Student Eligibility

A student shall be eligible to participate in any interscholastic secondary school athletic contest:

  1. Who meets the eligibility rules established by the local school authorities.
  2. Who is regularly enrolled in the school which he/she represents.
    1. To be considered regularly enrolled, a student must be in attendance and academically active in the school which he/she represents. An academically active student must be pursuing a program of studies approved by the principal and superintendent of schools. Exception: At the end of the first semester, a student, who has met all school requirements for graduation and will not receive/accept a diploma until the school's May/June graduation date, may complete the winter sports season even though he/she is no longer a regularly enrolled student. All other MPA and local policies will be adhered to. (Revised 11/16/06)
    2. Students in grade 9 in separately organized junior high schools are eligible to participate in the varsity athletics program of the senior high school in their school administrative unit. This rule does not prevent schools from limiting student participation in varsity athletics to the programs of the schools in which the students are enrolled.
    3. In order to make possible the formation of all interscholastic athletic teams in smaller secondary schools, a student may be drafted from grade eight (8) of the same school system provided that such student is in satisfactory physical condition and provided that the secondary school using the student does not have an enrollment of greater than forty (40) girls or forty (40) boys. It is further understood that this extra year of athletic competition does not penalize such students under the eight semester rule. This applies to the following team sports only: Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Field Hockey, Football, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, and Volleyball.
    4. Homeschooled students will be exempt from the enrollment rule (Article II, Section 2, Paragraph B) if their equivalent instruction program has been approved as outlined in Maine Law. Homeschooled students must meet all other eligibility rules in Article II, Section 2, of the MPA Bylaws.
    5. A student fully enrolled in a MDOE recognized instruction program in a private school or in an MDOE approved instruction program in a private school with 60 or fewer students combined in grades 9-12 (but only if the approved private school does not offer the same activity) is eligible to participate in co-curricular, interscholastic, and extracurricular activities at the local public high school to which the student would otherwise attend based on the student's and parent/guardian's legal residency.  The principalof the public high school may withhold approval of participation under certain circumstances such as lack of capacity.  The student must agree to meet established behavioral, disciplinary, and other rules applicable to regularyly enrolled students.
    6. Out-of-district placement students shall be exempt from the regular enrollment provisions of Article II, Section 2 (B)(1) and may participate in the interscholastic program of the school in which they are placed if the following provisions are met: (1) the school accepting the out-of-district placement student requests a waiver from the Committee on Eligibility; (2) the waiver request is accompanied by a written consent from the principal of the sending school that a waiver should be granted; and (3) the Committee on Eligibility determines that it is in the best interests of the student to participate in the interscholastic program of the receiving school. For purposes of this paragraph, "out-of-district placement students" shall be defined as students placed by the PET process in a private special purpose school, as defined by the Maine Department of Education regulations.
  3. Who competes using his/her own name, substantiated by a birth certificate. Otherwise, a student is ineligible for nine weeks from the time it is discovered a false name was used.
  4. Who has refrained from participating on an outside team to which objection is made by local school authorities. A violator shall be ineligible for nine weeks after the date of discovery of participation.
  5. A member of a school team is a student athlete who is regularly present for and actively participates in team practices and competitions.  Bona fide membes of a school team are prevented from missing high school practice or competition to compete or practice elsewhere. *A single waiver per student athlete per sport season may be granted by the principal on a case-by-case basis for extraordinary circumstances. (e.g. If a student/athlete were invited to participate in a prestigious weekend event then a waiver may be granted.  If a student/athlete were invited to paticipate in a nationally recognized tournament over a school vacation then that waiver may be granted for that activity.  If a student requests to miss practice every Friday because he/she is receiving specialized coaching from an outside team/coach, then a waiver should not be granted because it violates the spirit and intent of the rule.)
    **This policy is not intended to restrict dual sport participation in schools that allow dual participation.
    ***Penalty for violation of this policy:
        1st Violation     Suspension from play for one game/contest
        2nd Violation    Removal from team for remainder of season
  6. Who is under twenty years of age at the time of participation.
  7. Who has maintained undergraduate status in a four-year course in a Maine secondary school or its equivalent as outlined in the MPA Constitution, Article II, Section 2.
  8. Who has yet to fulfill eight full semesters at an approved secondary school or its equivalent.  
    1. A student is only eligible to compete for the first eight consecutive semesters after he or she first enrolls as a freshman in a four-year senior high school, or in the ninth grade in a junior high school.
    2. Upon application by a student's principal, the Committee on Eligibility of the Maine Principals' Association may grant no more than eighteen consecutive weeks of additional eligibility upon a satisfactory showing that:
      1. A student has failed one or more semesters because of absence due to illness.
      2. A student has been absent one or more semesters because of required military service.
      3. A student withdrew from school in order to assume full financial responsibility for the support of the family because of illness or incapacity of a parent.
        Special circumstances warrant an exception. Such cases will be reviewed on an individual basis.
        EXPLANATION: The eight semester rule refers to eight consecutive semesters in time; it does not necessarily refer to eight semesters of attendance or competition. For example, a student who registers as a freshman in September 2018, is eligible to compete in interscholastic athletics insofar as this rule is concerned until the close of the school year 2022. The pupil is not eligible to compete after that date unless the student is granted added eligibility by the Committee on Eligibility.
        If a student who enrolls as a freshman in September 2017 is forced to be absent from school to work to support his/her family during the school year of 2018-2019 and returns in September 2019 as a sophomore, he/she would then be a senior in September 2021 and would be ineligible, since the date of the termination of his/her eligibility is set the day he/she enrolls as a freshman. This date is eight semesters from his/her enrollment as a freshman.
    3. If a student is granted an additional semester of eligibility, such eligibility may be given for any eighteen consecutive weeks, not necessarily concurrent with a semester, during the student's fifth year of attendance at the specific request of the school.
    4. No student who has been enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11, 12 inclusive, in any approved school, shall participate in the same athletic activity for more than four seasons except that this does not apply to the eligibility rule affecting small schools who are permitted to use eighth grade students when there are not more than forty boys or girls in grades 9-12.
    5. It is the responsibility of each school's administration to verify the eligibility of each student at the beginning of each semester or equivalent
  9. Who has completed and passed work in the equivalent of four (4) full-time subjects with credit toward graduation in the most recently completed quarter or equivalent.
    1. Failure to earn passing grades in four full-time subjects (or the equivalent) shall render a student ineligible for a period of time determined by the local school.
    2. The record at the end of the marking period shall be final and scholastic deficiencies may not be removed for the purpose of meeting minimum eligibility requirements except:
      1. For those grades/credits earned in a regular accredited summer school program accepted by the school district;
      2. Incomplete grades which may be made up for credit during the first five (5) weeks of the subsequent quarter.
    3. It is understood that homeschooled students will have completed and passed the equivalent of four (4) full-time courses or approved learning experiences which meet the requirements of the approved home school program of instruction in the most recently completed quarter.
    4. It is understood that a special education student will not be denied participation in interscholastic activities solely because the student is enrolled in a reduced course load when the reduced course load is due to the student's exceptionality, provided that the student is satisfactorily completing the requirements of the educational component of an individual education plan and is otherwise in compliance with the plan. It is further understood that the special education student not satisfactorily completing the educational components of an individualized plan or is not otherwise in compliance with the plan shall have his/her eligibility status determined in the same manner as the eligibility of a non-special education student who is not satisfying the applicable academic standards.
  10. A student who is otherwise eligible, but who was not enrolled in a given secondary school during the preceding semester, shall be considered eligible provided the pupil:
    1. Carried successfully during the preceding semester of attendance at another approved secondary school or its equivalent, the minimum scholastic requirement for eligibility of the receiving school.
    2. Completed successfully the work of an elementary or junior high school during the preceding semester.
  11. A student who fails to qualify, comply, or conform with the eligibility provisions, or who violates these eligibility provisions shall be ineligible to compete in any interscholastic secondary school athletic contest.
  12. A student transferring to a member school may be added to a varsity eligibility roster if the student is enrolled and in full attendance no later than the opening date that countable games may be played, assuming the student meets all other local and MPA eligibility rules. Students not meeting the deadline can not be added to the varsity eligibility roster during the remainder of that sport season.
    Example: If the opening date for countable games is Saturday, September 1, 2018, transfer students must be enrolled and in full attendance no later than Friday, August 31, 2018.
  13. A student is eligible to compeete on a single sex team only if he or she is a member of that sex, either as reflected on his or her birth certificate or, in the case of a transgender student, as approved in accordance with Article II, Section 12, except that a female to male (FTM) transgender student who has been or is being trated with testosterone related to gender transition may compete only as a male.  A single sex team is one on which only members of one gender are allowed to compete, either because the school sponsors both boys' and girls' teams in the particular sport or because the sport has been limited to participation by one gender in order to provide overall equal athletic opportunity (e.g., girls' field hockey).  Single sex teams do not include teams open to both boys and girls but where no girls have tried out or made the team (e.g., football).

Adopted by the Interscholastic Management Committee: April 27, 2005

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