Interscholastic Athletic Guidelines

PIAA Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics for high school athletes is to be regarded not only as recommendations, but also as rules governing the conduct of schools, coaches, officials, athletics directors, principals and the public.

  1. The school should conduct itself in a sportsmanlike manner.
  2. The coach should:
    1. have a fair, unprejudiced relationship to players
    2. teach athletes to win through legitimate means only (striving to win at any cost is unethical.)
    3. give opponents credit when they win
    4. control his/her temper at all times
    5. prohibit profanity and obscene language
    6. recommend the use of  competent officials and support their decisions.  (One should not criticize the actions or decisions of officials before players, spectators, or media sources.)
    7. counteract unfounded rumors of questionable practices by opponents.  (To establish the truth or falsity of these rumors, he/she should refer them directly to the authorities of the school concerned.)
    8. not solicit players from other schools
    9. reward good sportsmanship
  3. The officials should
    1. have thorough preparation in the current rules and approved officiating techniques of the game
    2. be physically fit and mentally alert
    3. have a neat, distinctive uniform
    4. report on duty at least 30 minutes before game time
    5. honor all agreements
    6. maintain confidence and poise, controlling the contest from start to finish
    7. never exhibit emotions or argue with participants and coaches
    8. call them as he/she sees them
    9. make clear any interpretations and announcements
    10. not discuss plays or players of a team with any of their future opponents
  4. The athletic director should
    1. arrange only schedules which are educationally and physically sound for the athlete
    2. have a definite and mutual understanding with other athletic directors regarding officials
    3. treat visiting teams and officials as guests
    4. cooperate with the community in developing a wholesome athletic program
  5. The principal should
    1. be honest in certification of players, refusing certification of any player where a lack of thoroughly reliable information makes possible his/her eligibility
    2. endeavor to foresee possible misunderstandings with other schools, and as far as possible settle them before they materialize
    3. pass onto another school’s officials any seemingly authentic information which calls in question the eligibility of any of their players
    4. encourage the school’s support of its teams, but never at the expense of friendly relations
    5. attend contests whenever possible and function as a role model
  6. The public should
    1. realize that gambling and drinking in connection with athletic contests are detrimental to the best interests of athletics and the standards which the PIAA is endeavoring to foster
    2. realize athletes shall not be deterred or discouraged from participating in more that one sport or other activities
    3. realize all coaches are responsible for the behavior, safety and welfare of the members of their teams during practice and games
    4. understand that attendance is a privilege, not a right
    5. never ridicule/intimidate the other team and its fans
  7. The student-athlete should
    1. accept and understand the seriousness of responsibility, and the privilege of representing his/her school and community
    2. abide by the rules established by school administration and coaching staff
    3. learn the rules of the contest thoroughly
    4. treat opposing players, coaches, and fans respectfully
    5. respect the integrity and judgment of contest officials
  8. Other support groups (cheerleaders, band, booster club) should
    1. learn the rules of the contest thoroughly in order to achieve a better understanding and appreciation of the sport
    2. always provide positive support
    3. treat opposing players, coaches, spectators, and support groups with respect and enthusiasm
    4. give encouragement to injured players and recognition to outstanding performances for both teams
    5. conduct themselves in an exemplary manner, as they are representing the school and the community

General Administrative Policies and Responsibilities Athletic Department

  1. Participation in athletics is subordinate to academic development. Coaches shall not take any action or make any rule which requires an athlete to compromise his/her educational progress.
  2. Athletes shall not be deterred or discouraged from participating in more than one sport or other school activities.
  3. All coaches are responsible for the behavior, safety and welfare of the members of their teams during practice and games.
  4. Following are expectations of coaches in supervising and directing their respective teams:
    1. Each athlete will attend all practices and will be punctual unless there is a reasonable excuse.
    2. The use of profane language or gestures is not permitted of athletes or coaches.
    3. Good sportsmanship will be encouraged both in victory and defeat.
    4. There must be respect for authority both on and off the field of play.
    5. Since the athlete represents his school and community, he/she should be neatly groomed and properly dressed when traveling to a contest or game.
    6. Use of any tobacco products, drinking of alcohol or the illegal use of controlled substances is strictly forbidden.
    7. Athletes are encouraged to develop good study habits and work to their maximum ability scholastically.
    8. Athletes should be reminded that they are leaders and therefore must assume their responsibilities at home, in school and in the community.
    9. Through documentation and open lines of communication with the trainer, coaches will know the health status of their players and will be sure all injuries are given proper attention.
    10. Players must be supervised at all times when under a coach’s jurisdiction.  This includes in the locker room, on the bus and also on the field of play.
    11. At athletic contests, in the absence of the principal and athletic director, the coach is the acting authority of the school district.
    12. All head coaches must have certification in CPR/AED/First Aid training prior to the start of the season. Documentation of certification must be provided to the district.
    13. All head coaches must provide certificates for the following clearances:
      • Act 34
      • Act 151
      • CPR/AED/First Aid Training
      • All expenses for these clearances shall be the responsibility of the head coach.
    14. Periodically the district shall provide re-certification for CPR/AED/First Aid Training. This expense shall be paid by the district. Any head coach who does not attend the district sponsored re-certification program shall be responsible for re-certification and expenses incurred.
    15. All assistant and volunteer coaches must provide certificates for the following clearances:
      • Act 34
      • Act 151
      • All expenses for these clearances shall be the responsibility of the assistant or volunteer coach.
  5. Montgomery Area School District athletes WILL observe the rules of conduct as follows:
    1. They shall not use alcohol, tobacco products or controlled substances.
    2. They shall not intentionally destroy public or school district property.
    3. They shall not indecently expose themselves.
    4. They shall not steal or unlawfully borrow any athletic equipment nor shall they wear any equipment outside of regular participation.
    5. They shall not leave the scene of an athletic contest without the authorization of the coach/athletic director/administration.
    6. They shall not use obscene language or gestures in a public place.
    7. Players will treat their teammates and coaches with respect and support.  Bickering/arguing/negative attitudes toward any member of the team or the team as a whole will result in a meeting with coaches.  If a problem persists the player will be dismissed from the team.
    8. Players will act in a respectable manner during games and practices.  There will be no vulgar language, throwing equipment, fighting, or arguing calls with officials, opposing players or opposing coaches.  Such actions may result in a dismissal from the team.
  6. Abuse of any of the above rule of conduct may result in:
    1. Elimination of the individual(s) from the interscholastic sport for the remainder of that particular season.
    2. Forfeiture of awards for that particular sport.
    3. Banishment from any further interscholastic competition (on second offense).
    4. Other appropriate disciplinary action.
    5. Suspension and/or expulsion from school.
  7. Responsibility of Spectators:
    1. Spectators (student and adult) are encouraged to attend all athletic events, home and away.
    2. All visiting teams and spectators should be treated as guests.
    3. Any spectator displaying poor sportsmanship at any athletic event will be removed from the premises. Poor sportsmanship includes abusing game officials, berating athletes, degrading coaches and harassing other spectators. Poor conduct could result in banishment from all athletic events for the year.
    4. In cases where spectator conduct is deemed abusive, legal charges may be filed by the school district.
    5. Any adult spectator(s) who are removed from an athletic event for unsportsmanlike behavior or who are reported to the District by another school or PIAA official for unsportsmanlike behavior MUST meet with the Superintendent, Principal and Athletic Director to determine if the individual(s) shall be banned from all athletic events for the remainder of the year. Banishment shall include all home and away regular season games and PIAA playoff games.

Eligibility of Athletes

In order for boys and girls to compete in interscholastic athletics, all the regulations and requirements set forth by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association must be fulfilled.

The major requirements are as follows:

  1. Must be amateurs
    • May not play under an assumed name
    • May not receive money or gifts
    • May not sign a contract to play for a professional team
  2. Scholarship
    • Section 1
      • To be eligible for interscholastic athletic competition, a pupil must pursue a curriculum defined and approved by the principal as a full-time curriculum. Where required, this curriculum or its equivalent must be approved by, and conform to the regulations of the State Board of Education and the Pennsylvania School Code, as well as any local policies established by the local school board.  The pupil must maintain an acceptable grade in such approved curriculum, as certified by the principal. Eligibility shall be cumulative from the beginning of a grading period, and shall be reported on a weekly basis.
    • Section 3 – New Pupils Must Meet Eligibility Requirements on Scholarship
      • Pupils who are enrolled for the first time, must comply with the requirements of the scholarship rules.  The standing required for the preceding grading period shall be obtained from the records of the last school in which the pupil has attended.
  3. Must attend school the day of the game. If the game is played on Saturday, must attend school on Friday. Any exception to the rule must have prior approval of the Athletic Director and/or Principal.
  4. Behavior unbecoming an athlete could result in the principal revoking the privilege of a student to participate in an athletic event.
  5. Age
    • Section 1 – Maximum Age Rule
      • A pupil shall be ineligible for interscholastic athletic competition upon attaining the age of nineteen years, with the following exception.
      • If the age of 19 is attained on or after July 1, the pupil shall be eligible, age wise to compete through that school year.
    • In determining the age of a pupil, the date of birth as recorded in a State Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be considered as conclusive if filed in a State Bureau of Vital Statistics within one year after the date of birth. If a birth record from a State Bureau of Vital Statistics is not available, proof of a pupil’s age may be determined by requiring the submission of a birth certificate which was issued within one year after birth;  or in lieu of a birth certificate, a passport, an affidavit by the parents or legal guardian filed not later than one year after the pupil’s admission to the first grade of an elementary school. In the event of the non-existence of any of these records or evidences, the earliest date of birth as recorded in the records of the school or schools attended by the pupil shall be considered the date of birth.
  6. A pupil of a middle school wherein interscholastic athletic competition is limited to grades seven and eight shall be ineligible to compete in interscholastic athletic contests upon attaining the age of fifteen years, with the following exception:
    • if the age of 15 is attained on or after September 1st, the pupil shall be eligible to compete through that school year.