Know Your Eligibility Rules for Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. Sponsored Athletic Competition
(Revised: July 1, 2011)
Know Your Eligibility Rules
A student who participates in interscholastic athletics at a school which is a member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. ("PIAA") must comply with PIAA eligibility rules. If you fail to comply with these rules, you will lose your eligibility to participate in interscholastic athletics. If you participate while ineligible, you, your school, and/or your Team will be penalized. It is, therefore, important for you to be aware of applicable eligibility provisions.
The information set forth below highlights and summarizes the major requirements you must meet to be eligible. It does not identify every rule or every detail. Unless otherwise indicated, each requirement applies to students in grades 7 through 12.
The Principal of your school is responsible for certifying as to your athletic eligibility. If you have any questions concerning your athletic eligibility, either now or in the future, you should discuss the matter with your school Principal or Athletic Director. If they are uncertain about a matter, they can request guidance and even a formal ruling from PIAA as to your athletic eligibility. A complete copy of the PIAA eligibility rules may be viewed on the PIAA Website at www.piaa.org/resources/handbook, or may be obtained from your Principal or Athletic Director.
To be eligible to participate in grades 10 through 12, you must not have reached your 19th birthday by June 30 immediately preceding the school year. Where you will participate only in grades 7 and 8, you may not have reached your 15th birthday by June 30 immediately preceding the school year; where you will participate only in grades 7 through 9, you may not have reached your 16th birthday by June 30 immediately preceding the school year.
Amateur Status and Awards
To be eligible to participate in a sport, you must be an amateur in that sport. Amateur status, and eligibility, is lost if you, or your parent(s) or guardian(s), receive money or property for or related to your athletic ability, participation, performance, services, or training in a sport.
You may receive be recognized and receive awards for your participation only from your school or school-affiliated booster club, the sponsor of an athletic event, a non-profit service organization approved by your school Principal, or the news media. Permissible awards include items of apparel, a blanket, watch, ring, scroll, carry-on or warm-up bag, photograph, medal, plaque, or similar award, which must bear appropriate institutional insignia or comparable identification. The fair market value of all of the items provided to you may not exceed $200. If they do, you must return the items in excess of $200.
You must be enrolled in and in full-time attendance at a PIAA member school or a Charter or Cyber-Charter School, or be home-schooled.
Generally, you are eligible only at the school at which you are enrolled or, if a home-schooled student, at a public school in the public school district in which you reside. If you are a student enrolled in either a Charter School or Cyber Charter School, you should consult with your Principal to determine the school at which you are eligible.
If you are absent from school during a semester for a total of 20 or more school days, you will lose your eligibility until you attend school for a total of 45 school days following your 20th day of absence.
Consent of Parent or Guardian
You are eligible only if there is on file with the Principal of your school a certificate signed by your parent(s) or guardian(s) consenting to your participation in the particular sport(s) involved.
Comprehensive Initial Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation
You are eligible only if you have completed a comprehensive initial pre-participation physical evaluation ("CIPPE"), performed by an Authorized Medical Examiner (as that term is defined in the GLOSSARY of the PIAA By-Laws) before your first sport season's first Practice of that school year. If you want to participate in subsequent sport(s) in the same school year, you may be required to be re-evaluated and re-certified that your physical condition is satisfactory. Check with your Principal or Athletic Director to determine whether re-evaluation and re-certification is needed.
Wrestlers must also obtain a certification of the minimum wrestling weight at which they may wrestle during that season.
In all cases, an Authorized Medical Examiner must certify, on the PIAA CIPPE form, as to your physical fitness to participate in the particular sport(s) involved. A CIPPE may be performed no earlier than June 1st; and, regardless of when performed during the school year, remains effective only until the next May 31st.
You are treated as having transferred whenever you seek eligibility to participate in interscholastic athletics at a school other than the one at which you were previously either enrolled or otherwise eligible. You are considered to have transferred even if you are promoted to a higher level school or are out-of-school for a period of time before entering the new school. If your Transfer from one school to another is materially motivated in some way by an athletic purpose, you will lose your athletic eligibility in each sport in which you participate within a period of one year immediately following the date on which you transferred. This requirement applies even if you would be otherwise eligible at the school to which you transferred. If your school eliminates a sport for budgetary reasons, you may be permitted to Transfer to another school to participate in that sport. You must enroll and attend the other school. If you desire to participate in any other sports at that school, your PIAA District Committee will assess whether the Transfer was materially motivated in some way by an athletic purpose relating to those sports.
Period of Time After Eighth Grade, Participation, and Grade Repetition
Your athletic eligibility extends only until you have reached the end of your fourth consecutive year (8th consecutive semester or the equivalent) beyond the eighth grade. Therefore, if you repeat a grade after eighth, you will be ineligible as a senior.
Additionally, you may participate in (1) a maximum of six seasons in each sport during grades seven through twelve, (2) a maximum of four seasons in each sport during grades nine through twelve, and (3) a maximum of three seasons in each sport during grades seven through nine.
You may participate in only one season in each sport during each school year.
If you participate in a non-school athletic program during the PIAA Season for that sport, while enrolled at a school which has a Team in that sport, you will not be eligible for District and Inter-District Championship Contests in that sport unless you are in uniform and available to participate as a member of your school Team for at least 75% of its Regular Season Contests.
Academic and Curricular Requirements
You must pursue a full-time curriculum defined and approved by your Principal.
You must be passing at least four full-credit subjects, or the equivalent, as of each Friday during a grading period. If you fail to meet this requirement, you will lose your eligibility from the immediately following Sunday through the Saturday immediately following the next Friday as of which you meet this requirement.
You must have passed at least four full-credit subjects or the equivalent during the previous grading period, except that eligibility for the first grading period is based on your final grades for the preceding school year. If you fail to meet this requirement, you will lose your eligibility for at least 15 or 10 school days of the next grading period, beginning on the first day that report cards are issued. If your school has four grading periods, you will be ineligible for at least 15 school days; if your school has six grading periods, you will be ineligible for at least 10 school days.
You will lose your eligibility in a sport for one year if you participate in an all-star Contest in that sport. Your eligibility will not be affected if you participate in an event that (1) is not advertised or promoted as an all-star Contest; (2) is open to all participants on the basis of a tryout or a uniform standard of qualification; and (3) you do not represent your school and do not wear any school-affiliated uniform or apparel in the event.
All PIAA sports have a defined season. If your school Team conducts Practice and/or participates in Inter-School Practices, Scrimmages, and/or Contests outside that PIAA defined season, your school will be penalized.
If you desire to play interscholastic football for a PIAA member school, and you engage in Physical Contact (as that term is defined in ARTICLE XVI, SEASON AND OUT-OF-SEASON RULES AND REGULATIONS, Section 2, Rules and Regulations, subsection C, Football, sub-subsection 1, of the PIAA By-Laws) outside the PIAA-defined football season, you will be ineligible to participate in interscholastic football for a period up to one year from the date of such participation.
Use of Anabolic Steroids
By state law, all Pennsylvania school districts are required to adopt and enforce rules and regulations prohibiting the use of anabolic steroids, except for a valid medical purpose, by students involved in school-related athletics. School Boards are also required to establish penalties for students found in violation of the adopted rules and regulations. As penalties may vary from school district to school district, you should consult with your Principal or Athletic Director as to the penalties that your School Board has adopted.
Concussion Recognition and Management
A concussion is a brain injury that results in a temporary disruption of normal brain function. A concussion occurs when the brain is violently rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. Athletes at your age are particularly vulnerable to the effects of concussions. Once considered little more than a minor "ding" on the head, it is now understood that a concussion has the potential to result in death or short- and/or long-term changes in brain function.
If a sports official removes you from a Contest because you have exhibited signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, and/or balance problems) you may not return to participating in Practices, Inter-School Practices, Scrimmages, and/or Contests until cleared by a licensed physician of medicine or osteopathic medicine who is sufficiently familiar with current concussion management.