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16-17 Athletic Handbook

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Page 2 Welcome
Pages 2-3 Athletic Philosophy
Pages 3-4 General Information
Page 5 MHSAA Eligibility
Page 6 Academic & Citizenship Eligibility
Pages 7-9 Freeland Athletic Code of Conduct
Page 10 Common Athletic Concerns
Pages 11-12 Expectations
Page 13 Interscholastic Athletics in Michigan

August, 2016

Dear Falcon Supporters: We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the world of athletics at Freeland Community Schools. We, along with 23 other schools, are members of the Tri Valley Conference. The conference is divided into three divisions (East, West & Central). Freeland is a member of the Central division. The Freeland Community School District offers 16 different sports, of which many include sub varsity and middle school levels.
The Athletic Department is responsible for: the scheduling of teams, securing qualified coaches, contracting with game officials, preparing fields of play, securing transportation, purchasing equipment and uniforms, scheduling practice times, determining eligibility, securing volunteers to be scorers, security, and ticket takers, helping to monitor our student/athletes, instilling good sportsmanship, and making sure the event is actually played. As a supporter of Freeland athletics, your job includes: respecting the integrity and judgement of game officials, recognizing and showing appreciation for an outstanding play by either team, understanding the rules of the game, showing respect for opposing players, coaches and spectator support groups, using cheers that support the teams involved, being a positive role model through your actions, and enjoying high school athletics for the positive learning experience that it is. The pages contained within this booklet should serve as a guide for how your son or daughter can experience Freeland athletics in the most favorable light possible. We have enclosed information, which is pertinent to the understanding, development, performance, dedication, commitment, and enjoyment of athletics here at Freeland. Before your child begins their athletic career at our school, please take the time to read through this booklet with them. Should you have any remaining questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Freeland athletic department at (989) 695-5986 during the normal school day.
We are looking forward to meeting many parents and athletes in the coming academic year. Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself when you have a moment. Your children and the support you provide are what make Freeland athletics possible. We are excited about the future of our athletic program. We are encouraged and motivated by Falcon pride and tradition, and most of all we are appreciative of the opportunity to provide meaningful athletic activities to the young athletes of our community. It is our hope and goal to work positively with all student athletes and their adult supporters.


Athletics is an integral part of a high school educational experience and is properly considered an extension of the classroom. The goal of the Freeland Athletic Department is to develop the character traits, leadership skills and sportsmanship of our students. We expect to positively impact our athletes not only in the techniques and strategies of their sport, but also in the attainment of life-long skills and appreciation for physical fitness. We want our student-athletes to understand that successful athletes are those who set goals and strive toward the accomplishment of those goals. Successful athletes are honest and hard working people who endure personal sacrifice and persevere through the journey of self and team improvement. Those student-athletes who accept the challenges of participation and always give their best effort can only be classified as winners.

Middle School Philosophy:
The purpose of Middle School Athletic Programs is to
provide opportunities and encourage students to participate in a variety of activities and
prepare individuals for the high school level. Skill development, teamwork and love for sport are the fundamental objectives. At the Middle School level, we believe that participation in an athletic event is more important than the outcome of the contest, therefore, every effort will be made to play all eligible athletes in every event as long as
The athlete has earned the right to participate in contests. Playing time will not be equal and will be left to the discretion of the coach.

Freshman Philosophy:
Freshman athletic programs strive to provide a positive learning
experience for all players while building a successful team concept and fundamental skills. Athletes at this level will learn in both practice and in games the value of hard
work, improved skill development, sacrifice, and teamwork as they prepare for the challenges at the JV and Varsity levels. While winning is always a goal, improvement is the focus at the freshman level. Playing time will not be equal and while it is our desire
that every athlete participates in a contest, there may be some circumstances where an athlete will not be in the contest.

Junior Varsity Philosophy:
Junior Varsity athletic programs are structures to prepare players for future participation in Varsity level sports. While continuing to build individual skills and team loyalty, players are also prepared to be competitive with opposing teams. Participation in contests is determined by the player’s ability to contribute to the success of the team.

Varsity Philosophy:
The educational value of interscholastic competition is measured in
many ways. One of which is winning. Varsity athletic programs aim to be as competitive as possible while developing capable and mature athletes. Every player has a defined role and is a contributor to the success of the team. Participation in contests, however, is determined by the player’s ability to assist the team in winning contests.


1. Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA):

All Freeland athletes, coaches and the Freeland Athletic Department will abide by all rules and regulations of the MHSAA including, but not limited to, those dealing with eligibility, number of contests allowed per season, use of registered officials and off-season activities.

2. Tri-Valley Conference:

Freeland is a member of the Tri-Valley Conference. There are currently twenty three schools, divided into three divisions within the conference. They are as follows:
Central Division        East Division               West Division
Freeland                   Birch Run                    Alma
Carrollton                  Bridgeport                   Ithaca
Bullock Creek           Caro                            Hemlock
Chesaning                Essexville Garber        Pinconning
Frankenmuth            MLS                            Ovid Elsie
Standish Sterling      Millington                    St. Charles
Shepherd                  North Branch              St. Louis
Swan Valley              Lakeville                     Valley Lutheran

3. Sport Offerings:

The following activities are currently offered at Freeland:

Fall                                Winter                           Spring
Football                        *Boy’s Basketball          Baseball
*Volleyball                    *Girl’s Basketball           Softball
Boy’s Soccer                *Wrestling                     *Boy’s Track
Girl’s Golf                      Boy’s Bowling              *Girl’s Track
*Boy’s Cross Country   Girl’s Bowling                Girl’s Soccer
*Girls Cross Country    **#Ice Hockey Boy’s Golf
Sideline Cheer *           Competitive Cheer
*Pom Pons                   *Pom Pons

* Sport is also offered at the Middle School level
** Self Funded sport at the High School level
# Cooperative Programs


Too little, too late…Many junior and senior athletes in line to receive athletic scholarships are discovering that they will be academically ineligible to participate in Division I and II colleges and universities because they have failed to meet the academic standards set by the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse. If you see any possibility that your son or daughter might want to participate in college athletics, please check with his or her counselor for current NCAA Clearinghouse information or visit their website at:

It is the athlete’s and the parent(s) responsibility to meet NCAA requirements


1. Enrollment
You must have been enrolled in a high school or junior high/middle school no later than the fourth Friday after Labor Day (1st semester) or the fourth Friday of February (2nd semester).

2. Age
High school students become ineligible if they reach their nineteenth birthday before September 1 of the current school year. A disability waiver may be applied if disability meets the new MHSAA guidelines. The age for a seventh grader is fourteen and for an eighth grader it is fifteen.

3. Semesters of Enrollment
You must not have been enrolled in grades nine to twelve inclusive, for more than eight semesters. The seventh and eighth semesters must be consecutive. Enrollment in a school beyond the fourth Friday after Labor Day (first semester), or fourth Friday of February (second semester), or competing in one or more interscholastic athletic contests, shall be considered as enrollment for a semester under this rule. No limit for seventh or eighth graders.

4. Semesters of Competition
You must not have competed for more than four first and four second semester seasons in a sport in a four-year high school.

5. Transfers
A student who transfers from one high school to another is ineligible to participate in an interscholastic athletic contest for one full semester for the school to which the student transfers, unless the student qualifies under one or more of the MHSAA exceptions. All transfers should contact the Athletic Director immediately for a ruling.

6. Previous Semester Record – High School
A student must have successfully completed 66% of their class load for a full time student during the last semester that he/she was enrolled in grades 9-12. If a student has not met this requirement, they will be ineligible for the first 60 (sixty) scheduled school days of the following semester.

7. Previous Semester Record – Middle School
A student must have received credit in at least fifty percent (50%) of work carried during the previous semester to compete in his/her next semester of competition.

8. Physical Examinations
Students must have on file, in the school’s office, a physician’s statement for the current school year (after April 15), certifying that he/she is physically able to compete in athletic practices and/or contests.

9. Team Membership
A student who, after participating in an athletic contest as a member of a school athletic team, participates in any athletic competition not sponsored by his or her school in the same sport, during the same season, shall become ineligible for a minimum of the next three (3) contests and a maximum of the remainder of that season in that school year. The following exceptions to this competition regulation may apply: During a season an individual may participate in a maximum of two (2) individual sports meets or contests during the sport season of a school year while not representing his or her own school. Please discuss your situation with the athletic director before competing on your own.



1. Cumulative Grade
Each student must be earning a “D+” or better in all classes he/she is enrolled in to be eligible for participation. Eligibility will be checked each week and is based on the students’ cumulative marking period grade. Athletes receiving a “D” or lower in any class will be placed on probation for the following week. The student and parent should be contacted by the teacher involved. Coaches will make contact with the athletic department in regards to weekly eligibility. If the athlete does not have a “D+” or better in all classes on the next check of eligibility, he/she will be ineligible to participate in competition for the following week. An athlete, who is ineligible due to a “D” or worse in the same class for three consecutive weeks, may be removed from the team. The athlete is allowed one probationary week per season, (Fall, Winter and Spring)
If an athlete receives a failing grade for the semester, he/she will be ineligible for
the first two weeks of the new semester. Semester grades will be used for eligibility the last week of the semester. No probation will be granted to the athlete for a semester grade. Eligibility checks for the marking period/semester will begin during the third week of the new marking period/semester. An ineligible athlete is required to attend all practices. He/she will not be allowed to dress for the contest. .

2. Student Behavior
A student may be rated unsatisfactory in student behavior by two or more teachers. Student behavior will be checked each week with the grade eligibility.
If a student is rated unsatisfactory by two teachers, he/she will be ineligible to participate in athletics for that eligibility period.
Students who participate in a sport must remain eligible to play. Eligibility is determined weekly. Teachers determine eligibility on the basis of grades and behavior. An ineligible student misses one week of contests. Students must earn a passing grade in all classes to be eligible. Students must also demonstrate good behavior and citizenship. A report of poor behavior in two or more classes will make a student ineligible.

Changes in eligibility marks will be made only at the discretion of the teacher.
Situations where errors in computation are found or extenuating circumstances exist can be reviewed by the teacher. The athletic director shall be notified of those updates or changes prior to the end of the school day on Monday of the following week.
Eligibility week is from Sunday to Saturday.

FREELAND’S ATHLETIC CODE OF CONDUCT Athletes contribute to their school in a special way. They can either be a credit to athletics and to the school they represent or they can be a discredit. Proper conduct on the part of athletes is therefore of the utmost importance. This code of conduct has been formulated as a standard to be met by all athletes. Athletes are very visible within the school and community. They are in a unique position to serve as positive examples to other students. Therefore, every athlete must conduct herself/himself in such a manner as to be a credit to her/his parents, the school, the community and to themselves. This standard should be upheld both on and off the field both during the school year and at times when school is not in session.


Possession, use or abuse of tobacco, alcohol or controlled substances:

Any athlete at Freeland High School who is determined to have been using or in possession of any tobacco, alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or performance enhancing drugs, through admission, compelling visual or documented evidence as determined by the Athletic Director and/or Principal, or information from Law Enforcement Agencies, will be disciplined under the following guidelines.
1st Violation: Suspension from a minimum of 10% of the scheduled athletic contests from the date of violation. The athlete should continue to practice.
2nd Violation: Suspension from a minimum of 50% of the scheduled athletic contests from the date of violation. The athlete should continue to practice.
3rd Violation: Suspension from athletics for one calendar year from the date of violation.
4th Violation: Permanent suspension from athletics.
In order for action to be taken, all incidents must be substantiated by one (1) of the following: student admission, compelling visual or documented evidence as determined by the Athletic Director and/or Principal, or information from Law Enforcement Agencies.

Violation of a Criminal Nature:

When an athlete is involved in a case of a criminal nature such as theft, vandalism, assault, etc., regardless of whether it was committed at school or off school property, the athlete shall be investigated by the Athletic Director and/or Principal to determine if disciplinary action should be taken.

If the need for disciplinary action is determined, the athlete shall be suspended while a committee comprised of the principal, athletic director, coach of the sport involved, and a district coach will be established to evaluate the situation.

This will include:
1. Reviewing the conduct of the athlete and the facts and circumstances of the incident
2. The athlete involved may request an informal meeting so that he/she may present his/her version.
3. School officials accepting, when possible, the recommendations of court officials in handling criminal law violations by students.

Upon completion of the investigation, the Athletic Director and/or Principal will determine what disciplinary action shall be taken.


Hazing is strictly prohibited. Because hazing is unsafe, and can discourage participation
as well as negatively affect a student’s enjoyment in athletic participation and school, all
forms of hazing are prohibited. Hazing includes, but is not limited to:

Any gesture or written, verbal or physical act that a reasonable person under the
circumstances should know would have the effect of harming a student or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person, or damage to his or her property; any type of physical force, harm or injury inflicted by athletes on their team members such as: whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking or placing an unwanted substance on the student’s body; any type of coerced or involuntary sexual or physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to weather, confinement in a restricted area, calisthenics, or other coerced or unwelcome confinement, restriction or other forced activity by athletes on their fellow team members; any coerced or involuntary activity by athletes on there team members that subjects the athletes to an unreasonable risk of harm or adversely affects their mental or physical health, safety, or welfare; any coerced or involuntary activity inflicted, encouraged or mandated by athletes on their team members, such as the consumption of alcoholic beverages, illegal, unauthorized, or foreign substances of any type whatsoever, tobacco or tobacco products, over the counter medicine or prescription drugs, or any other unreasonable risk of harm or activity that adversely affects an athlete’s mental or physical health, safety, welfare or interest in the sport.

For the purpose of this rule, a team member’s voluntary participation in hazing is not necessarily a defense to a claimed violation of this rule. Athletes, who organize or
initiate hazing activities but do not directly participate in them, are equally subject to possible discipline as students who directly participate in acts of hazing. Student athletes are required to report suspected incidents of hazing and may be disciplined for failure to do so. Student athletes may not participate or initiate hazing activities against any athlete regardless of team affiliations (i.e. varsity athletes may not “haze” junior varsity athletes).

For lesser incidents, penalties shall be the same as for possession, use or abuse of tobacco, alcohol or controlled substances. Should the Athletic Director and/or Principal determine the incident serious enough that further disciplinary actions need to be taken, they have the ability to select the appropriate consequence from the disciplinary progression.

Code of Conduct Notes:

• If necessary, suspension will carry over into another sport during the same school year, or will carry over into another school year, in order to meet or exceed the necessary discipline percentage. This will depend entirely upon the date of the violation and the number of contests involved in the suspension. Suspension will be for fewest number of full contests, in a completed athletic season, that meets or exceeds the necessary discipline percentage.
• Penalties shall be cumulative, beginning with the student’s participation in interscholastic athletics in the 7th grade.
• Violations occurring over the summer, or at a time when the student is not involved in a sport, will carry over to the next sport in which the athlete participates

No handbook can list every offense that may be detrimental to students or the learning environment. Therefore, other offenses not listed but deemed inappropriate to the school environment are subject to discipline at the discretion of the School Administration.

Disciplinary Appeal Process:
Parents or guardians may request a conference with the Principal. Such request shall be within the period of the suspension. The Principal will judge whether the disciplinary action is reasonable, and will affirm or modify the determined disciplinary action. The Principal’s decision will be final.


Registration Fees
A yearly athletic registration fee will be assessed by the District to participate in our athletic programs. This fee is a one time fee and includes participation in more than one sport for the current school year. This fee, along with the Athletic Registration Form/Concussion Pledge Form, signed by the athlete and his/her parent/guardian, must be collected before the athlete participates in competition.
An athlete is financially responsible for all equipment checked out to him/her. Equipment must be treated as though it were their own. It must not be abused, and should only be worn during practices or games. All equipment must be returned to the coach at the end of the sport season. Athletes are required to pay for any lost items and may be restricted from participating in any other extra-curricular activity or practice session until this obligation has been met. Transportation
An athlete traveling to and from an away athletic contest as a member of a school team on a school approved mode of transportation shall return to the school or some predetermined drop off point after the contest is over. The only exception would be a prior arrangement made between the parent and the coach in which the parents arrange transportation for the athlete to or from the athletic contest. Athletes are also expected to represent themselves and the team in a positive manner while being transported to and from their sporting events.

Weekend transportation to all regularly scheduled athletic contests is not provided by the school district. State tournament transportation will continue to be provided. Special exceptions for weekend transportation may be approved by the athletic director.

Athletes represent the school while traveling as a team. It is expected that the athlete’s conduct will be that of a good citizen at all times. Dress requirements may be established by each individual coach, and each athlete should dress in accordance with those requirements.
A student athlete, while in high school must be in attendance at school all day in order to participate in that days practice or contest. All day means the athlete must attend all of their scheduled classes.

Exceptions may be granted by the principal, athletic director or designee. The athletic office must have prior notice in order for the athlete to be excused from the all day attendance requirement for practice and competition. The principal and/or the athletic director will make the decision for absences due to “unexpected situations”.

An athlete who is on suspension from regular school attendance may NOT practice or take part in interscholastic competition on the day(s) in which the suspension is in effect.
Multi-Sport Athletes
Athletes may not participate in more than one sport at any given time, unless prior
arrangements have been made with the athletic director and the coaches that are involved. Athletes must notify, in writing, the athletic department as to which sport is primary. The athlete, parent(s) and each coach should sign and agree to the athlete’s decision. Any athlete may, before the first contest of the season of a particular sport, elect to withdraw from a team in preference for another sport. However, once an athlete has participated in a game or meet as a member of a team, the athlete will not be permitted to change to another school-sponsored sport during that season without mutual consent of both coaches.
By its nature, participation in interscholastic athletics includes risk of injury, which may range in severity. Although serious injuries are not common in supervised school athletic
programs, it is impossible to eliminate the risk. Participants have the responsibility to help reduce the chance of injury. Players must obey all safety rules, report all physical problems to their coaches follow a proper conditioning program and inspect their own equipment daily. For insurance purposes, athletes are covered under their own home policies. If an athlete is not covered under an insurance policy, they should purchase the insurance that is available through the school. Information is available through the
Freeland Athletic Department.


Both parenting and coaching are extremely difficult vocations. By establishing an understanding of each position, we are better able to accept the actions of the other and provide greater benefit to children. As parents, when your children become involved in our program, you have a right to understand what expectations are placed on your child. This begins with clear communication from the coach of your child’s program.

Communication you should expect from your child’s coach:
1. Philosophy of the coach
2. Locations and times of all practices and contests
3. Team requirements; i.e. practices, special equipment, out of season conditioning
4. Procedure followed should your child be injured during participation
5. Discipline that may result in the denial of your child’s participation

Communication coaches expect from parents:
1. Concerns expressed directly to the coach
2. Notification of a schedule conflicts well in advance
3. Specific concerns with regard to a coach’s philosophy and/or expectations
As your child becomes involved in the athletic program at Freeland, they will experience some of the most rewarding moments of their lives. It is important that they understand that there also may be times when things do not go the way you or they wish. At these times, discussion with the coach is encouraged.
1. The treatment of your child, mentally and physically
2. Ways to help your child improve
3. Concerns about your child’s attitude
4. Academic support and college opportunities

It is difficult to accept your child is not playing as much or where you hope. Coaches are professionals. They make judgments based upon what they believe to be best for all student/athletes involved. As you have seen from the list above, certain things can and should be discussed with your child’s coach. Other things should be left to the discretion of the coach.
1. Team strategy
2. Other students/athletes

There are situations that may require a conference between the coach and the parent. These are encouraged. It is important that both parties involved have a clear understanding of the other’s position. When these conferences are necessary, the following procedures should be followed to help promote resolution:
1. Call the coach to set up an appointment
2. If the coach cannot be reached, call the athletic director. A meeting will be set up for you.
3. If the problem is not resolved, then an appointment will be set up that will include the parent(s), coach and athletic director. In some cases, the student athlete may also be invited to the meeting.
4. If a resolution is not agreed upon after this meeting, the building principal should be contacted.
5. If no resolution is agreed upon at this point, an appointment can be set up with the superintendent.
6. “THE 24 HOUR RULE” Please do not attempt to approach or confront a coach before or after a contest or practice, in which you are unsatisfied. These are emotional times for both the parent and the coach. Meetings of this nature do not promote resolution. If an appointment is needed, please see the above procedure.

Since research indicates a student involved in co-curricular activities has a greater chance for success during adulthood, these programs have been established. Many of the character traits required to be a successful are exactly those that will promote a successful life after high school. We hope the information provided in our handbook will make both your child’s and your experience with the Freeland athletic program less stressful and more enjoyable.


1. Interscholastic athletics were begun outside the school day and curriculum and remain there as voluntary, extracurricular programs in which qualifying students earn the privilege of participation.

2. Interscholastic athletics are not courses offered by schools but are tools used by schools to reach and motivate students and to rally support within the community for schools academic and activity programs.

3. In order to justify school sponsorship, interscholastic athletics must be compatible with the academic mission of schools, giving priority deference to the academic schedule and requiring proper decorum at athletic events.

4. Interscholastic athletics are secondary to the academic program of schools and are partners with schools’ non-athletic activities in providing students opportunities to develop loyalty and school spirit, to practice teamwork, hard work, discipline, sacrifice, leadership and sportsmanship and to gain lifetime appreciation for the arts, sports and healthy lifestyle.

5. There is equal potential to achieve these objectives in every sport and on the sub varsity as well as varsity level.

6. Proper philosophy of interscholastic athletics emphasizes participation by many, not for few, and academic scholarship in school, not athletic scholarships to college.

7. To promote competitive equity and a program that is educational in both its means and its ends, the policies and procedures of interscholastic athletics must be determined by school representatives, not by courts, legislators or commercial interests.

8. Schools, through their elected boards of education and their appointed administrators, are solely responsible, legally and practically, for governing and conducting interscholastic athletics at the local and league levels.

9. Any statewide organization which schools join to assist their administration of interscholastic athletics must be independent of outside interests and guided exclusively by the direct input of its member schools.

10. Interstate competition in interscholastic athletics is unnecessary in most situations; regional and national events are harmful to the purposes of interscholastic athletics in Michigan.

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