Athletic director outlines requirements to play school sports

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Campbell County students wishing to participate in school athletics must meet certain requirements.

Campbell County middle schools adhere to the regulations of the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association, and Campbell County High School and Jellico High School are associated with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. These organizations have requirements for participating in athletics.

One of the requirements is medical insurance.

“All students have to have insurance,” Campbell County Athletic Director Johnny Bruce said. They have to have proof of insurance. If they don’t have insurance, the school has a policy were they can purchase an individual school plan. It’s a very inexpensive plan. It covers kids while they’re at athletic events.”

Campbell County Schools offers a variety of student accident insurance plans. These plans offer different types of coverage, with different premium prices. The cheapest plan, the school-time only plan, covers students while they attend regular school sessions, school sponsored extra curricular activities, when they are traveling to and from school for school or extra curricular activities, and covers students while participating in sports, except for football. The premium prices for this plan range from $8 a year to $24 a year. There are also 24-hour plans. The high school football plan has premiums ranging from $40 to $120.

Another requirement for participating in school athletics is a physical.

“All athletes have to have a physical,” Bruce said. “They aren’t allowed to participate until we have proof of insurance and a physical in hand.”

A physical in April is good for a calendar year, Bruce said.

There are other factors that might disqualify athletes, such as age, poor academic performance or transferring to other schools.

To be eligible to participate in sports, a student must be regularly enrolled, in regular attendance, carry at least five full courses, earn five or six credits the preceding year and enroll before the 20th day of the semester, according to the TSSAA compliance checklist.

In order to participate as an athlete, a person can’t turn 19 before Aug. 1, Bruce said.

Students who engage in three or more days of practice with a school in which they are enrolled will be ineligible in that sport for that season if they enroll in another school without changing their residence, according to the TSSAA compliance checklist.

High school students get eight semesters of eligibility. They must earn five credits in order to participate the next semester, Bruce said. If a student drops out for a year, or fails to meet the academic requirements for a semester, that semester of eligibility is lost.

Middle school students can’t participate in athletics if they are held back and participated during their first year in that grade, Bruce said. If they fail the grade, they aren’t eligible. If they are held back, but didn’t participate in athletics the previous year, they can participate. But a student who repeats the seventh or eighth grade after passing that grade and participates in school athletics while repeating that grade will be ineligible to participate in athletics in the ninth grade, according to the TSSAA compliance checklist.

Middle school athletes aren’t allowed to participate in high school athletics. Students can’t participate in practice until they are officially enrolled in the high school.

“They aren’t allowed to participate in spring practice or anything,” Bruce said.