Athletics Handbook

Please click here to download a PDF copy of the Athletic Handbook and appropriate forms that will need to be signed and returned.

Middleburgh Central Schools Code of Conduct for Athletes in Grades 7-12

Parent Guidelines

Middleburgh Central School District’s philosophy of educating the whole child applies to athletics and sports as well as to academic life. When students participate in athletic endeavors, they do so as a part of their total education experience – building skills of commitment, sportsmanship, leadership, and teamwork.

Interscholastic athletics at MCS are proof that athletic and academic success can thrive together in a supportive environment. As your child becomes involved in the athletic program at MCS, they will experience some of the most rewarding moments of their lives. Many of the character traits required to be a successful participant in the MCS Athletic Program are exactly those that will promote a successful life after high school.

To ensure the best possible experience for you and your child, the following guidelines for communication have been established.

Parent/Coach Relationship

Both parenting and coaching are challenging vocations. By establishing and understanding each position, we are better able to accept the actions of the other and provide greater benefits to the student-athletes. As parents, when your child becomes involved in our program, you have a right to understand the expectations that are placed on your child. This begins with clear communication from the coach of your child’s team.

Communication You Should Expect from Your Child’s Coach

  1. Information about members of the coaching staff including those coaches who may be specifically working with your child.
  2. Expectations the coach has for your child as well as all the players on the team.
  3. Location and times of practices and contests including bus departure times.
  4. Team requirements, i.e. special equipment, off-season conditioning, specific team rules.
  5. Procedures should your child be injured during practice or a contest.
  6. Discipline procedures that may result in your child not participating in a contest(s).
  7. Contact information for the coach.

Communication Coaches Expect from Parents

  1. Concerns express directly to the coach.
  2. Notification of any schedule conflicts well in advance.
  3. Specific concerns in regard to a coach’s philosophy and/or expectations.
  4. Specific medical or personal/emotional problems that could adversely impact your child’s performance or safety

Appropriate Topics to Discuss with Coaches

  1. The mental and physical treatment of your child by coaches and/or teammates.
  2. Suggestions for parents to support the skill development of their child.
  3. Concerns about your child’s behavior.
  4. Family concerns that may have an emotional impact upon your child and their athletic participation.

Coaches make decisions based on what they believe to be best for the entire team. As a parent, although you may not always agree with these decisions, it is imperative that you allow your child’s coach to make these decisions. Therefore, the following are not appropriate issues to discuss with your child’s coach: playing time, team strategy, play calling, lineups, substitutions, and the performance of other student-athletes on the team.

If you have a concern to discuss with a coach, this is the procedure you should follow:

  1. Contact the coach directly and schedule a meeting, if necessary.
  2. If the coach cannot be reached, call the Athletic Director at (518) 827-3600 ext. 2739 to help schedule a meeting

Please understand that the time before and during a practice or athletic event is an unacceptable time to share your concerns with the coach. During this time the coach will be focused on training and providing for the welfare of the student-athletes. Likewise, the time directly following a practice or athletic event is typically a time when emotions run high and is not an ideal time to address concerns you may have.

What can a parent do if the meeting with the coach did not provide a satisfactory resolution?

Call the Athletic Director at  (518) 827-3600  x2739 and set up a meeting to discuss the situation.

Middleburgh Central Schools Code of Conduct for Athletes in Grades 7-12

Responsibilities and Ethics for the Athlete

Becoming a member of an MCS athletic team carries with it certain traditions and responsibilities that must be maintained. As a member of an interscholastic team of MCS you have inherited a tradition of respect for yourself, family, school, and community. By trying the best you can, and following all of the rules set up by your coaches, you can feel justifiably proud of yourself no matter what the win-loss record dictates.

The Board of Education has approved student handbooks outlining behavior codes for students in grades 7-12. It is the responsibility of all athletes to honor those rules and expectations. Disciplinary action of the building principal shall prevail over all matters involving athletic participation.

A. Responsibilities to Yourself

The most important of these responsibilities is to broaden yourself and develop strength of character. You owe it to yourself to get the greatest possible good from your school experience. Your studies, and participation in other extra curricular activities, as well as athletics, prepare you for life as an adult.

B. Responsibilities to Others

Younger students look up to you and it is your responsibility to set a good example for them. They may seek your attention and guidance, so always take a few minutes to encourage them in whatever way possible.

C. Responsibilities to Your School

As an athlete you assume a responsibility to your school. MCS will maintain its position as an outstanding school when you do your best in whatever activity you engage. By participating in athletics to the maximum of your ability, you contribute to the reputation of your school. Any behavior which may cast an adverse reflection on our athletic program is prohibited.

D. Responsibilities for School Citizenship

The Code of Conduct for athletes is a standard that the community, school, parents, and students have developed. It acknowledges to others that MCS athletes are held to a high standard.

Behavior that may be construed as unbecoming to a participant on our teams may cause you to be denied membership on a team. Behavior such as drinking, smoking, use of chewing tobacco, use/possession/purchase of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia of any form, insubordination, larceny, or any other disobedience to the law or school regulations could be just cause for you to be denied the privilege of participating in the interscholastic sports program, as an athlete and/or spectator.

E. Responsibility for Academics

As with any other extra curricular activity, participation in interscholastic sports does not diminish the importance of academics. You are responsible to complete homework assignments on time, actively participate in class related activities and maintain minimum academic standards.

F. Responsibilities for Sportsmanship

An MCS athlete should exhibit the ideals of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and fair play at all times. You are expected to establish and demonstrate respectful behavior in your relationships with visiting team, officials, and all spectators. Respecting the integrity and judgment of the officials is critical to fostering sportsmanship. It is the responsibility of all team members to strive to develop leadership, initiative, and good judgment.

Athletes must have a thorough understanding and acceptance of the rules of the game, the standards of eligibility, and must recognize that an athletic contest is only a game, not a matter of life and death for the player, the coach, school, official, fan, or community. The purpose of athletics is to promote physical, mental, social, and emotional well being of the individual players.

G. Responsibilities as a Member of a Team

Your appearance reflects on self, school, and community. Accordingly, coaches will work with you to establish an image that conveys the pride and tradition of our athletic program. Being a member of the team representing your school is a privilege. Athletes must be proud of the opportunity to play on a team and the school expects to be proud of them as players. Athletes must attend all scheduled practices and games unless excused by the coach. Athletes who participate in club or travel teams/sports during the school sponsored season should play and practice with the school team as their first priority. Violation of this can lead to consequences determined by the coach.

I. The Middleburgh Central School Athletic Department

A. Organization Structure

The athletic program is governed by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), Section II and the Western Athletic Conference. The program is also administered by rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Education.

II. General Policies for Athletics

A. The Modified Interscholastic Athletic Program

Interscholastic competition in sports (in grade 7-9) has been modified by the NYSPHSAA. The program has been approved by our league schools and is based on many years of experimentation and implementation with safety and participation as the major concerns. All eligibility standards listed in “B” will apply to Modified Level.

B. Varsity/Junior Varsity Eligibility Standards

Age Eligibility: An athlete must be a bona fide student of Middleburgh and must be taking at least three subjects including Physical Education. A student who reaches 19 prior to July 1 will not be eligible to participate. Students in grades 7-9 may participate in the “modified” program. A student reaching the age of 15 during a sport season may complete that season and must play varsity or junior varsity next season.

Attendance Eligibility: An athlete will not be allowed to participate if he/she has been absent the same day due to illness. An athlete who is legally absent for all or part of the school day may be eligible to participate in sports that day with the knowledge and consent of the Director of Athletics and the Administration. An athlete must be in school on Friday to participate in a weekend athletic event. The Athletic Coordinator may use his/her discretion with an athlete whose attendance is a concern. An athlete must be in school 30 minutes after the start of first period on game and practice days to be eligible that day. Legal excuses will be honored. Notes signed by parents are not acceptable. Exceptions may be made due to extenuating circumstances in which case a conference will be held with the principal, coach, and athletic director.

Athletic Eligibility

Coaches Night – All athletes participating in the MCSD Athletics Program and their parents/guardians are required to attend a mandatory coaches meeting that is held prior to each sport season. Information regarding the season will be reviewed, as well as specific team expectations as outlined by each coach. The Code of Conduct must be signed and submitted to the coach by the conclusion of the meeting. The signing of the Code of Conduct indicates that the student-athlete and parent have read, understand, and agree to follow both the spirit and the letter of the Athletic Code of Conduct. Any athlete, who along with their parent/guardian is not in attendance, will be ineligible for tryouts, games, and scrimmages. Emergency meetings will be at the discretion of the Athletic Director.

Outside Team Rule

The NYSPHSAA regulations allow outside competition during the sport seasons. If a MCSD student-athlete chooses to participate in a club sport, it should be with the understanding that the commitment to the school team for practice and competition will take priority over club sports.

Academic Eligibility

Philosophy – The general philosophy behind this academic eligibility program is that students who are involved in extracurricular activities tend to achieve better results in the classroom. Thus, the intent of the program is to keep students involved rather than remove them from the activity/team. It is hoped that the positive leverage that can be generated by coaches, advisors, teachers, and fellow students will assist the student deemed to be in need of academic improvement. While the student must “earn” playing/participation time, the student will never be removed from the team unless they are failing four or more classes.


  1. It is expected that all students involved in extracurricular activities will regard academic performance as their primary goal.
  2. It is expected that all teachers, coaches, and advisors will regard student academic performance as their primary goal.
  3. All students participating in extracurricular activities are expected to pass all subjects in their course load.
  4. All students involved in extracurricular activities will be checked for passing grades at the end of each five week reporting period (interim reports and report cards).
  5. Students with a grade below 65% in any course will be placed in the academic eligibility program. The student will be allowed to participate; however, an Eligibility Sheet for that class will be required for 5 weeks and they must be passing the class. If the student is passing the class on a weekly basis, they will be allowed to play/participate.
  6. Students with a grade below 65% in TWO courses will be placed in the academic eligibility program. An Eligibility Sheet for those two classes will be required for 5 weeks. The student will also be required to attend two afterschool study halls from 3:00-3:30 and be passing the classes on a weekly basis in order to stay eligible and be allowed to play/participate.
  7. Students with a grade below 65% in THREE courses will be allowed to remain a part of the club/team/etc., but will only be able to practice for five weeks. The student will NOT be able to play/participate (until next grade report).
  8. Failing four or more classes: NOT eligible to practice, participate, or be part of team/group/club.
  9. On Thursday of each week during the next five weeks, the student will bring an Eligibility Program Signature Sheet to the teacher of the class(es) on the student’s schedule that they are failing. The teacher(s) will sign the sheet and note if the student is PASSING OR FAILING FOR THE PAST WEEK. The teacher may also include comments in the space provided.
  10. At the end of the day, the student will bring the eligibility signature sheet to the athletic director (for all sports) or the principal (for all other activities). The Athletic Coordinator or building administrator will verify attendance at required study halls.
  11. The athletic director or principal will review the form and indicate if the student is eligible for participation in athletic contests, performances, club meetings, etc. for the next week.
  12. A copy of the form will be given to the student by the athletic director or principal. It is the responsibility of the student to bring the form to the coach or advisor involved that day. IF THE STUDENT DOES NOT SUBMIT THE FORM TO THE COACH/ADVISOR, THE STUDENT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY GROUP/TEAM ACTIVITIES (including practice, meetings, etc.) UNTIL THE FORM IS PRESENTED TO THE COACH/ADVISOR.
  13. If the student is declared eligible, the student will participate in all activities conducted by the team/group during the next week. If the student is declared ineligible, the student may not participate for the next week. (For example, in athletics, this means the student will participate in all team practices and meetings; however, the student will not be allowed to play in any games or scrimmages. It is further expected that the student will “dress” with the team but will not be allowed to play.)
  14. Students attending the afterschool study hall must arrive on time, sign-in, and remain for the full 30 minutes unless given permission from the Athletic Coordinator or a building administrator.
  15. At the five-week point, all students will once again be checked, and steps 1 through 10 will be repeated.

Transportation to Athletic Events

Travel Regulations

The Athletic Director will arrange all transportation. All athletes are expected to ride to and from away games with their team. A coach will accompany the team on all trips. The coach will have a complete travel list. A parent who wishes to transport his/her student-athlete home from the game must sign out said athlete with the coach.

In the event a parent wishes his/her student-athlete to be transported home from the game by someone other than himself/herself, the following conditions must be met:

  • At the beginning of each season, the names of both parents and two other approved adults (immediate relatives, neighbors, parents of teammates, “emergency contacts”) must be submitted to the coach, Athletic Director, and Principal to be kept on record.
  • When a parent wishes his/her student-athlete to travel with one of these approved adults, the parent must provide a note to the Athletic Director or Principal for verification and approval NO LESS THAN 24 HOURS prior to the contest. The information will then be communicated to the coach.
  • The approved adult must sign out the student-athlete at the game with the coach.

Parents are expected to pick up their children after practices, scrimmages, or games in a timely manner.

Bus Regulations

All squad members are expected to conduct themselves in a fashion that will ensure the safety of all passengers. Traveling to and from games should be no different than other times on the bus.  All safety rules must be followed.

Training Rules

An athlete should observe the following rules:

  1. Avoid the purchase, use, and/or possession of alcohol, tobacco or tobacco products, illegal drugs, or performance enhancing drugs.
    • PENALTY – The student-athlete will be suspended from the team for a minimum of three weeks for the first offense, but must attend all practices and games. Should the offense occur with less than three weeks remaining in the season, the remained of the suspension will be served during the student-athlete’s next sports season. A second violation of this rule during the same season, or if the act is deemed flagrant by a committee consisting of the Athletic Director, Principal, and Superintendent of Schools, will result in the immediate removal from the team and the loss of eligibility for awards, letters, post-season recognition, etc.
  2. Should not be in the presence of the illegal distribution of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
    • PENALTY – The student-athlete will be suspended from the team for a minimum of three weeks for the first offense, but must attend all practices and games. Should the offense occur with less than three weeks remaining in the season, the remained of the suspension will be served during the student-athlete’s next sports season. A second violation of this rule during the same season, or if the act is deemed flagrant by a committee consisting of the Athletic Director, Principal, and Superintendent of Schools, will result in the immediate removal from the team and the loss of eligibility for awards, letters, post-season recognition, etc.
  3. Not participate in any sort of hazing or mistreatment of themselves or other athletes.
    • PENALTY – The student-athlete will be suspended from the team for a minimum of three weeks for the first offense, but must attend all practices and games. Should the offense occur with less than three weeks remaining in the season, the remained of the suspension will be served during the student-athlete’s next sports season. A second violation of this rule during the same season, or if the act is deemed flagrant by a committee consisting of the Athletic Director, Principal, and Superintendent of Schools, will result in the immediate removal from the team and the loss of eligibility for awards, letters, post-season recognition, etc.
  4. Attend all practices scheduled when school is in regular session.
    • PENALTY – The student-athlete will be dealt with by their respective coach for a first offense. Disciplinary action will be progressive in nature depending on the severity of the offense.
  5. Follow the instructions of their coaches.
    • PENALTY – The student-athlete will be dealt with by their respective coach for a first offense. Disciplinary action will be progressive in nature depending on the severity of the offense.
  6. Demonstrate good sportsmanship and school citizenship.
    • PENALTY – Athletes who demonstrate poor sportsmanship/school citizenship will be disciplined according to the eligibility policy. Any student-athlete who is assessed a technical foul, suspension, or other penalty resulting from unsportsmanlike conduct will be suspended from participation for the remainder of the contest and for the next scheduled contest, as per the Section II Sportsmanship Policy.
  7. Participate in physical education classes.
    • PENALTY – Any student-athlete who does not change for or participate in physical education class will not be allowed to participate in practice or competition that day. Penalties for repeated violations will be dealt with in a progressive nature.
  8. NEVER do anything that may bring embarrassment or an unfavorable view to your teammates, coaches, family, school, or community.
    • PENALTY – The student-athlete will be dealt with by their respective coach for a first offense. Disciplinary action will be progressive in nature depending on the severity of the offense.

      Student-athletes providing any alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances shall be removed from participation in interscholastic athletics for one calendar year beginning on the date of the offense.

      It is the expectation of the MCSD Athletics Program that if a MCSD student-athlete is present at a party where alcohol or drug use is occurring, the student-athlete will leave the party as soon as safely feasible, preferably immediately. Responsible decision-making would include not returning to the party and encouraging other student-athletes to do the same.

Cyber Images

Pictures posted on the internet of a student-athlete in violation of training rules are deemed punishable.

Rules may be required by a coach that is unique to that sport.

Leaving a Team

If an athlete should want to leave a team, he/she should not do so without first notifying and discussing the reason(s) with the coach and Athletic Director. A student-athlete selected as a member of a team shall not be allowed to withdraw from the team past the midpoint of that team’s season unless there are extenuating circumstances.

  • PENALTY – A student-athlete who withdraws from a team past the midpoint of that team’s season, unless there are extenuating circumstances, will forfeit 25% of the contests of the next sport he/she participates in. For varsity and junior varsity soccer, cross country, and track, 25% equals four contests. For varsity and junior varsity volleyball, golf, basketball, bowling, baseball, softball, and tennis, 25% equals five contests. For modified soccer, cross country, and track, 25% equals three contests. For modified volleyball, golf, basketball, bowling, baseball, softball, and tennis, 25% equals four contests.

Practice Guidelines

Athletes are expected to attend all practice sessions. If you are absent from school for illness you may not practice. When an athlete is in school but cannot practice for a legitimate reason, the coach must be informed prior to practice time. Practice time is critical. Tardiness to practice will not be tolerated.

Procedure for Appealing Disciplinary Action

Any student who is suspended or removed from an interscholastic team may appeal the suspension or removal by following the stages outlined below:

  • Stage I: Request an informal meeting with the school Principal, Athletic Director, and coach to discuss the matter and render a decision.
  • Stage II: Formally request a meeting with the Superintendent of Schools to grieve the decision in Stage I. The request is to be written, enumerating specific points upon which the aggrieved party bases the appeal. The Superintendent is to respond as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days after receiving the written request.
  • Stage III: Appeal the decision of the Superintendent of Schools to the Board of Education by written request, again recording specific points of contention.
  • Stage IV: Final appeal to the Commissioner of Education.

Care of Equipment and Facilities

Lost Equipment

All equipment issued by the school will be the responsibility of the individual athlete. Any equipment not returned at the end of the season must be paid for or replaced by the student. Failure to do this will result in suspension from further participation in athletics.

Misuse of Equipment/Facilities

All equipment and facilities should be cared for as if it were the athlete’s personal property. The cost of replacement is quite high and we want our teams to have the best possible equipment. It will have a long life with proper care. Please be aware of the concern for care of equipment. Any equipment intentionally misused will be repaired at the player’s expense.

The Administration reserves the right to make any decisions that may be unique, or extenuating in regards to the final determination of a student’s eligibility.

In the event the Administration determines he/she has violated conditions of good school citizenship, the student will be suspended from extracurricular activities for a time to be determined by the Administration. Action can take place any time the Administration feels there is a serious problem.

Sports Seasons

The high school year is divided into three (3) sports seasons: fall, winter, and spring. A student/athlete wishing to participate in more than one sport during a sport season must notify the Athletic Director four weeks before the start of that season. At that time a formal review will be conducted and permission will either be granted or denied.

Cheerleading is not an interscholastic sport. However, the activity is closely associated with and is a functional part of interscholastic sports. Therefore, cheerleading will be considered under the same guidelines and governed by the same rules as an interscholastic sport.


Athletes who do not return uniforms within three (3) complete school days by 3:00 p.m. on the third day, last seasonal context, will not be allowed to start the next interscholastic sport season for the number of days they are late.

  • Recommendation: coaches should be prepared to collect complete uniforms at the last game of the season; then clean and store immediately.

Medical, Physicals, Permission, Insurance

Parental Consent and Medical Release Forms

A standard form containing the school’s training rules, policies, and a statement of parental permission to participate as well as a medical emergency card must be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the coach before they practice.


All students who desire to participate in Athletics must be examined by a physician appointed by the Board of Education and may not practice or participate without the doctor’s approval. Sports physicals are scheduled prior to the start of practice and it is the responsibility of each student to sign up with the nurse in the school physical education office prior to the sports season. Schedules for physicals are posted and if the athlete cannot be there on the assigned date and time, he/she must contact the coach or nurse as soon as possible to be assigned a different appointment date. Athletes cannot change times on their own. He/she must contact the coach or the school nurse if they have a conflict. If a student misses his/her appointed time they will be responsible to get the physical done by their own physician. Make up physicals are for new/transfer students only. He/she must contact the school nurse if there is a problem.

Accident Reports/Sports Injuries

All injuries should be reported to the coach immediately. Early care and treatment can minimize the physical restrictions from an injury. Athletes should give coaches all necessary information so an accident report can be filed.

Returning to Competition after Injury

When a student is absent for five or more consecutive days due to illness or if a student receives an injury, he/she must be requalified for participation by the School Physician before returning to competition. This policy is dictated by State Law to prevent serious injury to the athlete. The coach or school nurse will make arrangement for the requalification. The athlete will not be allowed to practice before he/she has received clearance.

Student Insurance

Student accident insurance is provided for all athletes. This insurance is supplemental to the parent’s health insurance policy. The parent’s insurance is the primary coverage in the event of an accident/injury during any school related activity. Any injury must be reported to the coach and school nurse immediately.

Athletic Awards

Varsity Sports Awards

Students fulfilling specific requirements for varsity sports will be awarded a certificate and a letter “M” with a metal pin insert that identifies the particular sport in which the letter was earned.

A certificate and bar will be awarded to the student who has earned more than one letter in a particular sport. Varsity sports are:

  • Boys
    • Soccer
    • Basketball
    • Baseball
    • Track & Field
    • Bowling
  • Girls
    • Soccer
    • Softball
    • Volleyball
    • Basketball
    • Track & Field
    • Bowling
  • Boys & Girls
    • Tennis
    • Cheerleading
    • Golf

Requirements to earn a Varsity Letter

(In special cases, these requirements may be waived)

  • Bowling – Bowl 50% of the matches
  • Soccer – Play in 75% halves
  • Basketball – Play in 50% of quarters
  • Baseball – Play in 50% of innings
  • Softball – Play in 50% of innings
  • Tennis – Play in 50% of matches
  • Track – Score a minimum of 25 points and participate in 50% of meets
  • Cheerleading – Cheer in 75% of games
  • Volleyball – Play in 50% of games

Award Requirements

  • Approval of Coach, Director of Athletics, and Principal
  • School Citizenship
  • Must finish the season unless excused by the Coach
  • Must return all equipment

Statistician and Managerial Awards

A letter will be awarded to a statistician who has kept stats four (4) years for one sport/has kept stats for four (4) different sports one year each.

Senior athletes who made a significant contribution to the team may be given a varsity letter by the coach without meeting the above requirements.

Modified Sports

In order to set up a modified sports program for girls and boys in grade 7 and 8 (possibly 9), the following criteria should be considered:

  1. The program is for the students
  2. Knowledge and skills are to be developed for all the athletes in each sport. Emphasis should be placed on building good character.
  3. Physical fitness, sportsmanship, and teamwork should be promoted.
  4. Each participant should achieve some level of success, either in improvement of skills or overall playing ability in a game situation.
  5. Each participant should have substantial playing time (it doesn’t have to be equal, but as near equal as possible).
  6. Winning is important, but not the first priority of the team.
  7. Each student should have a feeling of worth.
  8. Modified coaches should communicate with the varsity coach to foster continuity within the program.