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Athletic Handbook

Conduct

Each athlete should understand that participation in Meridian athletics is a privilege that should be held with high regard. The conduct of each athlete on and off the field is a direct reflection of his or her self, school, family, and community. Therefore, an athlete's conduct should reflect the highest values and standards of his or her school and family. It must be understood that the privilege of participation may be taken away in part or as a whole should an athlete's conduct not be satisfactory. The rules and regulations governing an athlete's conduct are listed in the athletic code. Should an athlete be found to be in violation of this athletic code, corresponding discipline will be applied.


Pay to Play Requirements

Once tryouts have concluded, school sport participants must meet district pay-to-lay requirements. All pay-to-play payments can be made online through E-Funds or in person in the MHS office.

The high school pay-to-play fee is $50 per season. Students who play more than one sport in a single season (ex: baseball and track) only need to pay one season fee.

Financial support for families experiencing economic hardship is available in limited supply from the Mustang Athletic Boosters. For more information, please contact our Athletic Director at (989) 687-3300 ext. 3310.


Concussion Information

Concussions are a serious problem for athletes. Meridian Public Schools requires all athletes, their families, and coaches to learn about concussion and sign an acknowledgement form indicating they understand and will comply with our concussion policies and protocols.

The concussion acknowledgement form can be downloaded on our athletic forms page. For more information about concussions, we recommend checking out this page from the Centers for Disease Control.


Athletic Eligibility

Academics
Students must have received credit in 66% of their classes in the previous semester in which they were in enrolled. Students must also be passing 80% of their credits each week during the semester (starting at week four). The Athletic Director will notify ineligible athletes on Monday of the week that they are ineligible. Since grades are based cumulatively by semester, it is possible for a student to move back and forth between being eligible and ineligible from week to week. Once students are notified, they are ineligible for that entire week (Monday through Sunday). The student athlete may still be required to attend practice and accompany the team to contests.

Age and Residency
There are many guidelines governing "Age and Residency" in the "MHSAA Rules of Eligibility". Meridian Public Schools is a member of the MHSAA and will follow its rules regarding age and residency where applicable to student-athletes. Any questions regarding this area should be directed to the Athletic Director for explanation.

Transfers Following Violations of a School's Student/Athlete Code
Meridian High School will enforce upon a transfer student any period of ineligibility to which that student would have been subject as a result of a student or athletic code violation(s) at that student's most recent previously attended school. A student who transfers to Meridian High School after becoming ineligible because of a student or athletic conduct code violation(s) at the previously attended school shall remain ineligible at Meridian High School for not less than the period of ineligibility imposed by the previous school.

Attendance
Students must be in school and attend their scheduled classes for the entire day to be eligible to attend practice or games on that day. Pre-arranged absences such as funerals, doctor and dentist appointments, etc., will allow participation, if it is arranged with the proper building administrator prior to the absence, and with proof of attendance at the appointment. If multiple absences occur a physician's letter may be required.


Athletic Training Rules

Rules must be adhered to by all athletes, at all times, regardless of location. Training rules are in effect for all athletes for the entire calendar year. The athletic year constitutes a full year (365 days) when an individual chooses to participate in the athletic program. All reported training violations will be investigated by school administrators and the affected sport coach. Penalties will be implemented from the date that school administrators are notified, not the date the incident occurred. In addition, the athlete will be given the opportunity to respond to the charges by giving his or her side of the story.

All student athletes are required to maintain a drug-free status in order to assure their continued and uninterrupted participation in their chosen sport and to assure health, safety and welfare.

Possession and/or Use of Tobacco Products, Alcohol or Controlled Substances

  1. Violations
    1. Meridian High School student athletes shall not use, possess or be under the influence of any product containing tobacco, any product containing alcohol, or any "illegal substance", including, but not limited to inhalants, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, steroids, look-alike drugs or any substance commonly referred to as "designer drugs". This also includes performance-enhancing drugs/supplements. Student athletes may not engage in the unauthorized use or sharing of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
    2. Breaking of State and Federal laws, such as stealing, vandalism, immoral conduct, indecent conduct, and other such conduct that is determined to be unbecoming of an athlete are violations of the student Code of Conduct.
    3. Evidence from any Meridian Public Schools employee, student or law enforcement unit shall be considered in any investigation under these rules.
    4. A building administrator shall have the authority to determine, after his/her investigation, if a violation of the above rules has occurred and shall notify the student athlete and parent/guardian of the violation and penalty. Upon notification of an offense the student will be suspended from the team (games and practices) effective immediately, until an investigation is completed.
    5. Note: If a suspension from school is greater than would have been imposed under the athletic training rules, the suspension of school outweighs the penalty that would have normally been imposed under this policy and the student cannot participate in athletics during the period of suspension from school.

Confirmation of Violations
Once confirmation of a violation of a student athlete's drug free status has been obtained under the terms of this program, a student will be subject to, but not limited by, the following disciplinary consequences and process. These actions are uniform throughout the athletic department for all teams and individuals of those teams.

  1. Penalties: There are four goals for penalties related to violations:
    1. To put the ownership of these violations with the student athlete.
    2. To offer a process for change.
    3. To attempt to draw in the parents to participate in the process.
    4. To give the student athlete every possible opportunity to rectify such behaviors.

First Offense
Student athlete shall receive 25% suspension of season from play; this can be reduced to two weeks if the student athlete takes part in an education/counseling program addressing the issues, which have resulted in said consequences. Student and parent are responsible for finding and paying for the program. During this time the student athlete must practice but may not suit or compete.

  • EDUCATION: an informative intervention seminar concerning the implications of use and the effect on physiological, psychological and social development, as well as discussion of harm reduction issues and personal and collective responsibility.
  • CORRECTIVE: come to an understanding that corrective measures are necessary in order to resume the athletic career and compete again, including a document of agreed to changes signed by the student athlete.
  • RESTORATIVE: the student athlete must address the teammates and coaches and admit to violation, show remorse and recommit to provisions of The Code of Conduct by re-signing it in front of teammates and coaches.

Second Offense
The student athlete shall either (1) receive a one year (12 calendar months) suspension from practice and games or (2) attend a counseling program AND sit out the current and/or next sports season In which athlete has previously participated. It Is the responsibility of student/parent to find and pay for program.

Third Offense
The third offense triggers full expulsion from the Athletic Program for the remainder of the student's high school career.

Appeal Process
Student athletes have the right to appeal a decision made regarding dismissals/suspensions to the Athletic Review Panel. A student athlete shall remain under suspension until the Review Panel can meet. The Review Panel will meet within three (3) school days after the request for appeal. A decision by the Review Panel will be made In a reasonable amount of time (approximately 24 hours). The

Athletic Review Panel shall be made up of: (1) A building administrator (2) Director of Athletics (3) Two coaches from other teams.


Responsibilities of Athletes
  1. Equipment: Athletes may not exchange equipment during the season without the permission of the coach. All changes must be noted; as athletes are responsible for the equipment they are given. Athletes will be required to pay for equipment they are given that Is not returned. All uniforms and equipment owned by the school are to be returned to the coach within two days of the last game of the season. When a student drops a sport prior to the end of the season, all uniforms and equipment are to be returned immediately. No student will be allowed to participate In a sport If he/she has not returned or financially accounted for all uniforms and/or equipment in a prior sport. Uniforms not turned In will be added to student's fines and fees, which must be paid prior to graduation.
  2. Injuries: All injuries shall be reported to coaches and to the Athletic Director. All athletes should have an emergency treatment waiver on file with the coach so treatment can be given In case of an emergency if a parent is not present. An injury Is not an excuse to miss practice.
  3. Weight Room Rules of Conduct/Safety: Weight workouts must be conducted with a coach or supervisor present. Athletes are not to be In the weight room unsupervised. Shirt/shoes must be worn at all times, hats are not allowed. Athletes must be on an approved program. Athletes should follow their workout. We want this be to a fun and productive time; however this is not a place of social gathering. Other people also need to use the facility. Loitering Is not allowed In weight room area. Music should be played at a moderate volume-lf allowed, and be school appropriate. Use weight belts for safety-especially with lifts involving the lower back. All weights must be put back on weight stacks after workouts.
  4. Locker Room Usage: All athletes will dress In the locker room and all lockers must be locked. The school is not responsible for lost or stolen Items. Cellular phones may not be used in locker rooms under Board Policy.
  5. Internet: Players should refrain from posting on the Internet any Information that Is not directly related to team schedule or Items as would be In a newsletter.
  6. Physicals: All students participating in athletics must have a current physical card on file In the Athletic Director's office.

Athletic Awards

A varsity letter may be awarded at the discretion of the coach. ln addition to the block "M" letter, the following awards are available:

  • Insert pin - for varsity sports only
  • Numerals - given to athletes participating at the Junior Varsity/Freshman level Certificate - A certificate is awarded after an athlete has earned a varsity letter. From then on, he/she will receive a certificate regardless of the number of times that he/she qualifies for a letter.
  • Special awards - trophies that will remain in the school trophy cases each season designating the following are: Baseball - MVP, MIP; Basketball - MVP (boys, girls) MIP (boys, girls); Cross Country -MVP (boys, girls) MIP (boys, girls); Football - MVP, MIP; Softball - MVP, MIP; Track - MVP (boys, girls) MIP (boys, girls), James Sinclair Memorial/Moore Trophy; Volleyball - MVP, MIP; Wrestling - MVP, MIP; Golf - MVP, MIP; Competitive Cheer - MVP, MIP; Mustang Award - Best Senior Athlete (boy and girl).

Mustang Award
The most valuable awards are to be voted on by the team members and their coaches. The principal, athletic director and head coaches using the following criteria decide the Mustang Award:

  • Must be a senior graduating with their class.
  • High school sports career must be taken into account.
  • Lettered in 2 or more sports.
  • Only varsity coaches, athletic director and principal vote.
  • Coaches of male teams vote for male athletes. Coaches of female teams vote for female athletes.
  • Coaches of both male and female teams vote for both.
  • The principal and athletic director vote for both.

Sportsmanship

It is the goal of Meridian Public Schools to promote and foster good sportsmanship among its student athletes and fans. In conjunction with the MHSAA, the district's goal is to allow the fans to enjoy the athletic contests and support our student athletes by cheering positively for their efforts rather than demeaning their opponents. The following behavior constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct:

  • Taunting - To mock the opponent in any way (i.e. singing na na na good bye after a victory). Vulgarity/obscene language or gestures Disrupting/interrupting the contest in any way (i.e. throwing objects on the playing surface).
  • Distasteful/uncouth behavior to others (i.e. chanting nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts, we got screwed).

If a student's behavior falls into one of these categories, the student will be suspended from attending any athletic event sponsored by the school for two weeks. After this time, the offender will be allowed to attend on a probationary basis. If the student is again guilty of unsportsmanlike behavior, he/she will be suspended from attending contests for the remainder of the sport season.


Questions or concerns about the Meridian Athletic Policy should be directed to the Athletic Director at (989) 687-3300 ext. 3310.