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Mercer School

2690 W Margaret St.
Mercer, WI 54547

Office: 715-476-2154

Athletic Handbook

ATHLETIC CODE

SCHOOL DISTRICT OF MERCER

(Effective July 1, 2011)

INTRODUCTION

The following information has been prepared for the benefit of athletes, parents, and coaches in an effort to make athletics a contributing and worthwhile part of the total school program. It is the desire of the entire athletic staff that athletics be an enriching and healthful experience in which physical, mental and social growth can be stimulated through interscholastic competition.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE ATHLETIC CODE

Athletics are an integral part of our high school program. As such, it provides certain opportunities and privileges, but also includes responsibilities and obligations. Training rules are primarily a matter of self-discipline. However, a high school athletic program must have regulations that do not involve unreasonable suppression of individual rights, but will assure the survival of an effective athletic program.

CONDUCT OF MERCER SCHOOL ATHLETES

Participation in athletics is a privilege that must be earned. A person becomes an athlete through hard work, desire, sacrifice and self-discipline. The privilege of participating in athletics at Mercer is offered to all boys and girls as long as they are willing to assume certain responsibilities.

Your first responsibility is to be a credit to yourself, but an even greater responsibility is to be a credit to your parents, school and community. To accomplish your responsibilities, it is required that you:

1. Display high standards of social behavior.

2. Display proper respect for those in authority, including teachers, coaches, and officials.

3. Have a real spirit of cooperation and coachable attitude.

4. Display outstanding sportsmanship and a desire to do your best.

5. Use appropriate language.

6. Keep yourself clean and neat at all times. Extremes in grooming and dress will not be tolerated.

Student athletes set an example for other students to follow. Any actions unbecoming an athlete in or out of school will be dealt with by the coaches or as minor or major code violations.

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY RULES***ENFORCED TWELVE MONTHS A YEAR

A well-disciplined mind is a requirement for a well-conditioned body. The combination of both makes a successful athlete. The best performance each person is capable of doing comes only after the body and mind have been conditioned through a regular training routine. This is why we have training rules.

The code applies to student athletes, cheerleaders, and managers. It will be enforced on a year round, twelve-month basis, becoming effective on the first day of athletic participation at Mercer School. Senior athletes are reminded that graduation does not signify the end of the training rules for spring sports.

Any code or rule violations for student athletes in 5th to 8th grade are cumulative. Once entering grade 9 all student athletes offenses start over but offenses are then cumulative until they graduate from high school.

WIAA CONSTITUTION PREVAILS

A student may participate in interscholastic athletics in the Mercer School District as long as the student meets all WIAA requirements and refrains from any acts in violation of WIAA rules and School Board Athletic Policies. The Official WIAA Constitution, by-laws, regulations, and guidelines as set forth annually in the WIAA Handbook and received as a condition of membership by all schools, shall govern in all instances except as herein modified by local board policy. These rules include but are not limited to:

1.Having a current WIAA physical card, signed by the physician, on file with the athletic director. To be

current, the physical must be taken after April 1st to qualify for the next two years.

2.Having a parent/student athlete rules of eligibility acknowledgement sign-off form on file with the Athletic

Director.

3. Having the appropriate parental permission card signed and on file with the athletic director.

4.Complying with all the rules and regulations of the coaching staff as reviewed and agreed upon by the

athletic director and administration of the School District of Mercer. It shall be the duty of each head coach to review and discuss training rules and policies at the start of each season with the team members. It shall be the responsibility of the individual athlete to know the training rules as they pertain to each sport. Ignorance is no excuse.

ATTENDANCE

1.Excused and unexcused absences for athletes is identical to the policy as published in the Mercer Student

Handbook.

2. The student/athlete must be in attendance the entire day of the competition or the athlete is not

permitted to compete in the event unless excused by the Principal. The student/athlete is also expected to be in attendance the entire day following, if school is in session. Exceptions can be approved by the Principal.

Students that violate this attendance policy will be issued a: 1)first offense – warning; or 2) second or

subsequent offenses – student/athlete being held out of the next scheduled athletic contest.

3.Athletes are expected to attend all practices and contests. Injury or illness will be a legitimate excuse for

absence. Other reasons for absence must be cleared with the coach. If extra help sessions conflict with practices, those obligations shall be fulfilled and the athlete will report to practice immediately after the session. The coach should be notified in advance if the athlete is going to miss part or all of any practice, otherwise the coach might impose penalties.

4.Athletes who are suspended from school under the school disciplinary policy may not attend extracurricular

events at home or away and may not practice nor participate in athletic events on the day(s) of suspension. If the duration of the suspension is over a weekend or a vacation period, the above language remains in effect.

5.a. To help foster a sense of team membership, student/athletes are expected to travel to and from out of

town contests in school provided transportation, unless the student’s parents/guardians make arrangements

with the coach to personally transport the student/athlete from the event. The parent must speak directly

with the coach and provide the coach with a note, dated and signed, stating they are taking their child home.

b. The School District of Mercer will not assume any responsibility for any student who misses the

prescribed mode of transportation to a contest and attempts to travel to a contest site on his/her own. The student/athlete may not be able to participate in the contest at the discretion of the coach.

c. Exceptions will be made for excused absences as previously listed, and the Principal is given a written

note from the parent beforehand.

ACADEMIC SCHOLASTIC REQUIREMENTS

WIAA by-laws dictate scholastic requirements for Mercer School athletes with the exception that Mercer School Board Policy allows no athlete to receive a letter grade of “F” in any academic subject for a nine-week grading period. Any athlete who receives a failing grade on the day the report cards are mailed will be suspended for academic ineligibility and monitored by the coach and athletic director. The athlete must be doing passing work in that subject before being reinstated to athletic eligibility by the athletic director.

Athletes may be able to resume practice with the team by requesting grade estimates from their teachers after 5 school days. If the grade estimates show the athlete to again be passing all classes, they may again practice with the team. The athlete who has been reinstated to practice is expected to attend all games with the team and sit on the team bench in clothing appropriate for athletes attending games. The athlete will again be eligible for interscholastic competition after 15 consecutive scheduled school days and nights from the date of ineligibility.

The ineligibility status described will be adjusted for students in fall sports in which the date of earliest allowed competition is before the first day students are in class. The minimum ineligibility period shall be the lesser of (1) 21 consecutive calendar days beginning with the date of earliest allowed competition in a sport or (2) one-third of the maximum number of games/meets allowed in a sport (rounded up if one-third results in a fraction).

In addition, athletes receiving a mid-quarter deficiency slip will have their work examined by the coach and the teacher involved. The athlete may be expected to get special help from the teacher or be suspended from practice and competition until a passing grade is obtained. Suspension will be at the coach’s discretion.

Any deviation from these rules must be agreed upon by the athletic board and approved by the District Administrator.

CODE VIOLATIONS

1.Minor Violations include, but are not limited to, curfew, unexcused and other absences, dress and grooming

code, and failure to obey established rules in the classroom and in other areas. These may be based upon

reports and referrals from school administration. The coach and/or athletic director, subject to the veto of administration and Board of Education, will determine penalties for these violations.

In-school suspensions are defined to be over at the end of the school day. Any out-of-school suspension will result in no participation in any sport of any kind during the suspension, and the athlete will not participate in the next athletic contest

2.Major Violations - The Mercer School Athletic Code is in full accord with WIAA rules and will be followed on a

year-round basis. Any major violation is a serious matter and subject to the most severe of disciplinary

measures.

Major violations include: 1)Possession or use of alcoholic beverages or tobacco in any form: 2) Purchasing,

possession, selling, or use of any controlled drug; and 3)Any conduct that is considered illegal, theft

(valued at $25 or more), vandalism, fighting, or criminal law violations, not including minor traffic violations.

INTERPRETATIONS

Major violations for areas (1) (2) & (3) above are cumulative, meaning that a 1st offense in one area shall be construed to be a 1st offense in either area. Any violation and penalty occurring previous to this document shall be considered part of this document when considering the number of offenses. “Holding” an alcoholic, tobacco, or controlled drug product shall be considered use of the product. Attendance at events where illegal use of such products is occurring is prohibited. Athletes should avoid placing themselves in situations where their guilt or innocence is questioned.

If an athlete is suspended for a major violation, the athlete will forfeit the right to any special post-season award, i.e., MVP, Most Improved, for that sport. Letter winners are to be determined in the normal fashion at the discretion of the coach. If the suspension carries into the next sport season or the next year, the athlete must finish that season in good standing or none of the suspension time served is counted toward the violation.

PENALTIES

Any code or rule violations for student athletes in 5th to 8th grade are cumulative. Once entering grade 9 all student athletes offenses start over but offenses are then cumulative until they graduate from high school.

(Mercer Student Handbook rules will supercede any of these rules if they are harsher)

Minor Code Violations – Any minor athletic code violation(s) are administered by the individual coach/athletic director.

Major Code Violations

  1. A.1st offense: Suspension of competition in one (1) scheduled contest to be determined by the coach in

conjunction with the Athletic Director. In addition, the suspended athlete must complete 10 hours of community/school service, with the approval of the athletic director, within one month of conviction or after all appeals. The athlete who has a one game suspension from competition for their first offense is expected to practice with the team, attend all games with the team at the coaches discretion, and sit on the team bench in clothing appropriate for athletes attending games if appropriate. If the student athlete does not comply with this, the contest will not count as their suspension.

B. 2nd offense: Suspension of competition of one third (1/3) of the regularly scheduled contests plus 15

hours of community/school service, with the approval of the athletic director, within one month of the violation. If less than that number of contest suspensions remains in the season, the suspension carries into the next athletic season in which the athlete participates.

C. 3rd offense: One calendar year suspension, in all sports, from the date of the incident. If the violation

involves alcohol, drugs, or tobacco use, the student athlete must submit to assessment counseling and complete an approved AODA Program.

D. 4th offense: Permanent suspension from Mercer High School interscholastic athletic program.

Repeated offenses in the same category of offense shall be interpreted as a signal that a destructive pattern is emerging. The priority of the Mercer School District is student welfare and education. Therefore, if, after a second or third major code violation in the areas listed under major violations, the athlete and/or family seek out professional assessment and counseling appropriate to the offense, the athlete may petition the athletic board to consider reducing the penalty by one half. To be considered for penalty reduction, the athlete must provide the athletic board with a written program with content, method, goals and completion requirements signed by the counselor.

Professional assessment and counseling programs include, but are not limited to: Smoking Cessation, AODA programs, Anger Management, Coping Skills, Stress Management, and individual counseling programs. The approval for the program shall come from the athletic board with input from appropriate staff such as the Medical Director, School Psychologist, School Nurse, or Iron County Social Services, as warranted.

If the athletic board approves the program, and reduces the penalty, the student will be notified. Attendance documentation will be required and submitted weekly to the athletic director. If the athlete withdraws from the program without written counselor approval, the full penalty will be immediately reinstated.

APPEALS BOARD

In any case, where a major violation has occurred, and is being contested/challenged, a meeting of the Appeals Board shall be called.

1. The board is composed of the athletic director, all head coaches of the high school teams, one non-coaching teacher and one representative from the middle school coaching staff. The cheerleading advisor is considered to be a head coach. The principal is an ex-officio member and has a vote only in case of tie votes among regular members. Each member of the committee has one vote only even if they coach multiple teams.

2. The athletic director is chairman of the board and conducts business in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

3. Three members plus one administrator constitute a quorum and a simple majority conducts business.

4. The athletic director will serve as fact-finder for all reported violations and will enforce all penalties set forth and have jurisdiction in any matters not listed in the athletic code.

PROCEDURES REPORTING AND HANDLING VIOLATIONS

1. A person witnessing and or reporting a violation of the athletic code must submit a written statement to the athletic

director of the alleged violation. The infraction should be submitted in a timely fashion. No more than the present academic year or upcoming academic year if the infraction occurred in the previous summer. The statement shall include the time, place and type of violation and be properly signed. The person submitting the statement shall be made aware that the accused athletic code violator/parents will have access to the complaint.

2. A written confession made by a student/athlete personally shall be cause for discipline proceedings.

3. The athletic director will investigate and identify penalties for alleged violations of the athletic code. A fact

finding meeting, with the athletic director and coach, shall be held to make an initial determination on the

violation prior to the next contest, if possible.

4. If sufficient collaborative evidence is found, the athletic director will notify, both verbally and in writing, the

student athlete and parents involved. The athlete shall be informed of his rights of “Due Process”, of what the alleged violation is, and the date and time of the athletic board hearing.

5. A report of all disciplinary measures taken in the case of infractions by athletes shall be reported, in writing, to the athletic director and school administration, so a file may be kept for future reference. The administration shall keep the Board of Education appropriately informed.

Due Process

1. The athletic board will hold a hearing prior to the next contest, if possible, with the student athlete and/or

parents so that they may present their side of the issue. The student athlete may waive this hearing and the board will determine a penalty based on the athletic code violation penalties and the collaborative evidence.

2. The athletic board will review the evidence presented at the hearing and make a ruling as to whether the

athlete has committed a violation of the training rules. Results of the hearing shall be sent to the athlete and parents within three (3) school days, informing them of any penalty involved.

3. Athletes who are not satisfied with the decision of the athletic board may appeal the decision to a higher

authority. The following steps should be taken:

a. Within three school days after the athlete is notified of the athletic board decision, the athlete may file a

grievance in written form, with the District Administrator, to be reviewed by the Board of Education. The Board shall consider the appeal in executive session within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt of the appeal. Notification of the board’s final decision will be in writing within three (3) calendar days of the executive session.

b. If the athlete and/or parents remain dissatisfied, a review by the Executive Office of the WIAA may be

requested through the school.

c. Final appeal is to the Board of Control of the WIAA

ATHLETIC BOARD PENALTIES

The athletic board may modify this its penalties based on extenuating circumstances.

ADDITIONAL RULES

Any coach of any sport is vested with the authority to enforce reasonable rules of conduct and training which go beyond those specifically outlined either by WIAA or by School Board policy, but must be sure that those rules have been distributed in writing to each athlete involved. Rules and regulations, including the penalties for violation thereof, must go to the athlete, athletic director and administrator. This document does not supersede the Student Handbook, but is in addition to, the Student Handbook. Therefore, all rules in the Student Handbook and all School Board policies, apply to all students, including athletes

COMPLAINTS

Any person that has a concern and/or complaint about a Mercer athletic program shall contact the coach of the program first. If the person is not satisfied with the coach’s decision, the concerned complainant shall then contact the athletic director.

SUMMARY

To be eligible for athletic competition, an athlete must:

1. Follow the Code of Conduct for Mercer Athletes.

2. Obey all training rules and regulations.

3. Remain scholastically eligible.

4. Have a current physical examination form on file in the athletic director’s office.

5. Have a current parents’ permission form on file in the athletic director’s office.

6. Have a current athletic code commitment form signed by the athlete and parent filed in the athletic director’s office.

The athletic staff and administration believes that this Athletic Code will give athletes and their parents a better understanding of our athletic program’s rules and what it takes to be an athlete at the Mercer School. We ask parents for their commitment and cooperation in enforcing these rules and hope that a student athlete’s hard and diligent work in their athletic career helps to make them a more mature citizen.

First Reading: Policy Committee, April 20, 2009

First Reading:Policy Committee, May 11, 2009

First Reading:Policy Committee, June 1, 2009

Board Reading: Monday, June 29, 2009

Second ReadingPolicy Committee, July 28, 2009

Board ApprovalMonday, August 3, 2009

Revised:Policy Committee, March 1, 2010

Revised:Policy Committee, April 12, 2010

Board Approval:Monday, April 26, 2010

A downloadable copy of the handbook is available here: 2012-13 Athletic Handbook