CHSAA Citizenship Rule sets expectations for students

(CHSAA file photo)

(CHSAA file photo)

Question: What is the CHSAA Citizenship Rule and why does it exist?

General observers of high school sports — parents, grandparents, the normal neighborhood fan — really don’t look beyond the competitive aspect of what our students are doing when out there on the football field, the softball diamond, running around the track, or spiking a volleyball. What they see are kids playing games, albeit on a stage more prominent than most.

What lies beyond the competition is what is important to the Colorado High School Activities Association membership. Those who work in prep sports know that high school activities are inherently educational.

They provide valuable lessons for practical situations, like teamwork, sportsmanship and hard work. Students learn self-discipline, build self-confidence and develop skills to handle all manners of situations. There are few of that would argue these qualities are needed for our students to grow into responsible adults, productive citizens and skilled professionals.

High school activities are an investment in the community and build the kinds of citizens we all want for the future. Students earn their place on the field and with the teams for which they compete. They are held to high behavioral expectations, creating the foundation of citizenship.

To that end, the CHSAA membership holds its student participants to specific academic and behavioral eligibility standards. In order to play, a student must meet these standards.  Rules provide the structure for fair play.

Citizenship and academic eligibility rules hold students accountable for their actions.

The role of citizenship is addressed in the CHSAA by-laws and has been a major tenet for the Association since 1933. The rule at that time said,

“Citizenship. No student shall be certified as eligible to represent his school unless in the judgment of the principal he is representative of the school’s ideals in matter [sic] of conduct, effort and training. In making any list of eligible players for a specific game, the principal shall obtain from each teacher an estimate of the player’s standing in conduct, effort, attendance and scholastic results. No student shall be considered eligible who remains persistently unsatisfactory in any of these particulars.”

The rule stayed in this form until 2002 when a minor “tweaking” was done to it and here is how rule 1720 (b) reads now:

“In the judgment of the principal of the student’s school he/she is representative of the school's ideals in matters of citizenship, conduct and sportsmanship.”

Now, rule 1850.3 also holds reference to the importance of citizenship,

CITIZENSHIP/INELIGIBLE TRANSFER — A student who would be ineligible because of any citizenship violation will be declared ineligible for the same time period at the new school.”

Students learn when they are held accountable. CHSAA rules are designed to help with that. High school events are fun, but they’re educational, too.