Athletics Code of Conduct

Table of Contents

QUFSD mission statement

To empower all students to be lifelong learners, inspired to pursue their dreams and contribute to the global community.

QUFSD core values

  • Everyone has inherent worth.
  • People are responsible for their choices.
  • Every person is unique and has a gift or talent.
  • Valuing diversity makes the community stronger.
  • Honesty is essential for trust and integrity.
  • Community flourishes when all individuals participate and contribute.
  • Lifelong learning is essential for a meaningful life.
  • Persistence and hard work are attributes of meaningful achievement.

Developing the Athletics Code of Conduct

The Athletics Code of Conduct was developed by the Queensbury Union Free School District director of athletics in collaboration with various stakeholders, including coaches, physical education/health teachers, the district Health Advisory Committee, the high school Shared Decision Making Committee, the Queensbury Board of Education, and district and school administrators. Any questions about this document should be directed to the Athletics Office at (518) 824-5688.

Athletics policy

The Queensbury Board of Education recognizes the value of a program of interscholastic athletics to all students in Queensbury Union Free School District as well as to the wider community. It is an integral part of the total educational experience. Therefore, the Board of Education shall provide as comprehensive an athletic program as is financially and practically possible.

As part of the total school program, athletics works in conjunction with other educational experiences to provide students the environment and opportunity to develop as better citizens. This opportunity is a privilege that carries with it responsibilities to the school, to the sport, to other students, to the community and to the athletes themselves. Athletic experiences contribute to the development of learning skills and emotional patterns that enable a student to achieve maximum benefit from his or her education.

Statement of philosophy

An athletic program provides students with support, education and opportunities for meaningful life experiences through participation in interscholastic athletics.

The Queensbury athletic program is modeled after the Life of an Athlete lifestyle program. This national program is endorsed by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and is considered to offer best practices for designing a comprehensive athletic program. It is a systematic approach to reducing risk, increasing protective factors in student-athletes, setting clear expectations for behavior, developing a progression of discipline, teaching appropriate athlete lifestyle, and having a process for identifying and supporting students involved in behaviors of concern.

Through athletics, district and school leaders are attempting to establish a social order with a basis of achievement, common interest, and excellence. The standards set for student-athletes are designed to address concerns for health, safety, and performance. We want to:

  • Prepare student-athletes with the skills necessary to deal with the challenges and demands of everyday life.
  • Support student-athletes throughout their participation in athletics, win or lose.
  • Show student-athletes that we are proud of their efforts as contributing citizens, demonstrating good character.
  • Set expectations for student-athletes to always do their best, believe in themselves, and show dedication, focus, and commitment in whatever they do, understanding that the athletic experience is a privilege and honor afforded to them to represent their community as ambassadors.

Program overview

The comprehensive athletic program in Queensbury takes into account all aspects of high school athletics. There are five phases to the athletic program that engage all of the constituent groups.

Phase 1 – Pre-season meetings

These meetings will cover the expectations for program involvement, the philosophy of the athletic program, and what it means to be an athlete. Statistics will be used to further enforce the purpose of the expectations for every participant.

Phase 2 – Athletics Code of Conduct conditions for involvement

This phase involves outlining the expectations for student-athlete conduct and the consequences for inappropriate behavior. A Restorative Practice philosophy is used to educate students about their behavior, correct the behavior, and restore harm that may have been caused to the team, school, community, or family.

Phase 3 – Coaching effectiveness training

This phase provides training for all coaches in the areas of: chemical health issues, sport-specific skills and drills, strength and conditioning, program effectiveness, team and program development, and psychology of an athlete.

Phase 4 – Developing leadership in student-athletes

This phase outlines the leadership program for student-athletes. Student leadership is an important part of any successful athletic program, but developing student leaders is not as simple as granting titles and hoping leadership will occur. Students must be taught how to develop leadership qualities that better serve the needs of the athletic program, their teams and their own futures.

Phase 5 – Stakeholder unity

This phase focuses on developing a sense of community. It is critical to ensure all stakeholders for the Queensbury athletic program are invested in creating a culture of success for all student-athletes.

Pre-season meetings

Coaches meetings

The athletic director will meet with the coaches from every team and discuss with them the Coaches Handbook. This handbook outlines the expectations for coaches. Following are some examples of topics to be covered during this meeting: season start dates, parent nights, code of conduct, criteria for making a team roster, practice schedules, game schedules, transportation schedules, equipment inventory/needs, uniforms, supplies inventory/needs, coaching techniques, communication systems, observations and evaluations, fundraising, parent involvement, team chemistry, training philosophies, record keeping, and awards.

Parent Athletic Code of Conduct meetings

Each season, the athletic director will conduct Athletic Code of Conduct meetings with the parents of student-athletes to cover key aspects of the code of conduct. Parents will be instructed to read the code of conduct prior to signing the document and to ask any clarifying questions that were not answered during the presentation and document overview. Parent attendance is mandatory, but on the honor system; parents are not asked to sign an attendance sheet. Each student’s parent is responsible for understanding the contents of the code of conduct. The athletic director will be available at the meeting, and later by phone at (518) 824-5688, to answer any questions parents or students have about the document.

Coaches meetings for parents

Each season, coaches of the respective teams will have a meeting with their student-athletes’ parents. At these meetings, coaches will introduce themselves, share contact information, explain team expectations and goals for the upcoming season, and reinforce the code of conduct. Coaches will share any other information about their program that is pertinent to parents at this meeting.

Code of conduct for athletics involvement

The code of conduct for participation in the interscholastic athletics program of Queensbury Union Free School District follows recommendations endorsed by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) and is based on additional input from various constituent groups within the district and community. NYSPHSAA has endorsed athletic programs that are grounded in research that supports best practices. The Queensbury Athletic Code of Conduct:

  • Outlines the positive expectations for coaches, parents and athletes.
  • Defines how the district will establish and maintain a healthy environment that will reinforce the behaviors necessary for maximizing potential.
  • Spells out the consequences and conditions needed to be met in order to remain a member of the athletic program if a violation were to occur.

Training rules, regulations and New York State law

Student-athletes go through a selective process to earn a place on their respective roster. Many teams only allow for a certain amount of players to exist on the roster. These athletes are placed at levels requiring them to compete against teams that are skilled and trained for elite-level competition. Due to the need to compete in high levels of physical activity, we must ensure the health and safety of those who participate. Therefore, the following guidelines must be followed by all student-athletes:

  • The possession or use of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21 years is against the law in New York and strictly prohibited for any student-athlete.
  • The possession or use of marijuana and all classified street drugs and controlled substances is illegal and strictly prohibited for any student-athlete.
  • The possession or use of prescription drugs without a medical authorization is illegal and strictly prohibited for any student-athlete.
  • The possession or use of tobacco products such as cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, vaping pens, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, waterpipe (hookah) tobacco, and orally ingested dissolvable tobacco products is strictly prohibited for any student-athlete.

Parties/presence at parties with alcohol or illegal drugs (in the presence of)

If student-athletes attend a party where alcohol or drugs are being illegally dispensed, the student-athletes must leave the party immediately and report their attendance to a coach or administrator before the end of the next school day.

If the party occurs outside of the academic school year, the student-athletes have 72 hours to report their attendance to any school official or coach. (Leaving a detailed voicemail or e-mail is considered a report.)

Following these procedures exactly exonerates an innocent athlete, assuming that the athlete is not frequently showing up at these parties or that there is no corroborative information to indicate otherwise. However, a student-athlete who fails to report his or her attendance will be judged to have been in possession or guilty by presence.

The price of athletic involvement is a commitment to the ideals of being an athlete.

The Athletic Code of Conduct spells out, for all stakeholders, the clear and consistent boundaries of the Queensbury athletic program. To be successful, student-athletes must understand these provisions and agree to them. The provisions and expectations are the same for every student-athlete. There will be no exceptions to the consequences for those who decide to violate this code.

Duration of the Athletic Code of Conduct and application of consequences

Queensbury Middle School

The Athletic Code of Conduct is in effect for middle school student-athletes from the first day of legal practices in the fall of the year they enter seventh grade through the last day of eighth grade for students in June. All student discipline cases that occurred while in the middle school and playing on modified teams will stay a part of the middle school record and not transfer to the high school.

Any middle school student who successfully completes the Athletic Placement Process to compete at the high school level (e.g., freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams) is subject to the high school standards for Athletic Code of Conduct violations and the progression of consequences. More specifically, when a student who meets these conditions has an Athletic Code of Conduct violation while in middle school, that violation will carry over to the high school. For example, a student who commits one Athletic Code of Conduct violation in middle school while playing on a freshman, junior varsity or varsity team will begin high school with one violation. The next violation for that student while in high school would be considered a second violation.

Queensbury High School

The Athletic Code of Conduct for all high school student-athletes will be in effect July 1 of the year they enter ninth grade and continue through graduation of their senior year. This code of conduct applies to any student athlete who has or intends to participate in a sport. Any known violations of the code of conduct will be recorded and documented as such. The consequences associated with a violation to the code, whether it be the first, second or third violation, will be applied to the student-athlete:

  1. During the season in which they are currently participating or
  2. The next season in which the student participates.

Consequences from season to season

Any student who participates in a sport for the first time following a violation of the Athletic Code of Conduct in their previous season will be monitored by the director of athletics and the coaches of the respective seasons to ensure that the spirit of the code of conduct is not being abused.

The participation of all student-athletes is encouraged, when it is possible. However, Queensbury reserves the right to maintain the integrity of the athletic program. Any athlete believed to be participating in a sport solely for the purpose of fulfilling the consequences of a code of conduct violation and not meeting the expected standard for participation in that sport will be dismissed from the team, earning no time towards fulfilling the consequence.

First violation

  1. Loss of eligibility to participate in 25% of scheduled interscholastic events. This includes post-season events such as sectionals, states, etc.
  2. Student-athlete must still practice with the team during loss of eligibility.
  3. Student-athlete may be assigned to participate in a designated drug/alcohol awareness program. This program will be facilitated by the Health Education Department chairperson or an athletic staff member. The family may request that an outside agency conduct the program, and permission may be granted by the director of athletics.
  4. Team leadership titles held by student-athletes are an increased responsibility for those student-athletes. Student-athletes who are captains of a team when a violation occurs will be held to a higher standard. They will lose the captain privilege for the remainder of the season.
  5. Parents will be notified by the director of athletics.
  6. Student-athlete will address the coach and the team, apologize for the specific violation, describe a plan to ensure that the rule will not be broken again, ask for support from the team to maintain accountability moving forward, and re-sign the Athletic Code of Conduct.
  7. Student-athlete will meet with the School Resource Office or school-based probation officer to discuss the legal implication of the student’s actions, with the parent present.

Note: All of the above items listed for a first violation are conditions for reinstatement in competition. Any failure or refusal to meet all of the conditions listed will result in removal from the team.

Hosting

A host is someone who receives or entertains other people as guests. For the purposes of the Athletic Code of Conduct, a student-athlete is considered to be hosting when he or she is the host for a gathering at a primary or secondary residence or any other location secured by the host or the family of the host where alcohol or drugs are being illegally dispensed. Any student-athlete found to be responsible for hosting a gathering where alcohol or drugs are being illegally dispensed will be subject to double the consequences outlined in the applicable level of violation. For example, a first violation for the student-athlete who hosted the party will result in the loss of eligibility for 50% of the scheduled interscholastic events. A second violation for the student-athlete who hosted the party will result in a 20-week suspension from all interscholastic events.

Self-referrals

Any student-athlete who refers himself/herself to seek help for substance/alcohol abuse before the first violation is confirmed shall follow the first violation steps, but only lose eligibility for 15% of the scheduled interscholastic events. The director of athletics reserves the right to not grant the reduction in consequence for self-reporting based on the individual circumstances of a violation.

8-9 events per season

    • 15%: one event
    • 25%: two events

10-13 events per season

    • 25%: three events

10-16 events per season

    • 15%: two events

14-17 events per season

    • 25%: four events

17-23 events per season

    • 15%: three events

18-21 events per season

    • 25%: five events

24 events per season

    • 15%: four events

22-24 events per season

    • 25%: six events

Second violation

A second violation will be considered a disciplinary infraction, generating a “yes” response to the disciplinary action question in the College Common Application and other similarly worded applications. It also will result in the following actions:

  1. 10-week suspension from all interscholastic events.
  2. Not eligible for any school awards at the end of the sport season in which the violation occurred.
  3. Must participate in a designated drug/alcohol awareness program.
  4. Any part of the 10-week suspension not completed during one sport season will carry over to the next season in which the student-athlete competes. Any portion of a suspension not completed during that season will begin with the first interscholastic event scheduled for the next sport season.
  5. May practice with the team for the duration of the suspension.
  6. Parents will be notified by the director of athletics.
  7. Student-athlete will address the coach and the team, apologize for the specific violation, describe a plan to ensure that the rule will not be broken again, ask for support from the team to maintain accountability moving forward, and re-sign the Athletic Code of Conduct.
  8. Student-athlete will meet with the School Resource Office or school-based probation officer to discuss the legal implication of the student’s actions, with the parent present.

Third and subsequent violation

  1. Suspended from participation in all interscholastic activities for the remainder of the student-athlete’s career.
  2. Parents will be notified by the director of athletics.
  3. Referred to professional chemical dependency programs.
  4. Will not receive any school awards at the end of the sport season in which the
    violation occurred.

Prior to the district imposing any discipline, the student and parent will be given an opportunity to discuss the factual situation informally with the appropriate district representative.

Character, civility, and sportsmanship

Student-athletes

Team members are expected to be good citizens within their team, school and community. Student-athletes are expected to be supportive of other team members, school initiatives, and community service.

Each student-athlete is responsible for his or her own digital footprint. All student-athletes are responsible for their cyber activity and must ensure that they are not involved with hazing, bullying, and inappropriate or illegal postings. Student-athletes jeopardize team membership if school rules or laws are violated. Violations of school rules or civil law will result in disciplinary action.

A student who is arrested or convicted of a crime, either misdemeanor or felony, may be suspended from participation until the legal matter is resolved. Upon resolution, the district shall take additional disciplinary and/or corrective action if warranted.

Students are expected to be truthful, forthcoming with information, and cooperative at all times. This certainly holds true during investigations. If a student-athlete is determined to be deceptive or untruthful, a greater consequence may be applied at the discretion of the school building administration or director of athletics.

Staff, family and fans

The Queensbury athletic program places a high level of emphasis on sportsmanship and therefore supports the principles of NYSPHSAA’s “Sportsmanship Matters” publication. Following the principles put forth in this document provides athletic administrators, coaches, athletes, officials, parents, and spectators with the tools to create a positive athletic experience. To the best of their ability, athletics staff will support and carry out the recommendations outlined by NYSPHSAA.

Academic standards for eligibility

  1. Participation in interscholastic athletics should have a positive effect on student academic performance. The primary objective of all academic and extracurricular programs of the school district is to provide a variety of successful educational opportunities and experiences to students.
  2. All students, including those participating in extracurricular activities, are expected to maintain academic excellence as their top priority. If academic performance is below an acceptable level (passing with a 65 is the minimum), then it is the responsibility of the student and parent to ensure that the student is meeting the necessary criteria for eligibility in interscholastic athletics.
  3. At all times, the school building administration and the athletic director shall have the right to consult with parents/guardians, teachers, school counselors, and coaches to determine whether student participation in interscholastic athletics should be modified to address academic performance.
  4. Each sports season, a comprehensive list of students participating in athletics will be generated in the Athletics Office and shared with the faculty and staff. Any staff member who has concerns with the academic performance of a student-athlete can initiate an intervention process. This process will include, but is not limited to:
    1. Email or call to the coach requesting support of the student-athlete’s need for additional academic support.
    2. Email or call to the student’s counselor.
    3. Email or call to request a meeting with the student, parent, counselor, administrator (school building level or athletic director) and teacher.
    4. Email or call to the athletic director to review the possible need for a modification to the student-athlete’s competition eligibility.

Participation in athletic programs

The Board of Education requires equal opportunity for every student of the district. In every way possible, this policy must communicate that each student has equal access to every program of the school and that those opportunities be non-exclusionary and fair for all to try out. It is understood that tryouts are necessary for an organization whose numbers of participants must be limited. It is also understood that criteria for selection must apply to all candidates.

To the parent

This material is presented to you because your son or daughter has indicated a desire to participate in interscholastic athletics and you have expressed your willingness to permit her/him to compete. We believe that participation in sports provides a wealth of opportunities and experiences that assist students in personal development. It should be recognized that involvement in interscholastic athletics is a privilege.

A student who elects to participate in athletics is voluntarily making a choice of self-discipline and commitment. These are the reasons the district places conditions on involvement, as the health, safety, and welfare of athletes must be the first priority. Good training habits and lifestyle are necessary to ensure this. Failure to comply with the rules of training and conduct will result in disciplinary action as outlined in the Athletic Code of Conduct. There is no place in high school athletics for students who will not discipline their minds and bodies for rigorous competition. This concept of self-discipline and commitment by student-athletes is tempered by the district’s responsibility to recognize the rights of the individual within the objectives of a team and the interscholastic program.

Levels of competition

As a member of Section 2 of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) and the Foothills Council, Queensbury’s teams compete in interscholastic athletics at the modified, freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels. As a member school of the Foothills Council, the athletic program has a commitment to the Council. This commitment is outlined in the Foothills Constitution and requires Queensbury teams to meet the league commitment for competition, prior to exploring non-league options for contests.

Varsity

Varsity teams represent the highest level of athletics offered by the school. Participants are selected based on their demonstrated commitment and knowledge of the activity, advanced skill set and ability to meet the extreme demands and pressures inherent to performing at the varsity level. Playing time is relative to meeting the expectations of the coach and the ability to perform.

Junior varsity

This is the final developmental stage for future varsity performers. Team members are preparing for the rigors of the varsity level while participating without the pressures of the “win to advance” concept. The focus is on developing as a complete team member. Team records, while of interest, are not the measure of success or the focus of this level. Playing time is relative to meeting the expectations of the coach and the ability to perform.

Freshman

Freshman programs serve as a bridge for developing student-athletes who are transitioning from modified rules to the more challenging high school experience. This level allows student-athletes to participate in age-appropriate competition against competitors at the same physical maturity level. Development of team concepts/strategies and the personal development of the student-athlete’s skills and attitudes are key components at this level.

Modified

Modified programs for grades 7-8 are structured to meet the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of younger student-athletes. The program is developmental in nature and offers middle school students an opportunity to compete using modifications to best serve their needs.

Athletics placement process (formally selection classification)

There is an athletic placement process for younger athletes who are exceptionally advanced in skill, physical and emotional maturity, and knowledge in a particular sport. A middle school student-athlete may be placed to the level fitting his/her readiness following physical and medical tests to determine his/her qualification. Each student’s physical, social, emotional, and academic status will be reviewed. The athletic director will make the final decision on all placements.

Sport physicals/insurance

Participation in sports is of great value to the physical fitness and development of a person. However, injuries and accidents of varying seriousness may happen while participating in interscholastic athletics. A thorough sports physical examination by the school doctor or your family physician must be on file at the school prior to participation.

A Sports Participation Medical History form must be completed prior to an examination by the school physician.

If the student-athlete’s physical was completed more than thirty days prior to initial participation, a Health Status Review form must be completed for the student and returned to the school nurse via the coach.

Queensbury is a member of the NYSPHSAA Pupil Benefits Insurance Plan. Insurance coverage, within certain limits, is provided as a supplement to your family health insurance for injuries sustained in practice or games. All injuries must be reported immediately to the coach and/or the athletic trainer and to the school nurse. Unreported injuries will not be covered. Parents may obtain a summary of the insurance coverage from the school nurse.

Emergency card

An emergency card will be given to each student-athlete’s parent/guardian to complete and return to the coach. This card gives necessary authorization for a physician to render care in the absence of the parent. The coaches will carry these in their first aid kits.

Eligibility 

All student-athletes in schools that are members of NYSPHSAA are subject to the eligibility rules of the association. The Foothills Council and Queensbury have developed further eligibility standards to ensure safe, fair, and appropriate competition in an educational organization. Early in each sports season, the head coach will schedule a meeting for all parents and athletes in his/her program. At this meeting the coach will review eligibility rules, goals, and other information. A primary purpose of the meeting is to develop a partnership between parents, coaches, and student-athletes to help each student-athlete maintain eligibility and to help the team realize a successful season.

School attendance

A student must be present in homeroom when attendance is taken and for the remainder of the school day in order to participate in an athletic contest or practice that day. An exception will be made if the student has an approved medical or legal appointment, field trip, or educational trip. In these situations the student must present a signed note from the parent/guardian.

If a student is absent the last school day before a competition held on a non-school day, the student must have administrative permission to participate. It is recommended that the head coach call the parent/guardian.

Transportation

Transportation to and from away contests will be provided by the school. A student-athlete may travel home from an away contest with his/her parent/guardian only after signing out with his/her coach. A parent/guardian must submit a signed request to the athletic director if an athlete must, under extenuating circumstances, travel by private vehicle with someone other than his or her own parent/guardian. Student-athletes will only be released to adults who are at least 21 years of age.

Clothing and equipment

Each person is responsible for all items of school property (uniforms and/or equipment) that he or she has accepted for use. Replacement costs of unreturned uniforms or equipment will be assessed and levied as necessary. Athletes not paying for missing articles will forfeit their right to participate in the next sport season and forfeit their eligibility for any awards until the situation is rectified.

Team attendance

Student-athletes are expected to commit themselves to team membership, practice attendance, and contest attendance for the duration of the season. When this commitment is not fulfilled, the student-athlete’s membership and position on the team shall be reviewed by the coach and athletic director. Because many different factors may cause a student to miss the practice(s) or contest(s), a hard and fast policy is difficult to establish.

The following are attendance “rules of thumb” to follow:

  1. A student-athlete missing a school team’s practice(s) or contest(s) due to participation in a non-school team’s contest or practice may lose membership on the school team.
  2. A student-athlete missing a school team’s practice(s) and/or contest(s) due to a trip he or she must go on with immediate family will not be dismissed from the team. Possibly, the student will not be able to return to the same position he/she held on the team prior to leaving.
  3. A student-athlete missing a school team’s practice(s) and/or contest(s) due to participation in a school trip may find that limits the student’s participation with the team or jeopardizes team membership, depending on the extent of time absent from the team. A decision shall be made by the coach and athletic director.
  4. All cases shall be decided based on the commitment of the athlete, the factors involved, and the fairness to the remaining team members.

Changing team membership within a season

An athlete “cut” from a squad shall be allowed to compete on another team in the given sport season with the permission of the coach of the second team; extenuating circumstances may prevent the team membership. An athlete who decides to quit a team shall not be allowed to join a second team in the given sport season (subject to appeal to the director of athletics).

Distribution of Athletic Code of Conduct

Prior to the fall, winter, and spring sports season, a mandatory Athletic Code of Conduct meeting will be held for all prospective student-athletes and their parents(s)/guardian(s). At that time the policy will be distributed and reviewed. All student-athletes and their parent/guardians will be required to sign the acknowledgement portion of the code. No student-athlete will be allowed to participate until the signed acknowledgement is received by the Athletic Department.