At least that’s what I’ll be arguing in my Friday prep column.
In many parts of the country where middle school is 6th-8th grade and high school is 9th-12th grade, allowing freshmen to play isn’t an issue. The best freshmen make varsity. Good ones make JV. The ones who aren’t good enough either make it on a freshmen team — some schools have ’em, some don’t — or get cut.
In Washington, an overwhelming majority of school districts follow the middle school/high school model, but there are a few like the Central Kitsap and South Kitsap school districts that still use the junior high (7th-9th)/high school (10th-12th) model.
The rule for freshmen participating in sports is basically this: if the junior high offers the sport, freshmen must play it at the junior high level. That includes football, volleyball, wrestling, boys/girls basketball and track and field.
If the sport isn’t offered at the junior high level, freshmen can play it in high school.
But here’s the thing: that rule only applies to freshmen at two high schools — Olympic and Central Kitsap — in the CKSD. At Klahowya, which is a secondary school, all freshmen can play at the high school level. Since Olympic and Klahowya are in the same league, that doesn’t seem like a level playing field.
I’ve spoken with coaches at Olympic and Central Kitsap who’ve voiced their displeasure at what they believe is an inequity in the system. These coaches are hopeful that change may be coming, but some are pretty pessimistic.
CKSD’s Co-Curricular Committee has studied the issue and discussed several plans of action, one of which would be to move freshmen up for all sports as soon as next season. CKSD superintendent Greg Lynch planned to make a decision on the subject at the beginning of April, but with news that Lynch will leave his post at the end of June, I wonder if this is an issue that will continue to be discussed for some time.