I’ve got a question: In most states you’re limited to four years of high school “participation.” Small schools are allowed to play 8th graders, but if they do, they need to miss one year of high school (in Michigan they’d need to miss one full year-every sport, but in other states just in that sport). I assume Minnesota allows a high school athlete to play as many years as she/he wants?
Here’s the rule as stated in the MSHSL Eligibility
16. *SEASONS OF PARTICIPATION — No student may
participate in more than four (4) seasons in any sport while enrolled
in grades 9-12, semesters 1-8 inclusive.
17. *SEMESTERS IN HIGH SCHOOL — A student shall not
participate in an interscholastic contest after the student’s eighth
semester in grades 9-12 inclusive. All eight semesters shall be
consecutive, beginning in the 9th grade. The attendance of 15 days
or more in one semester will count as a semester in administering
18. JUNIOR HIGH PARTICIPATION — Participation in high
school interscholastic programs is limited to students in grades 7-12
inclusive. Students in grade 7, 8 and 9 may participate if enrolled
in the regular continuation school for the educational unit and if all
other eligibility requirements of the League have been met.
Elementary students in grades 1-6 are not eligible for participation
in any MSHSL-sponsored activity; B-squad, junior varsity or
I was wondering the same thing and I looked it up on the MN State High School League site. Yes I think one can play as early as seventh grade (my bosses daughter was the #1 runner for a big school in CC this year as a seventh grader, many of the top girl CC runners are very young). I know April Calhoun played at our HS from 8th grade on. Didn’t seem to hurt her much, she’s an Academic All American with a 4.0 average at the Carlson School of Business.
I think there may be a problem with the system that produces these young phenoms, but like I said, it wouldn’t be much fun for anyone to make a player like Tayler play with kids her own age, so I think you really have to advance them. Seems like our culture is producing world class athletes that are younger and younger, tennis, swimming, golf, gymnastics and now hoops. One of the problems is specialization too early. That wasn’t April’s problem, she lettered in four sports, was all conference in three. I’m not saying I like it or that it’s right, but it is a fact.
You should see the hockey in this state, many kids leave home to play Junior A because they don’t feel that high school is played at a high enough level of competition. Wow, have you seen MN high school hockey?!? I think that parents are a big part of the problem, too impatient for their kids to develope into top athletes. There is a proposal in the state legislature to remove sports from schools and have them be community based. I don’t like that either.
It might be wise to limit the out of season club participation that forces kids to make a choice of which sport to specialize in at too early an age. Some of the parents I know joke about how it’s too late to get into hockey when you’re five. I think others aren’t joking. Elite teams are also a problem. The three sophmores on the Gopher Women’s BBall team all played together on the same AAU team the won the national under 17 title. Kelly Roysland is from Fosston, which is about as far away from the cities as you can get in Minnesota, while most of the other players were from the city. I will say this for club soccer, our local organization has supported 3 teams at Quinn’s age level all the way through U17, which gives 50 girls the chance to play a team sport. On the other hand they have a girl that was on the State ODP (Olympic Developemnet Program if you can believe that) was playing up a year on a Premier team and just quit soccer completely because it was consuming too much of her life.
And yet, the whole thing is kind of like nuclear proliferation. No one wants to blink first. Fifteen or twenty years ago the Gopher hockey program which was famous for winning national championships with home grown talent suddenly went on a draught. “What’s happening to Minnesota hockey?” was the cry. They’re producing more and better players in Michigan and Massachusetts, we have to keep up. So now hockey is a year ’round sport and you pretty much have to play it exclusively. Guess what, we’re back to winning championships. It all goes back to when the Russians started whipping us in so many sports, it became a national priority to keep up. So, yes, I think the problems largely come from too early and too much emphasis on winning. When I coached, we’d always give the parents the spiel about not being too competitive and emphasizing fun over winning, but as soon as you lost some games, you’d start getting the remarks and suggestions and the questions about what’s wrong. I’m conflicted about youth sports, I love them…I hate them.
I’ll stop rambling now. Tayler’s team lost today. She scored 19. I’ll keep you posted on her career.