Andover HS proposes new athletic policy
ANDOVER, Mass. (WHDH) -- Andover High School officials are proposing a new athletic policy that would bar freshman from playing varsity sports in an effort to prevent hazing.
School officials say they want to change the culture in the school's sports programs after a hazing incident last summer.
The school has posted a proposed policy online that would keep freshman athletes off of varsity teams in most cases.
The school's explanation notes there are developmental differences between high-school age players. It also notes the plan could raise controversy.
Andover school officials are considering a new athletic code that cracks down on hazing. But the code comes with a controversial caveat.
“It's really unfortunate that the poor choices of a few have ramifications for generations moving forward. It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Megan Cuff, a parent.
The school made headlines for reports that two young members of the Andover basketball team had been forced into a humiliating sex game during an overnight stay at Stonehill College for a team training camp.
Now, Andover is considering whether freshman athletes should be barred from playing varsity sports.
The move has some saying that could compromise a kid's athletic development.
“I think it's tough on some of the kids that are good. They should be able to play,” said Don Schroeder, a grandparent.
If the proposed rule is a reaction to a hazing scandal, some parents of young athletes in the district wonder whether the response makes sense.
“Keeping freshmen away from sophomores, juniors, seniors is not going to put an end to it,” said Kelley Flemming, a parent.
While some parents argue decisions about a team should come down to what's best for each kid, some athletes say their school needs to consider what's best for its teams.
“My freshman year some freshman kids really helped out a varsity team and helped them win a few games,” said Sean Kucharski, a student athlete.
There are exceptions to the proposed rule. If a sport does not have a freshman level or junior varsity team, freshman could then play on the varsity level.
The proposal will be discussed at a school committee meeting Friday morning.