Team Eligibility Policies
Team Affiliation Policy
The following policy specifies under what circumstances a player may be placed on a school's team. It is the intent of the policy to balance two conflicting priorities:
- It is the responsibility of WHSCA to encourage kids to play chess, and
- It is the responsibility of WHSCA to preserve the integrity of "team competition."
This policy may be "tweaked" as it is implemented. The WHSCA board and the Eligibility Commission have the responsibility to implement both the letter and the spirit of this policy. In the event of a circumstance that clearly falls outside the parameters contained herein, the board, in consultation with the eligibility commission, will do as they see fit to follow the spirit of this policy.
Any player's primary option is to play for the school that he/she attends. In the case of homeschooled students or private school students who attend a school without a program (as defined below), they have the right to play for their resident public school (if one is explicitly stated in district policy) or, if one is not explicitly stated, the public school closest to their home residence.
If a student's primary option does not have a program, then he/she may play only for their "secondary option": the next closest "mainstream" public school. "Closest" is measured "as the crow flies" from the student's home address. In the event of some ambiguity as to what the "home address" is, as best as possible it should be the address where he/she resides most often during the school week. In the event an alternative school is the next closest, a player can play for them if they have a program but if not they may extend the radius of the search to the next closest public school. Thus, the presence of alternative schools without programs does not limit the options of where students can play.
For the State Team Tournament, team affiliation requires that a player has established at least some record of participation with the team. At the 2009 State Team Coaches Meeting it was decided by a substantial majority vote that a if player plays in at least two of his/her team's league matches the participation requirement will be considered met. A recent new registrant player at the school will be exempt from this requirement.
Limitations on Non-Primary Players
A school's team can have at most 2 players for whom the school is their secondary option. Note that this does not affect private or homeschooled students who are playing for their primary option school. This policy is in place to prevent one school being the draw for all public schools in an entire region.
In addition, no more than one player can move from any particular "primary option" to a secondary option. In other words, if at least 2 students have a particular school as their primary option, and the school does not currently have a program, they may not play for a different school (even if the students would have different secondary options). This policy is in place to encourage 2 or more kids to form a team rather than play elsewhere.
Definition of a Program
- A Washington State high school-affiliated group that meets at least twice monthly (for match or practice)
- Said group should compete in local league play if available.
Other Eligibility Requirements
A student must be in grade 9-12 at their high school (or equivalent). In the case of "Running Start" programs, the student will still be considered "in the building" if they are still registered at their High School and have not yet received their high school diploma.
Students who graduate at winter semester may continue to participate for the remainder of the year. Students who graduate at a fall trimester are NOT allowed to participate after graduation.
Currently, there is no 4-year limit for varsity chess. Players who attend high school for a fifth year (or more) are eligible.
The Eligibility Commission
The Eligibility Commission is an appeal body of 5-7 members established by the WHSCA board. It elects its own chair from its membership. The members should be appointed from a variety of leagues, geographical locations and school sizes, but all should be active in state chess tournaments and events.
The WHSCA Board applies the eligibility policy as needed. The Board, when approving a player to play for another school, will notify the Commission Chair through email. The Commission Chair will then pass on the information to the Commission itself. A Commission member may question a decision and bring it to a Commission vote (simple majority).
The Commission can be activated in 3 other ways:
- If an individual (player, coach, or parent) requests an appeal of a Board decision, they may submit the appeal to the commission, which will handle the matter in as timely a matter as possible.
- If the WHSCA board cannot come to consensus on an eligibility issue, they may pass it off to the Commission for a timely resolution.
- The Commission should review the policies and make amendments as needed. The information should be sent via email to as many coaches as possible. At the State Team coaches' meeting at the end of the year, any proposed changes in policy should be presented.
- To facilitate their work, the commission relies upon electronic communication. All commission members should have consistent access to email.