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BOE may change or eliminate ‘selection classification’ in Cazenovia athletics

— The Cazenovia district extracurricular handbook states that “students, teachers, coaches or parents/guardians may request the athletic administrator to process a student through the Selection Classification screening procedure. Any seventh or eighth grade student, who wishes to participate on a high school sponsored interscholastic team, needs to apply to be a candidate for this process in writing at least four-weeks prior to the start date for the specific sport they are hoping to play.”

The Selection Classification program was started by New York state in the 1980s, and the current Cazenovia policy — which requires that potential program participants fill out an application, write an essay and undergo a physical and emotional maturity exams — was instituted about five years ago, Byrnes said.

Marris said the Selection Classification program as described by Byrnes to the board and as written in district policy is “totally incorrect,” and she declared herself “so angry” that the changes the board made to the program last year have not been implemented.

Byrnes said he had “never heard of this” policy change.

Byrnes defended the program as something most school districts have and that without it many players and parents would charge an unreasonable “discrimination” against superior athletes who are in seventh and eighth grades. He said that last year one female athlete left the Cazenovia district specifically because she was denied a Selection Classification advancement.

“There’s a whole other side to this that is serious,” Byrnes told the board. “If we don’t do this we’ll have a bunch of parents lined up outside the doors angry.”

Marris, who said she has been fighting to change this program for years, said Selection Classification is “inherently unfair” to older students who lose playing time to younger athletes. She said the younger athletes have an opportunity to play at the seventh and eighth grade levels if they are not moved up to junior varsity or varsity, but the upper grade athletes who get benched have no other place to play.

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