Mattituck-Cutchogue school board questions allowing jr. high students to play HS sports

11/19/2010 7:29 PM |

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Mattituck-Cutchogue school board president Jerry Diffley and Superintendent James McKenna at Thursday's board meetin

After months of concern from parents and board members, the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District plans to reconsider supporting a state policy that allows junior high school athletes to play at the high school level.

Parent Patty Shuford of Laurel questioned the practice at a school board meeting Thursday night.

“Anyone I’ve spoken to who is a parent is telling me they don’t believe this is a good practice,” she said. “Who are we serving when we do this?… We’re not doing this at the academic level, only sports.”

This fall, eight junior high students at Mattituck met strict state requirements in terms of physical and psychological maturity, good grades and athletic talent to play at the high school level, though one student later decided not to play at the high school level.

Board members and parents at the time said they were concerned that young students were being pushed too far, while older students would receive less playing time than in the past.

“The children that are on the sports teams in high school are not getting playing time. I know its happened because I’ve been approached again and again,” said board member Jeff Smith, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of the policy, at Thursday’s meeting.

“It is prevalent. I feel like this past year the names were coming up like never before,” said board member Janique Nine. “Today we have little uber-children. They do things athletically that we didn’t do. Maybe these students are reaching a level that I can’t comprehend. For record, I’m not pleased about it either.”

“The board has been divided on this issue. It’s something we are keenly aware of,” said board member Douglas Cooper.
The district has already accepted the state’s “selection classification” guidelines, but the board unanimously passed a resolution Thursday to re-evaluate its support at next year’s reorganization meeting in July.

[email protected]



7 Comment

  • Why did the school board accept the state’s classification in the first place? How many of them have children themselves that would have been affected by this? I wonder if they did if they would see things from a parent’s point of view? Kids do their time and then when it’s their turn it is taken away from them just like that. There are boys who are on the JV basketball team who didn’t even have to try out who made it. How can that be fair? It breaks my heart to see that it all comes down to politics once again. What are we teaching our children? Is it all about winning? I thought we were better than that. Unfortunately for their sake, we are not! We have all let them down.

  • Mattituck has adopted a “Pay to Play”policy. If your parents donate the most to the school, your child will be guaranteed. It is time to question bothe the Board of Educations’ decisions and the Administrators, from the pricipals up to the top. After all the buck stops with the Superintendent. Check out the letters to the editor this week. Also how many lawsuits are currently in “FEDERAL COURT” because of him?
    The only ones who loose here are the children.

  • What happened the comments that were here yesterday?

  • Why did the school board allow accept the state’s “selection classification” in the first place? Does everything have to be about winning? There is a reason why we have 7th and 8th grade teams. It is not fair for those who have done their time to have those opportunities taken away from them. Those 8th grades have 4 more years to go, but instead what Mr. Miller and all the parties involved did was rob those 10th graders who were on the JV team last year a spot on the team this year by letting 8th graders take their place!! How can that be fair? There are boys on the JV team who didn’t even have to try out!! And as the person who posted yesterday whose post has been conveniently removed ” Mattituck has adopted a pay and play option” where those kids whose parents donate the most money are guaranteed a spot on the team and at what cost? We have let the kids down again and as usual it all comes down to politics!!

  • Some students were told that they were guaranteed spots, at least 5 of the 9th graders – I was told this by one of the 5 9th graders . That does not seem fair especially since Mr. Miller never saw them play basketball before (maybe 3 at football!) Then to have 2 of the 8th graders guaranteed spots on the JV basketball team is totally wrong – since they had more than enough to field a team with out them. Last year, there was no JV Boys Lacrosse team, they only needed 5-6 boys from 8th grade but they were not allowing this practice of moving the students up from Junior High for Lacrosse. Then the Junior High team ended up with over 30 boys on the roster and the coaches had to figure out how to play them all without leaving anyone out in a game. And the 9th graders who were put on to the Varsity Team basically sat the bench all season.
    Now I hear that there are several boys on the 8th grade team out with injuries, from broken arms, ankles and knee problems. Confused – I am confused. And I think our students are confused to especially after this past lacrosse year and how those who should have been on the JV Lacrosse team were jipped. I know we all want the best for our kids but pushing them this hard is only gonna backfire in our faces. I can completely understand that if it is needed to have a team, like last year JV Boys Lacrosse (which again never put together even though they had hired a coach) that they would bring any student up from a lower grade, as long as they could handle it. It would only serve in the schools best interest but this time it does not. I guess basketball is more important than lacrosse in Mattitucks eyes?!

  • I was a junior high student on a junior varsity team when I was at Mattituck. The varsity coach saw me play on travel teams and attend other clinic and camps (and no it was not soccer it was softball). Because she wanted me on the varsity team as a freshmen she wanted me on the JV team as a junior high student. The level of travel teams I was already playing on junior high level sports would have bored me.

    I am not saying moving an athlete up is always the right thing. I think they need to be a a certain level. If they are going to play as a junior high student on a JV team it is okay; if they are going to be a bench warming then no it is not okay.

    It is like having a student that excels in academics… it is better to put them in the honors and more advanced classes to push them only if they can do the work then to let them sit bored with students of their level.

    It needs to be on a case by case basis and it should not be the norm putting junior high students on JV and Varsity teams. When I was at Mattituck it was a very rare thing… you had to be an exceptional athlete. Maybe with some sports Mattituck needs to look into having a 9th grade team like some other schools have.

  • Excellent discussion of the issue at hand. Unfortunately, it would take far too long to spell out all of the pros and cons. However, to deny any student the opportunity to participate in an activity simply due to an artificial age/grade requirement is just plain wrong. Admittedly, it is the exceptional sudent or athlete that is able to compete at a greater level, be it in the classroom, bandroom, athleticly or in any other manner. Nevertheless, why deny that exceptional person a chance if she or he possesses the necessary skills/talents?

    This is not to diregard the fact that there must be an appropriate manner and method in place to deal with the selection process. For sports, there should be a tryout–a real tryout–and no one should be “guaranteed” anything. The same should be said for any other activity.

    I believe that many people are unaware of past practice. This is not a common occurrence, nor is it anything new. By the way, it also applies to endeavors other than sports–the high school jazz band has had junior high students, for example. There is a tryout process for the jazz band and I would suggest that anyone chosen earned the spot. There have been past practices sports as well, including golf and soccer to name two, where a very few talented junior high students participated on the high school level.

    It seems that basketball has become the focus of this issue. That is truly a shame that the other sports and activities have not been mentioned, however, I would agree that no one should have any “guarantees” regarding playing time, placement on a team or in a class or anything else. Merit should rule.

    Sports does seem to bring out the best and worst in people. It seems that some parents feel that their children have an entitlement to play rather than it being a privilege. I do not believe that these same people would demand that their children be allowed to paricipate in anything else, such as playing a trumpet solo in the school concert, if the child was not able to do so. Nor do I believe that the child would be given the opportunity to do so by the band director(or anyone else’s activity) if she or he was not able to perform. Yet, when it comes to sports, it sure seems that the contrary is true which creates an unnecessary amount of pressure and distraction on coaches, players and the school community in general. We all hear the stories and know what happened eventually–this is a small community and word spreads.

    The bottom line–leave well enough alone. Thanks.