Athletic Code (pages 28-38)

All athletes are expected to follow the IHS Student Handbook and the Athletic Code found on pages 28-38.  Please review the student handbook and the athletic code by clicking on the link below.

IHS Student Handbook 2018-19



The Ionia High School Athletic Code is established under the authority of the Ionia Board of Education. The purpose of the Athletic Code is to establish standards of academic performance and behavior for students involved in interscholastic athletic programs and the penalties for failure to meet the standards. The privilege of being permitted to participate in the Ionia High School Athletic Program is subject to compliance with these standards. Ionia High School interscholastic athletic programs are affiliated with the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

The standards of this code meet or exceed the standards of the MHSAA. Reference: Handbook of the Michigan High School Athletic Association for Junior/ Middle Schools and Senior High School.


Those students who have expressed an interest in being on an interscholastic team or who are trying out for an interscholastic team.


The athlete is subject to all provisions of the code effective on his/her initial enrollment date in high school or when trying out for an interscholastic team, whichever comes first. The athlete is subject to the Code at all times and places whether school is in session or not.


The Ionia Athletic Program will develop individual and team potential by promoting high standards of character, community, and competition.

Ionia Athletic Program Standards

Character: Student-Athletes of high character will demonstrate the following:

  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Dedication
  • Respect
  • Sportsmanship
  • Caring

Community: Student-Athletes in a quality program will demonstrate the values of community through actions showing evidence of:

  • Loyalty
  • Commitment
  • Sacrifice
  • Role Modeling
  • Charity/Service
  • Pride- Self, School, and Community 

Competition: Student-Athletes will perform at the highest levels while demonstrating:

  • Resiliency
  • Skill Development
  • Effort
  • Fitness/Conditioning
  • Knowledge of the Game
  • Goal Setting (Growth Mindset)
  • Passion


Rationale: We believe that students’ participation in extracurricular activities plays an important part in the development of self-concept, social skills and citizenship. The intent of the academic eligibility policy is to encourage academic success and social growth.

Standard: A student must meet MHSAA eligibility standards by passing at least 66% of his/her classes at the end of each semester and during eligibility checks during the season to be eligible to participate in athletics.

Eligibility – During Semester:

A student is deemed eligible to participate if he/she passes at least 66% of his/her classes. Eligibility checks will be conducted two times for each sports season and at the end of the semester. Any student not passing 66% of their classes will be ineligible to compete in interscholastic scrimmages and contests for a minimum of one week (Monday through Sunday) or until the next eligibility check.

Once deemed ineligible to participate a student may regain their eligible status by proving to the athletic director that they have brought up their grades to meet MHSAA standards. It is the students responsibility to arrange a meeting with the athletic director to regain their eligible status.

Eligibility: At the End of Each Semester

A student who fails to pass at least 66% of his/her classes at the end of the semester is deemed ineligible to participate in interscholastic scrimmages and contests for a minimum of 60 school days.


The rules governing interscholastic athletes are set forth below. The rules are in addition to the rules established in the Code of Student Conduct. A student may be disciplined for violations of the Code of Student Conduct and the Athletic Code arising out of the same incident.

Specific Offenses / Penalties

  • Use of and/or possession of tobacco in any form at any time and the use of and/or e-cigarettes (Vaping) on school grounds.

          ➢ *First Offense: Consecutive suspension from 1/2 of the season’s contests

➢ Second Offense: Suspension for six consecutive school calendar months

          ➢ Third Offense: Suspension for twelve consecutive calendar months

*First offense penalties may be reduced to 1⁄4 of the-season’s contests if student offender enrolls and completes counseling/ treatment program.

  • Consumption, possession, or under the influence of alcoholic beverages at any time.

           ➢ *First Offense: Consecutive suspension from 1/2 of the season’s contests

➢ Second Offense: Suspension for six consecutive school calendar months

➢ Third Offense: Suspension for twelve consecutive calendar months

*First offense penalties may be reduced to 1⁄4 of the season’s contests if student offender enrolls and completes counseling/ treatment program.

  • Use or possession of illegal, controlled, or behavior-altering, non-prescription drugs or substances at any time. This includes substances purported to be hallucinogenic or illegal drugs or to have the effects of such drugs.

          ➢ *First Offense: Consecutive suspension from 1/2 of the season’s contests

          ➢ Second Offense: Suspension for six consecutive school calendar months

          ➢ Third Offense: Suspension for twelve consecutive calendar months

*First offense penalties may be reduced to 1⁄4 of the season’s contests if student offender enrolls and completes a counseling/treatment program.

  • Sale or distribution of illegal, controlled, or behavior-altering drugs or substances. This includes purported substances to be hallucinogenic or illegal drugs or to have the effects of such drugs.

          ➢ First Offense: Suspension from all athletic contests for twelve calendar months

➢ Second Offense: Suspension from all athletics for the remainder of the athlete’s high school career

  • Charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses, stealing or acting as an accomplice to an act of stealing any articles, destroying, damaging, or defacing school property or equipment in connection with any athletic practice, or other conduct discrediting Ionia Public Schools in Ionia schools or other schools.

          ➢ First Offense: Consecutive suspension from 1/4 of the season’s contests

➢ Second Offense: Consecutive suspension from 1/2 of the season’s contests

➢ Third Offense: Suspension for twelve consecutive calendar months

  • Failure to travel to or to return from a contest with the team except with the prior approval of the coach, Athletic Director or Principal.

            ➢ First Offense: In cases where the athlete does not travel to the contest with the team, he/she will not be                         allowed to participate in the contest of that date. In cases where the athlete does not return home with the                   team, the athlete will be suspended from participation in the next scheduled contest.

            ➢ Second Offense: Consecutive suspension from 1/4 of the season’s contests

➢ Third Offense: Suspension from the team for the remainder of the season

  • Failure to attend all classes the day of the contest. This includes lunch and all transition periods. An athlete shall be in attendance in every class the date of the contest except as excused by the Principal or Athletic Director.

          ➢ First Offense: Suspension from the scheduled athletic contests, when eligible

➢ Second Offense: Suspension from two consecutive athletic contests, when eligible; consecutive suspension                   from 1/4 of the season’s contests

➢ Third Offense: Suspension from the team for the remainder of the season

  • This code specifies the major problem areas affecting student athletes and is not to be deemed all-inclusive. Any behavior unbecoming of an athlete and/or constituting gross misconduct, occurring in or out of school, which is of such nature as to bring discredit to the athlete, parents, school, or team will be dealt with as follows:
  • The disciplinary penalty shall be determined by the Athletic Director in consultation with the building Principal and may range from a suspension of one athletic contest to suspension from all athletic participation, depending upon the particular unacceptable behavior. School officials have the option to notify police authorities and may press charges. If the police authorities are notified, legal guardians will be contacted. Any action taken by police authorities will be in addition to action taken by the school. School officials, guided by District procedures, will cooperate with police authorities during investigations.

Late Season Suspension Procedure If a suspension occurs late in the season and the number of contests remaining in the season is less than the number of contests required by the suspension, the suspension will extend into the next competitive season in the sport the athlete actually becomes and remains a member of for the entire season. A senior will automatically forfeit his/her letter/certificate.

In-Between Season Violations Procedure If a suspension occurs between seasons, it will be enforced in the next season of participation by the athlete in which he/she actually becomes and remains a member of the team for the complete sport season.


A written report of an alleged violation of the code by an athlete will be submitted to the Athletic Director by a responsible adult, who is at least 21 years of age, within 72 hours of the time when the infraction becomes known to the adult. Following consultation with the athlete and coach, the Athletic Director will determine the validity of the reported violation and determine the disciplinary penalty to be imposed on the athlete by the Code.

The Athletic Director will attempt to notify the athlete’s parents of the violation and the penalty, which will be imposed the same day a determination is made. After the penalty is determined, the Athletic Director will notify the parent of the athlete, in writing, stating the nature of the violation and the penalty.


The appeal procedures for all athletes are as follows:

  • Within three school days following the day on which the student/parents were first informed of the penalty, the student/parent may appeal the decision in writing to the Athletic Director stating why they object to the determination made by the Athletic Director.
  • The Athletic Council, composed of the Athletic Director, Principal, and coach of the athlete’s present sport, or the coach of the athlete’s next sport, will meet to hear the appeal as soon as possible.
  • Under no circumstances can MHSAA minimal requirements be waived. . If the parent or student athlete, after appeal to the Athletic Council, is dissatisfied with the outcome, an appeal to the superintendent or his designee may be made in writing within five days. The superintendent has final disposition of the appeal. While under appeal the athlete cannot play.


Despite all scheduling efforts by the administration, conflicts will develop between extra- curricular and co-curricular activities. The Athletic Department recognizes that each student should have the opportunity for a broad range of experience in all extra- curricular activities.

In the event that conflicts arise, it is the responsibility of the ATHLETE to report these conflicts immediately to the teacher/sponsor of the other activity. If the conflict cannot be resolved, the student will make the final decision and be exempt from consequences (see page 53 under National Honor Society).


An athlete may participate in two sports in the same season. The coaches, parent(s), student-athlete, and Athletic Director will meet prior to the season and determine guidelines for the athlete to meet. In such cases, one sport will be designated the athlete’s primary sport. This means the athlete must meet all the requirements of the primary sport, set forth by the Athletic Director and coach, before being allowed to participate in the secondary sport unless the coach of the primary sport grants prior approval. This process must be completed prior to the beginning of the season and all team members must be aware of expectations. If it becomes obvious that a student cannot fulfill the obligations of the primary sport or that by limited participation in the secondary sport a question of the ability to safely participate is raised, the student may find himself or herself in a position of having to withdraw from the secondary activity per the Athletic Director.


  • Coaches in each sport may add specific rules for their teams. The Athletic Director must first approve these rules and both he and each athlete must have a copy of these rules before practice begins.
  • If an athlete quits a team for any reason after practice has begun, they will be suspended up to 1⁄4 of their next sport season. An exception to this rule could be made if the athlete is released in writing by his/her coach.
  • If an athlete is removed from an athletic team, they will be suspended for 1⁄4 of their next sport season. They will also be excluded from participating in a concurrent sport.
  • If an athlete wishes to quit an athletic team to join another team, they may do so only after receiving permission from both coaches and the Athletic Director. The Athletic Director is the final authority in the aforementioned areas.


  • Enrollment — The athlete must have been enrolled in a high school no later than the fourth (4th) Friday after Labor Day (1st semester) or by the fourth (4th) Friday of February (2nd semester). He/she must be enrolled in at least 20 credit hours.
  • Age — The athlete must be under nineteen (19) years of age at time of contest unless the nineteenth (19th) birthday occurs on or after September of a current school year, in which case he/she is eligible for the balance of that school year.
  • Physical Examination — The athlete must have passed a physical examination for the present school year. Record of this examination must be on file in the high school office.
  • The athlete must not have competed for more than four (4) first and four (4) second semester seasons in a sport beginning in the ninth (9th) grade.
  • Semesters of Enrollment — The athlete must have not been enrolled in grades nine to twelve (9-12), inclusive, for more than eight semesters. The seventh and eighth (7th & 8th) semesters must be consecutive. Enrollment in a school for a period of three (3) weeks or more counts as a semester. Participation in one (1) or more interscholastic athletic contests also constitutes a semester of enrollment.
  • Undergraduate Standing — The athlete must not be a high school graduate.
  • Previous Semester Record — The athlete must have received credit in at least 20 credit hours in the previous semester.
  • Transfers — The athlete must have moved out of his/her former school district and into a new school district accompanied by the persons with whom he/she was previously living. Check with the Principal.
  • The athlete must not accept any award for athletic performance that exceeds $25.00 in value. An award may not include cash, merchandise certificates, or negotiable certificates of any value.
  • Amateur Practices — The athlete must not accept any money or other valuable consideration (merchandise) for participating in any form of athletics, sport, or games, for officiating in interscholastic, athletic contests, or have signed a contract with a professional athletic team.
  • Limited Team Membership — After the athlete has started practice with his/her school in an individual-type sport, he/she may participate in a maximum of two (2) individual sport meets or contests, during the sports season of a school year while not representing his/her school. The athlete must not participate in any so-called all-star, charity, or exhibition contests in any sport sponsored by the Michigan High School Athletic Association before graduation from high school.
  • Reinstatement of Eligibility — A change in status for an athlete who has been ineligible occurs on the first full day of the new semester on which regularly scheduled classes are held rather than the last day of the previous semester.


Parent/Guardian – Coach Relationship: Parenting and coaching are both difficult vocations. By developing an understanding of each position one is better able to accept the actions of the other and provide a better experience for the student athletes. Parents have a right to understand what is expected from their student as a member of a school sports team. This begins with clear communication from the coach of the student’s program.

Expectations of Coaches:

  • Coaching philosophy
  • Expectations of team members, team rules, etc.
  • Locations and times of all practices and contests
  • Sport specific requirements, i.e. fees, special equipment, off-season conditioning
  • Injury procedures, should the student be injured during participation
  • Consequences if team rules or procedures are violated Expectations of Parents / Guardians:
  • Questions and concerns regarding the student should be expressed directly to the coach
  • Notification of any scheduling conflicts should be made as soon as possible
  • An understanding that coaches are thinking in terms of team and team building As the student becomes involved in the athletic program of Ionia High School he/she will experience some of the most rewarding experiences of his/her life. They will have

some disappointing moments as well. At these times, parents are encouraged to have a discussion with the coach.

Concerns Appropriate for Discussion with Coaches:

  • The mental or physical treatment of the student
  • Ways to help the student improve
  • Concerns about the student’s behavior

It is difficult to accept that an athlete may not be playing as much as the parents and the student may hope. Remember, coaches are professionals. They make decisions based on what they believe to be the best for the entire team. As shown in the list above, certain concerns can and should be discussed with the student’s coach. Additional concerns must be left to the discretion of the coach.

Inappropriate Issues to Discuss with Coaches:

  • Playing time
  • Team strategy
  • Play calling
  • Other student / athletes

There are situations that may require a conference between parents and the coach. It is important that both parties have a clear understanding of the other’s position. When these conferences become necessary, the following procedure should be followed to help promote a resolution.

Procedure for Setting Up a Meeting:

  • Call to make an appointment. The high school phone number is 527-0600. The middle school is 527-0040.
  • If the coach cannot be reached, call the Athletic Director at 527-0600 and he/she will set up the meeting for the parties concerned.
  • Please do not confront a coach before or after a contest or practice. Confrontation of this nature can be very emotional for both the parent and coach. Meetings of this nature do not promote positive results.

The Next Step: What can a parent do if the meeting with the coach did not provide a satisfactory resolution?

  • Call the Athletic Director to discuss the situation.
  • At this meeting the Athletic Director will work with the coach and parent to come to an agreement.

Research indicates that students who participate in extracurricular activities have a greater chance of success during adulthood. That is why Ionia Public Schools has made these activities a vital part of program offered to the students. It is the hope that the information offered will enhance the experiences students have at Ionia High School.



The following Non-MHSAA sponsored programs are impacted by this legislation;

  • Dance Team
  • Intramural Sports
  • Physical Education Classes
  • Sideline Cheer
  • Sports Camps/Clinics sponsored by IHS.
  • Travel Teams sponsored by IHS.

Participants and coaches must follow a strict protocol related to participation in activities not governed by MHSAA.

  1. All participants must read the educational document provided on the

Michigan Department of Community Health website. (See links below) 2. All parents/guardians must read the educational documents provided on the Michigan Department of Community Health website. (See links below) 3. All coaches/teachers must read the educational documents provided on the Michigan Department of Community Health website. (See links below) 4. Participant and Parent/Guardian must sign a written statement verifying the

receipt of educational materials regarding concussions. 5. Each signed form (4 above) must be maintained in the student permanent

file (CA-60) for the duration of that youth athlete’s participation in that athletic program or until the student becomes 18.

The signed statements verifying the receipt of the DCH educational materials shall be placed in the CA-60 of the participant.

Education must be provided to all participants and parent/guardians of all participants. Each person shall be provided documents which are available on the Michigan Department of Community Health website,4612,7-132-2941_4868_42176-196414–,00.html

Compliance with PA 342 and 343 of 2012



“Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional.”

The following competition protocol shall be followed during contest if a participant exhibits signs as stated above:

  1. The coach/advisor/volunteer shall remove a participant if signs of concussion

are evident. The officials have no responsibility to assess the medical condition of the participant. 2. If there is a designated health official at the competition/activity the

coach/advisor/volunteer should have the designee evaluate the participant. If there is not a health official, the coach/advisor/volunteer should make the determination to continue based on their knowledge from their concussion education training. 3. If it is determined by a health official or coach/advisor/volunteer that the

participant should not continue due to concussion symptoms, the participant shall not resume participation until given clearance by a recognized medical professional (MD or DO). The clearance shall be in writing and on a different day than the day of competition. 4. The coach/advisor/volunteer shall communicate to the parents of the

participant at the conclusion of the competition of their decision to withhold the participant for the competition. 5. The coach/advisor/volunteer shall communicate to the Principal/Athletic

Director of the participant at the conclusion of the competitions of their decision to withhold the participant from the competition. 6. The written document clearing the participant for return, given by the medical professional, must be place in the CA-60 of the participant until age 18.

Compliance with PA 342 and 343 of 2012