Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby Jersey47 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:35 pm

I believe that the NCJLA should adopt the recent age definitions US Lacrosse is using for participation in their national championships. If you are U-15 you are U-15 it is that simple. Whether or not you are also in the 8th grade or not should have no bearing. If someone is U-15 aged qualified they should not be excluded from playing on a U-15 NCJLA team because they are in the 9th grade. I believe that many players who are in fact in 9th grade, but are U-15 would choose to play for their High School team, but it should be their choice not the NCJLA's. Use the model for US Hockey- if you are younger than 15 you get to play in that division, simple and fair. If you are younger than 15 but have the skill and ability to play "Up" you still can, again simple and fair. In my opinion, if you do not stipulate a grade level for any of the other age divisions, you should not stipulate it for just one. When the NCJLA moved from grade based to age based it created a "stir" for awhile, but is was the right thing to do. I feel that adding the additional stipulation to the U-15 age bracket that the player must also be in the 8th grade is unnecessary. For next season (2011) to be age eligible to play U-15 you must have a birth year of 1996 or 1997. How many 1996 birth year players are out there who will not be in 9th grade? I know for our club there are none. Why? They are under 15 years of age, that should be the only criteria.
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby SkylineCoach » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:33 pm

Just my $.02... anyone who recommends a 14 year old 9th grader play for a youth team instead of his HS team (even if its JV) does NOT have that player's overall best interests & personal development as a top priority.

You get to high school, play for your school.
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby Jersey47 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:03 pm

What about the situation where there is no option to play High School lacrosse? There are youth organizations that don't have a high school team affiliated with their club. Additionally there are CIF HS teams that can't allow a kid from "across" town who is not attending that school to play. There are players that physically are not ready to compete as a 14 year freshman on a JV team with 16 or 17 year old 11th graders. Again the "age base" is the simplest and fairest way to determine the "cutoff". Nothing will stop said 14 year old freshman from playing on the HS school team. Perhaps he is even a "phenom" and can play Varsity. More power to him!! I have no problem with that whatsoever. My issue is forcing a smaller, younger, and possibly even brand new to the game, type player to play JV lacrosse when he can "legally" play in a division more suited to his physical stature, and skill level. Not every kid who gets involved with lacrosse is looking to make anything more out of it than an enjoyable "pastime". There are plenty of avenues for the upper level and "elite" players to challenge his or herself to the fullest. The restrictions of age are enough to keep the game safe without the extra restriction of what grade you're in being a factor. Especially when it is only applied to one age group. That's my .02 cents.
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby picknroll » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:51 pm

U15 is the middle school league. That's who should be playing in it.

I am in favor of 9th grade lacrosse at HS. The big sports in my town (football, basketball, baseball) have three HS teams: 9th grade, JV, and Varsity. Hopefully some day we'll ge there with lacrosse. DLS is already there and Amador Valley tried this year but school budget cuts got in the way. Maybe when the economy bounces back.
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby backdoor » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:25 pm

J47,
You have a good point about the 9th graders. There are 9th graders left out that fit the age bracket of U15. The league pushed for age based teams a few years ago because it made the most sense. A player shouldn't be allowed play in his age bracket because they're in 9th grade? The league allows older players to play down in certain situations. If age is the more important factor in splitting the players, then why would we use grade to disallow someone to play in their age bracket yet ALLOW older players to play down? The league allows for teams to petition to allow a player to play down by age, so they should be able to play "down" by grade.

SkylineCoach wrote:Just my $.02... anyone who recommends a 14 year old 9th grader play for a youth team instead of his HS team (even if its JV) does NOT have that player's overall best interests & personal development as a top priority.

If my kid were an undersized 14yr old 1st-year 9th grade laxer, I'd say his overall best interest is safety and then second would be to enjoy the sport, and I'd be perfectly happy with him playing on a U15B team.
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby Jersey47 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:50 pm

BD- thanks for the supported point of view. Here is a "clip" from the US Lacrosse website regarding the U15 National Championships.

Age Definition
Player may not be 15 years of age on or before December 31, 2009 to be eligible for the 2010 US Lacrosse U15 National Championship. Accordingly, players that turn 15 after December 31, 2009 are eligible. (To participate, players must turn 15 years or younger in the 2010 competition year. If a player turns 16 in 2010, he/she is not eligible).


US Lacrosse recognizes that this age definition does not match what is currently in the 2009 and 2010 NHFS and US Lacrosse rule books. The disqualifier for high school competition used at the US Lacrosse U-15 Youth Festival was purposely omitted from the participation requirements for this event to allow for broader participation.

Broader participation? That certainly sounds like something beneficial to a players development. Again I'm not proposing that players "play down" to U-15 if they clearly can handle the test of playing at a higher level. I agree it is in that particular player's best interest and development to play at the level that he is best suited for. For some 14 year old 9th graders that would mean high school lacrosse, for others it doesn't. My club currently has many kids who would qualify as U-15 aged players next year. All of them will be 9th graders. Some of them (1 to 4) have a shot at making the Varsity team, many will be contributors on the JV team, and several would struggle as U-15 B level players. For those in the latter group is it really in their best interest to "ride the pine" for a JV team? Instead of having an 23 member Varsity Team, and a 23 member JV team, and only 8 players who meet the NCJLA "double criteria" for U-15 (which would mean essentially no U-15 team). Would it not be better for all parties concerned to have three teams of roughly 18 or so players? I think so. Please don't comeback with... "recruit more U-15 aged players", as we do try to, and always will, but as we all know that is sometimes easier said than done. I think any scenario that potentially sends as many as 8 kids away because there is no team for them is a real shame. The idea is to grow the sport not hinder it.
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby SkylineCoach » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:56 am

For those in the latter group is it really in their best interest to "ride the pine" for a JV team?


IMO - yes. There's so much more to sports than playing. If all your friends are staying on campus for practice every day, would you really want to go practice somewhere else with a bunch of 7th & 8th graders instead? So the kid might not get game minutes. Undersized, inexperienced... I'll bet every one of us played with a 9th grader who met that definition, who was then a team leader by 12th grade.

So a senior who's not quite good enough to play in college, or too small, or too slow, or hasn't played before... maybe he could petition to play one more year for his HS team while attending a local college. Yeah right.
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby Jersey47 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:10 am

So a senior who's not quite good enough to play in college, or too small, or too slow, or hasn't played before... maybe he could petition to play one more year for his HS team while attending a local college. Yeah right.


Sky- You're talking apples and oranges here. I say "tomato" and you say "bowling shoes". Okay, in your opinion a player or players would be better served to ride the pine for their HS team. Fine. Statistics do not bear out or support your argument, but that's okay. You are "entitled" to your opinion. I am not talking about "forcing" a player to play down or not giving him an opportunity to play with his friends, to the contrary I am advocating that he has such opportunity. I agree that participation in sports offers many things, (both good and bad) other than just playing. However, most kids playing sports want to play, not sit the bench. I'm merely advocating that age definition should be just that. The choice should be the player's on whether he plays for his HS team (if there even is one) a scenario which by the way you never addressed. What may be right for one player is not always going to be right for the other. The 2010 NFHS rule book no longer even stipulates that a U-15 player must be in the 8th grade. So my point is neither should the NCJLA.

Excerpted from 2010 NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules Book

2010 Rules for Youth Lacrosse
Age and Eligibility Guidelines

US Lacrosse establishes eligibility guidelines in order to promote the game of lacrosse among the youth of America in a safe and sportsmanlike environment. US Lacrosse believes that this goal can best be achieved by facilitating playing opportunities that seek to establish a "level playing field" among players of similar age, size, and ability.
(That's strange... no mention of grade here)

Age and Eligibility Guidelines are not considered "game-day rules" and are not enforced as game-day rules by officials. Specific age and eligibility requirements are established by the lacrosse league or association in which a team participates.

League and Association Play. US Lacrosse recommends that leagues should be organized by age. Existing leagues or associations may maintain their current groupings. Physical and cognitive maturity should be considered when grouping players. If your program has enough players, physically disparate groups should play separately, if possible. US Lacrosse also recommends that players that have participated in any high-school level program as a member of a high school freshman, JV-B, junior varsity, or varsity team should not be considered eligible for U-15 competition.
(The players I'm talking about have not yet participated in any HS level play.)

The following are suggested groupings, with ages determined as of December 31st in the year preceding competition:

Middle School:
(Okay ya got me here)
Senior Division: 15 and Under. May have competitive divisions grouped by ability.
(Again the wording referring to a grade has been removed from the 2010 rule book. Previous rule books specified "in grade 8 or below".)

Junior Divsion: 13 and Under. May have competitive divisions grouped by ability.

Note: Players 13 years old may have difficulty playing with 15 year old players.
(Hmmm, really? But a 14 year old should have no problem playing with a 16 or 17 year old?)

Using your own words... "Yeah right".
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby SkylineCoach » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:49 am

Dude, relax. All I ever said was IMO. That stands for In My Opinion.

This conversation isn't worth it. I'm out
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Re: Age level (or definition) should mean true age level

Postby picknroll » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:51 am

Like many issues in Nor Cal youth lacrosse, where you stand depends on where you sit.

In established EBAL feeder programs like my club's there is no need to bring HS players into the youth program. Doing so would certainly change the nature of youth lacrosse and thus introduce unintended consequences. I believe our current U15A (and 8A before it) system has been great in developing players for HS. Just look at guys that are now going NCAA DI from those teams just a few years ago. It's a rousing success story I think. Not the kind of thing you want to mess with. The youth club develops middle school and younger players and sends them off to play in high school. Pretty good system.

Now if you are in an area that lacks strong CIF HS infrastructure I can see where it is tempting to keep your 9th graders in the youth program and play U15.

NCJLA covers a wide geography with huge variances in the maturity level of lacrosse within those area. What may seem absurd to some of us may be logical to others - depending on your area and circumstance (and thus where you stand depends on where you sit). I spent some time on the NCJLA Board and this became highly apparent. Most NCJLA solutions are a compromise at best. There's no "one size fits all" answer.

The best that a club or coach can do is get involved and make sure your voice is heard. We all pay our team fees and have the right to take our opinions to the NCJLA. You can even get involved as a Board Member. They are always looking for people. You've just got to remember that there we are a highly heterogeneous body of clubs and you need be able to look at issues from multiple perpectives. It can be quite eye opening if you do.

Backdoor, I am not sure what situations you have seen the NCJLA allow someone to play down. In my tenure on the Board we never approved such request unless there was a "special needs" player involved. One year I even tried to move down a couple of U11B players with Dec birthdays to U9 to better balance out our numbers. I figured no harm there since they were both non-competitive divisions and I was only asking for 30 days lenience. I was politely but firmly told "no" to my request on the grounds that if they gave that excecption to me that it opened the door to other situations which may not be so well meaning. Fair enough. I've got no problem with that.

Skylinecoach, I was thinking the same thing about college! I considered myself a pretty good HS football player but the NCAA college that I attended was not so impressed with my abilities so sadly my career ended. Man it sure would have been nice to have gone back and play on Friday nights at the HS :) As far as that goes I wonder if they would take me now? Now that's an idea!
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