Considering the dynamics that go into sports, most people do not acknowledge the fact that there are certain guidelines that apply to the players themselves.
At every high school, there are students who go beyond expectations to become an exceptional athlete. Many are talented enough to handle playing at the varsity level.
However, being a varsity athlete requires more than just talent. GBHS boys’ varsity soccer coach Steve Fischer says that he looks for a variety of qualities when it comes to selecting players for his team.
“Skill is always at the forefront,” Fischer said, “but it also has to do with speed, not necessarily sprinting speed but speed of play, speed of thought and sometimes just raw speed.”
Even if a junior varsity player is talented enough to meet the expectations required to play at a varsity level, that player has to be physically able to handle it.
“These are young men, 18 years of age; their bodies are more mature (than) lower classmen,” JV football coach Jason Rath said. “They have to be physically capable to compete in order to be on the team.”
However, this is not an impossible task. Both coaches have underclassmen playing on varsity teams.
One such player is GBHS sophomore Brendan Keeney. Being the starting quarterback for the varsity football team, Keeney faces many challenges. One such challenge, as mentioned by Rath, is trying to compete with the physically mature upper classmen players.
GBHS sophomore Cody Giddings is also a sophomore playing on a varsity team. On the boys’ varsity soccer team Giddings makes up for his age with skill. His talent is apparent in his performance, with ten goals this year.
But the real question is, whether or not it is possible for these younger, yet exceptional athletes, to ever move back down to their initial age group to help out their team.
Considering they are of the right age and school year it would only make sense, right?
Well actually yes and no.
“My understanding of the CIF rule is that as soon as an underclassman plays a single second of a varsity league game, they cannot go back down,” Fischer said.
Just because players can’t move down after playing a varsity game, it doesn’t mean they can’t be moved up. As with any rule, there are loopholes that make it possible for JV players to test the waters of varsity.
During preseason games, coaches can move players around as they please.
“Even (in) a practice game in the middle of the season we, can move them up and down as long as it’s not a league game,” Fischer said.
During section finals, players are permitted to move up to varsity to help out the team, but as soon as they take one step on that field, they cannot move down, even if it is only for a second.
These guidelines are in affect to all sports whose rules revolve around the CIF handbook. All CIF athletes must follow these guidelines.
“If you’re on varsity, you’re on varsity,” Rath said.