As Charlotte high school sports teams forfeit games, what are NC’s participation rules?

·3 min read

Julius L. Chambers High is the third Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools football team to forfeit all of the games it played during the 2021 football season.

Chambers athletic director Montis Lash told The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday night that Chambers had reported to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) that the school had been made aware that a football player on the 2021 team was ineligible.

The NCHSAA ruled that Chambers will forfeit all of its 2021 football games, pay a $250 fine and return any monies earned during its home playoff games.

The news came less than two months after West Charlotte and Myers Park forfeited their 2021 seasons. Both schools self-reported violations around residency to the NCHSAA and were penalized.

Other North Carolina high schools have had to forfeit all or part of their football seasons in recent years due to similar circumstances.

Holly Springs High School in Wake County had to forfeit its 2019 season and relinquish its spot in the playoffs, USA Today reported. In 2018, Page High School in Greensboro had to forfeit its first three wins of the season because academically ineligible players participated in those games, the Greensboro News & Record reported.

Here are the residency, attendance and academic requirements for student-athletes to participate in high school sports in Charlotte.

Where a student lives matters

According to the NCHSAA, students are eligible to participate in high school sports when they enter ninth grade, or when they start practice prior to the start of the academic year. Residency requirements include:

  • The student must live within the school’s boundaries as established by the district. The CMS high school boundary map can be found on the district’s website.

  • If the student does not attend a school with an established boundary, like a charter school or a school supported by a church, then they must live in the county the school is in, or within a 25-mile radius of the campus.

  • There is no boundary limitation for students that are members of a church that is affiliated with a non-boarding school and submit an authorized pastor verification form.

What are the attendance and academic requirements?

Athletes must attend classes for 85% percent of the previous semester, or 77 days out of a 90-day semester, according to the NCHSAA. At the end of each semester, those who do not meet this requirement are immediately considered ineligible.

Student-athletes must also pass the minimum load of work, defined as five courses in the traditional school schedule and three courses for schools on the “block” format, the NCHSAA says.

What about NC transfer rules?

In 2017, the NCHSAA amended its rule to allow students who transfer after starting ninth grade to play if both local education agencies agree to the change, the News & Observer reported.

Transfer students were previously ineligible to play for one full year, unless they changed their address after a move or the local education agency of the school they transferred to approved it.

High school recruiting in North Carolina is prohibited

Is it against NCHSAA rules for anyone associated with a school’s athletic program, including coaches, faculty members and parent volunteers, to recruit players. Allegations of recruiting that are substantiated will be processed as infractions under the NCHSAA penalty code.

Observer reporter Langston Wertz Jr. contributed to this story.

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