The athletic experience at all levels of competition should be considered an educational one. Students should experience and develop and wide range of life experiences and skills. Among these should be: the ability to set short and long term goals, persistence in the face of adversity, graciousness in both victory and defeat, and the willingness to sublimate the self for the good of the team and the resulting camaraderie..
All parties to the athletic experience should acknowledge that progress towards these goals is not ultimately measured in victories, minutes played or individual glory and honors. In many cases those things that the participant will value the most in life do not become apparent until the days of competition are long past.
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
The Athletic Department hosts a website which is currently located at:
Please visit for information related to district/team schedules, season start dates, coaches’ roster and contact numbers, driving directions to most away fields listed by school district, downloadable participation documents and team offerings by season.
Prior to participation:
Any student interested in participating in the OUFSD athletic program is expected to have on file with their building nurse a Medical Examination that is less than one year old. Additionally there must be a signed Parent Permission/Emergency Locator/Interval Health History card on file with the coach of the team. Students and parents are expected to read and abide by the terms Athletic Agreement/Code of Conduct that will be distributed to each participant prior to the season. These form are distributed by summer mailing, at informational meetings, and can be downloaded off the district web site.
In advance of their season of play sports coaches are expected to hold informational meetings. At these meetings start dates, mandated forms, team rules/expectations, etc. are discussed with students. The coaches of OHS fall sports are also expected to hold meetings of this type for interested 8th graders at OMS during the spring of their 7th grade year.
Due to numerous factors not all teams are able to accommodate every interested student. This requires that the coaches of some teams must reduce the size of their roster through competitive tryouts. Coaches are expected to set aside the first three days of the season for tryouts and may extend that period if warranted for some or all prospective team members. The length of the tryout period is necessarily brief since the NYS Athletic Association mandates a certain number of practices by sport prior to scrimmage or game. Practices in one sport are not transferable to another. Tryouts of greater length than the first week of the season would negatively impact a student’s possible eligibility for a sport of second choice.
Seasons of play:
The NYS Athletic Association mandates 4 seasons of competition at the middle school level and 3 seasons at the high school level and sets the start/end dates for each season by level on an annual basis. Middle school fall sports typically begin the first day of the first week of school; expect your child to practice or meet with the coach. High School fall sports begin in August. Typically football begins practice at the start of the third week of August with all others starting at the beginning of the fourth week.
Students participating in high school sports should anticipate a six-day a week commitment (Mon-Sat) and are expected to practice and compete over holiday breaks. Students participating in middle school sports should anticipate a minimum five-day a week commitment as practices or competitions not typically held on weekends or holiday breaks.
Team members are expected to attend practices on a routine basis. The NYS Athletic Association mandates a minimum number of practices per sport before an athlete becomes eligible for scrimmages/games. Only one practice per day may be counted towards the total and scrimmage/games days may not count towards the total. Absence from practice on a day the athlete is in school should be reported as far ahead of time to the coach as is possible. Students may not practice on a day when they have been absent, suspended or not signed into school by 11 AM. While the state does not mandate how many practices an athlete must have prior to competition following an extended layoff from practice or competition due to injury, illness, etc. coaches are expected to exercise good judgment and approach the situation with caution.
Students may not compete on a day when they have been absent, suspended or not signed into school by 11 AM. Athletes are expected to travel to all contests with their team. Parents may, with advance written notice to the coach, transport only their child from a contest. Each incidence of such transportation from a contest requires individual notice. Parents are expected to exercise restraint in exercising this option as team unity and the positive social aspect of participation can be affected when athletes depart early on a regular basis.
Athletes are expected to exhibit good sportsmanship towards their opponents and teammates. Spectators, whether home or away, are expected to model good behavior and cooperate with the reasonable requests of event supervisors, coaches, and site administrators. Vocal support for a child or team is appropriate. Negative behavior or speech directed at any participants, coaches or officials, is not appropriate.
Athletes are expected to be responsible for any team issued supplies and/or equipment and to maintain them in the same condition as issued. Any loss or damage to supplies or equipment should be reported to the coach immediately. Failure to return team issued materials in a timely fashion at season’s end can result in the student being held financially responsible for full replacement cost.
The NYS Athletic Association reserves the modified level of play for students grades 7 & 8 and the high school level for students grades 9 through 12. The Athletic Association also provides for students to play up or down a level based upon a program of screening. This requires a written recommendation from a district employed coach who has coached that student in the sport and can certify that he/she is not appropriate for their peer-group level of play, a maturation physical conducted by the district’s medical officer to determine the student’s biological (as opposed to chronological age), parent permission, and a series of physical screening tests mandated per sport by the NYS Athletic Association.
The NYSPHSAA does not allow students to participate while wearing jewelry of any sort. In keeping with the soundness of this policy as a safety/risk management issue coaches are expected to maintain the same policy in try-out and practice situations.
II. MIDDLE SCHOOL INFORMATION
Middle school athletics are referred to as “modified athletics” by the NYS Athletic Association. This is due to alterations in the usual rules of play designed to enhance the probability of student success and participatory opportunities. For instance: in sports usually divided into 4 quarters of play a 5th period of play is added (if both teams have sufficient rosters) and each team fields two rosters (an “A” and “B” roster) which alternate play by quarters.
This and other modifications make it possible for coaches at the modified to maintain larger rosters than at the high school. Due to a variety of factors the need to reduce rosters to a manageable size does exist in many modified athletic programs. Middle school students are always encouraged to consider second and third choices in the case that a particular program is unable to accommodate them.
The modified level also emphasizes instruction and experience for the greatest number of athletes. The A/B roster (where applicable) accommodates the desire to play the greatest number of students possible. Coaches are expected seek opportunities within competition to the greatest extent possible with the goal of all players playing some in each game. Some of the factors that may limit opportunities for an individual are: practice attendance, level of preparedness demonstrated in practices, and opportunity for safe/appropriate competitive match-ups within a competition.
III. HIGH SCHOOL INFORMATION
This level of competition should be considered a bridge between modified and varsity athletics. Competitions are governed by the rules adopted by the National Federation of High Schools and the NYS Athletic Association. Opportunities for participation are expanded by a larger number of scrimmages, games and tournaments than at the modified level and rosters that are typically larger than a varsity team’s (but smaller than modified). Depending on the program a roster reduction may be necessary after a period of competitive tryouts. Rosters are typically 9th and 10th graders, though in some cases upper-class students are given the opportunity to be members of a JV roster.
At this level coaches strive to balance the desire to play as many students as is reasonable versus the necessary development of a more competitive aspect within the team and against competition. It should not be expected that all players play in all games, though it should be a goal that all players should receive some opportunity during the season. Some of the factors that may limit opportunities for an individual are: practice attendance, level of preparedness demonstrated in practices, existence of safe/appropriate competitive match-ups within a competition, the team’s competitiveness versus its opponents.
This represents the ultimate level of competition in the interscholastic athletic program. Opportunities for participation are expanded by a larger number of allowed scrimmages, games and tournaments than at the JV or modified level, but this does not imply a guarantee of playing time to any roster member. Depending on the program a roster reduction may be required after a period of competitive tryouts. Rosters may be comprised of students 9th through 12th grade.
At this level the main goal is to achieve the most competitive team possible. The opportunity to find playing time for all players at some point in the season remains an ideal, but definitely secondary, goal to competitiveness. Some of the factors that may limit opportunities for an individual are: practice attendance, level of preparedness demonstrated in practices, existence of safe/appropriate competitive match-ups within a competition, the team’s competitiveness versus its opponents.