Athletic Codes: Know What You’re Signing?


Lex Minnick, Staff Reporter

[This article is part of our “Busted!” issue]

Recently at Indian River High School, five student athletes have been suspended from the football team for an undetermined time. The local media has been very vague on the issue giving little to no detail on what truly happened to the five players. [Ed.: and District staff like teachers are unable to legally comment on student discipline records.]

It all comes down to the code of conduct and what was broken during this “instance” with the five athletes. But did the athletes sign the contract knowing this could happen to them? Or did they simply think they wouldn’t get caught?

When you sign a code of conduct for high school sports, do you know what you’re really “agreeing” to? If you don’t sign it are you still eligible to play? Many kids agree to the contract and don’t realize what the contract is saying on what they can and cannot do.

If you’re someone who likes to go out and have a good time, you probably should read the fine print and find out what is expected of you. High school althetic codes of conduct have strict policies including not being able to go to parties in which drinking and drugs could possibly be involved. But also on your own time.

Student athletes are held to high standards while in season, whether in school or outside of school. There’s truly no option whether to sign the contract or not. If you don’t, it’s simply not possible to play on the team.

In many instances, athletes break the code of conduct and get in some sort of trouble because of it; school wise or on a legal basis–sometimes both.

Indian River High School’s case is not the only issue that has happened relating to the breaking of a school’s code of conduct. In mid September at South Portland High School in Maine, a member of their football team was suspended for the suspected drug use and “hazing.”

According to Portland Press Herald, Superintendent Ken Kunin said, “The only fair thing to do was to question everyone.” Although only one student was suspended, the school felt it was necessary to question everyone.

But the real questions are left unanswered: how often do students break the code of conduct without getting caught?  What happens when they do face consequences?

IR athletes spoke before the Board of Education last night to appeal their consequences, but as of press time, the Board has not lifted any team suspensions.

UPDATE: As of Monday, 9/28/15, the Indian River BoE has upheld the suspensions.