Big changes are coming to elementary sports at the start of the upcoming school year.

Girls’ basketball will now compete in the fall and a new age group will define basketball and football starting this year.

The new rules were passed as part of the Athletic Handbook Monday night during the monthly board of education meeting.

Moving girl’s basketball to the fall will now give teams more practice time.

“In the past we’ve had four teams at each school along with the cheer teams competing for gym time to practice,” elementary athletic director Paul Hughes said.  “Now we will be able to have much more practice time for each team during their seasons.”

The change will begin this year.  The girls’ basketball tip-off showcase will be held Saturday, August 10that Clay County High School.

Also new this upcoming year will be the use of age divisions instead of having 5/6thgrade teams and 3/4thgrade teams.

Because this rule is being adopted this year without advance notification to students and parents, any student who would have been eligible in the former 3.4 grade division and will be 10 year-old throughout the entire sports season and will be 19 year-old on or after August 1 of his/her senior year in high school, will be eligible to participate in both age divisions subject to the approval of the principal and athletic director.

Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, the division will be 10 and under and 10 and up.  The date for determining age for division eligibility will be August 1 per KHSAA bylaws.

Students will be allowed to participate only in his/her age division (except as explained previously). Each school will have a 10 and under age division and a 10 and up age division.

If a school does not have the sufficient number of students required at the designated age level, the school may request a waiver filed with the elementary athletic director.

Students grade 1-6 are eligible to participate in cheerleading.  Individual schools will decide whether to have separate girls and boys’ squads.

Hughes said the new age division change was brought about due to numerous requests from coaches and parents wishing to have their children compete with others closer in age.

“For several seasons this has been the most requested change for elementary sports,” Hughes told the board. “This new rule should even the playing field for our student-athletes and have them competing against peers their own age.”

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