Interscholastic sports participation is a developmental, socialization opportunity that helps participants develop sport, self-discipline, and teamwork skills. In addition, participants gain an understanding for responsibilities, positive competition, conflict resolution, and fair play. All athletes should have equal access to these benefits by having full access to involvement in school sports. Athletes must also accept the responsibilities related to sport involvement. The following rights and responsibilities provide the basis for positive developmental experiences for all athletes as well as successful team experiences.
Rights of Participants: Interscholastic athletes shall have the right to:
- make a time commitment to a sport that does not preclude the athlete from participating in other family, school, and community activities that make for a well-rounded life; participation in sports should allow involvement in other activities.
- adequate time to study and complete assignments for school.
- have safe playing conditions (e.g., equipment, playing surfaces and facilities, environmental conditions) for physical conditioning sessions, practices, and competition.
- access athletic training services provided by a certified athletic trainer at all functions, including practices, games, and rehabilitation/treatment.
- expect qualified coaches who have been appropriately prepared in a quality coach education program and are certified at the minimum level required by the state and/or school district.
- get psychological support, respect, and fairness from coaches.
- receive information on proper conditioning and nutrition.
- participate based on the philosophy of the team/league as well as the right to know the rules of the program before enrolling.
Responsibilities of Participants: Interscholastic athletes shall take responsibility for:
- developing skills, camaraderie, fitness, and fun.
- respecting his or herself, coaching staff, opponents, teammates, officials, school, and spectators at all times.
- representing his or her school and self in a manner that reflects selfcontrol and is nonviolent and respectful.
- complying with all school and team rules and policies regarding participation and academic eligibility.
- avoiding illegal substances, performance-enhancing supplements (legal and illegal), and recreational drugs.
- attending all practices, team meetings, and competitions or communicating in advance with coaches when conflicts occur.
- arranging his or her schedule in a way that fulfills both academic and sport commitments.
- reporting to appropriate adults (i.e., coach, athletic trainer) any injury or aggravating condition that occurs in or out of the sport setting.
- following all prescribed medical treatment protocols and the rehabilitation schedule when sick or injured.
- accepting partial responsibility for the team success and failure.
- engaging in his or her actions on and off the field.
- pursuing personal goals in the context of commitment to the overall
For further information on athlete rights and responsibilities, visit these websites:
American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)
Bill of Rights for Young Athletes (NASPE)
Coaches Code of Conduct (NASPE)
Little League, Inc.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education
National Athletic Trainers Association
National Federation of High Schools
Sexual Harassment in Athletic Settings (NASPE)
To learn more about the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, click http://www.aahperd.org/NASPE/
Reprinted with the permission of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.