlete will not be eligible for a spring sport until his portion of the bill is paid in full. Inquiries regarding the ice bill should be directed to our Business Manager, Sue Turrini at 568-1160. A separate policy for skiing will be distributed to students prior to the season.

Sportsmanship

All coaches, school representatives, student-athletes, parents, and spectators are expected to display good sportsmanship at all times. This includes before and after games, whether home or away. Good sportsmanship should be shown toward players and coaches of both teams and toward officials. If students or coaches act inappropriately, they will be immediately dismissed for the remainder of the game and face further disciplinary action. If parents or spectators are in violation, they will be ejected from the game site and may be barred from attending future events. Regardless of the party involved, the decision of the site administrator is final.

Some rules of sportsmanship to consider:
- Cheer for our team.
- Do not address game officials.
- Do not speak to or about any individual player or coach.

If you feel that the team or an individual player was treated unfairly or if you observe a violation of the rules, there are appropriate channels set-up in order to lodge a complaint. Dealing with it yourself only lessens your credibility. Speak to our coach after the game and he/she can direct your concern to the appropriate official.

The rules of sportsmanship also apply to social media. Postings on student's accounts which taunt or denigrate other students, coaches, game officials, or members of opposing teams will not be tolerated. Postings which are deemed inappropriate by the administration should be removed. Students will be subject to a penalty which may include game suspension or dismissal from the team.

Inclement Weather

If school is cancelled due to inclement weather, then there are no athletic events that day (games or practices). The only exception would be for a hockey game scheduled that evening due to the availability of ice time. Attendance at this game would be at the parent’s discretion. In either case, notification will be sent out by the coach.

In the event of inclement weather during the school day, every effort will be made to cancel games and practices in a timely manner and communicate the game’s status to students and parents. For games and practices, cancellations will ordinarily be made by 1:00 p.m. For hockey practice before school, please refer to local media outlets that post information on school closings.

Please do not call Saint Mary’s Parish School regarding cancellations. Students will be allowed to make phone calls to their parents once the status of the game or practice has been determined.

Health and Medical Concerns

Students should be in adequate physical health to participate in practices and games. If a student is injured, he/she will not be eligible to participate in practices or games unless cleared in writing by a health care professional.

A licensed trainer is present for all home games for ice hockey and boys lacrosse. Saint Mary’s Parish School also has a limited number of AED machines which travel with selected teams.

At home games, the trainer or coach has the final say on whether or not an athlete may continue to play in the game. At away games, the other school’s trainer or our coach will make the final decision.

Concussions

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has put in place regulations for dealing with students who are suspected of suffering a concussion. Each year all students and parents must complete concussion training. By law, proof of participation will be recorded and stored by the Athletic Director. Prior to each season, students and parents must complete and sign the Pre-Participation Form.

If the trainer or coach notices any symptoms of a concussion, he/she will take the player out of the game and recommend that he/she be given professional medical attention either with a personal physician or at the emergency room.

Before returning to practice or games, a physician must complete the “Return to Play” form. This ensures that it is safe for the athlete to return to play and it complies with state law. There are no exceptions to the use of this form. If a student suffers a concussion, the Athletic Director should be informed in a timely manner. He will then inform the school nurse.

In accordance with state law, the Athletic Directors, school nurse, coaches, and assistant coaches have taken and passed an approved concussion training course. Proof of completion is on file at the school.

Alcohol and Chemical Abuse Policy

MIAA Rule #62 lays out the consequences for any student in possession of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or any other drug which he/she has not been prescribed by a doctor. This policy includes e-cigarettes. Notice that this does not just include the use of these substances, but also their possession. If the school is presented evidence of a violation, the student will be suspended for 25% of the remaining contests in the season (including regular season and tournament play). This penalty carries over into the next season in which the student participates. This the minimum penalty imposed by the MIAA. Saint Mary’s Parish School reserves the right to add further consequences. Please note that for Saint Mary's students, this rule applies year-round.

Equipment & Uniforms

Uniforms will be distributed by the coach or Athletic Director before the first contest. All items must be returned in good condition by the announced date to the Athletic Director. Failure to do so will result in detention and the withholding of grades. A student will not be eligible for the next season until the previous season’s uniform is returned. Uniforms may only be worn at official Saint Mary’s Parish School athletic events. If a uniform is lost or stolen, the student is responsible for the approximate replacement cost as determined by the Athletic Director. His decision is final. All athletic equipment used by students should be treated with care and returned in good condition.

Away Games & Transportation

Transportation to and from away games is provided by bus or van. All athletes are required to arrive at away games with the team. A student may not drive him/herself and cannot be driven by a parent. No exceptions. If a student would like to travel home with a parent, the parent should speak directly to the coach to request permission. A parent may not drive any other athletes home from a game. Students are responsible for cleaning the bus or van when returning to school.

When visiting another school or facility, athletes may not roam around or be present in any other part of the school or field without authorization. If caught, the student will face disciplinary action. Students should treat away facilities and equipment with respect. This includes picking up their trash when the contest is finished.

Conduct

Student-athletes are representatives of our school. They are expected to act in an appropriate manner at all times. Students should be “saints” at practice, home and away games, and on the bus. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.

Students, parents, and spectators should show respect to coaches at all times. Our coaching staff is extremely dedicated and many are volunteers. They are professionals who are committed to looking out for the best interests of the team. They should always be given the benefit of the doubt and treated respectfully. Conflicts and concerns should be aired in an appropriate manner.

Captains

Captains are chosen by the coach in consultation with the Athletic Director. They should be strong and responsible leaders both on and off the field. Their responsibilities are at the coach’s discretion and may include:

▪ Leading warm-ups with the team.
▪ Communicating practice and game times to the team.
▪ Coordinating transportation to and from practice for underclassmen.
▪ Ensure standards of sportsmanship before, during, and after play.
▪ Leading prayer before contests.
▪ Serve as a communication channel between Athletic Director and coach.

Captains should be especially aware of any instances of bullying or hazing and report them immediately. They should be aware of the needs of underclassmen and make themselves available to them, reporting any causes for concern to the coach or administration.

Students may be removed from the role of captain by the administration for disciplinary reasons. Captains are expected to be models of what a Saint Mary’s student-athlete is called to be.

All captains will meet with the Athletic Director at the beginning of the season to discuss these expectations.

Bullying

The bullying policy of Saint Mary’s Parish School is posted on our website. These rules will be strictly enforced in all aspects of our athletics program. Any incidents of bullying should be reported immediately to the administration.

Hazing

Hazing is defined as “any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.”

Massachusetts law requires that any person who is aware of or present for an act of hazing must report it to appropriate authorities in a timely manner. Saint Mary’s Parish School does not tolerate any form of hazing. Individual and/or team penalties will be levied by the administration for all hazing incidents associated with our athletics program, either inside or outside of official school events.