BOTC recently ran a "What's Your View?" discussion thread covering Player Passes. In that thread, the overwhelming majority of posters suggested that a player pass system was required once and for all to provide for proper age-related governance of youth lacrosse.
As a result, BOTC took the discussion to Harry Jacobs, President of the Long Island Metro Chapter of US Lacrosse. Our exchange was frank, honest, and progressive. Mr. Jacobs clearly recognizes the problem and has provided BOTC with status updates on the progress being made. While some readers might see these updates as "inchstones" rather than "milestones" the point is that the youth lacrosse movement's voice is being heard.
Please read through the Q&A that follows. We thank Mr. Jacobs for his honest input and frank views.
One of the topics that keeps coming up on BOTC is "player passes" which are used to validate the age group, with photo ID, of a given player. Commonly in use with the United States Soccer Federation for youth players in both USYSA and USCS, there is nothing like this player pass concept in the US Lacrosse movement.
Are you aware of anything taking place to bring about legit player passes in lacrosse?
In response to your question I would just like to say it is coming. Cannot tell you about how many times I have heard about the "player age and grade issue". US Lacrosse has not taken any position in regard to player ID's from what I know of. They just came out with the New Youth rules which aligns around the U13, U15, U17 concept which really goes by age and not grade. I see the problem coming about as you could have a player in grade 11 (grad year 2013) who could be 18 years old and another player being 16 years old or a 9th grader (grad year 2015) being 16 years old and another being as youth as 13.
In my opinion we really need to have standards. When I have spoken to Directors of new club teams and they ask how should they form teams it can be very confusing right now. Do they go by grade, Grad year, or use the U13, U15, U17 concept or in my opinion U11, U12,U13,U15,U16,U17. I feel the Underage concept is the way to go as everyone can get a handle on that for tournaments and we should have some form of ID to verify a players age. It becomes much more of a problem at the lower ages where size and age can be a huge issue.
Just my opinion and I really think if we follow US Lacrosse Youth rules we could also look to put in player passes. Too many Coaches and parents doing the wrong thing out there and the kids are suffering.
Thanks and stay well,
Harry Jacobs President Long Island Metro Chapter of US Lacrosse
Would you be comfortable with this material being attributed to you on the message board? Alternatively, would it be possible to carry your verbatim attributed to a member of LIMLF? I think if the community knew that this issue is being taken seriously at the local level even if not at the US Lacrosse level, it will go a long way to increasing Long Island's "trust" in this age group system.
Having come from the soccer side, I agree with you - the U/age structure with definitive oldest date per age group is the correct way to handle this situation. With US Soccer Federation, there is no variation between states on these age groups - so the first step is to get the passes in place and then get the standard definition in place. Grade based teams just do not work for reasons of held-back or left-back players.
No problem as I love a great discussion.
I agree with you on the U/ age structure and that is what US lacrosse is really trying to push with their new rules. They have to walk that fine line and they do not want to shove anything down all the clubs throats. They need the membership and almost every club team out there are members of US Lacrosse....they are doing the right thing by putting the new rules in place this year and I have started to notice tournaments moving to the U/age.
When my sons organization Recon started they set themselves up as U/age. However many tournaments still go by Grad year and grade. Example is the Recon U-15 team is only made up of current 8th graders and 7th graders. Under the age requirements of U-15 based on the August 31 cutoff you could have 9th graders on that team. Recon decided that all 9th graders should be playing at the U16 level and they all are now on the U16 team. I very good at following rules as long as everyone else follows them.
As we all know "winning" takes on a life of its own with some people. Let's move to passes and take all the guess work out of it.
To the BOTC Lacrosse Community : There you have some very frank and honest information as the movement to the U/age structure attempts to take hold across the region. You can clearly see the problems that exist with the legacy system and the keen attention being given to taking the revised system into a plater-pass based environment. This is seen as a monumental change across US Lacrosse and the movement has just started.
Do you have commments, questions, or views to share? If you have specific questions for Mr. Jacobs, please let us know and we will be sure that our local chapter gets you the right answers right away.
I think it is incumbent on league/tournament directors to lay out the rules and then enforce them. Two reason for this - (1) it will discourage teams from violating age restrictions and (2) it will help end speculation or accusations against teams that have players that appear older but are in fact not. Rosters for tournaments should be locked and opposing coaches should be able to review them prior to games to confirm compliance by an opponent. As stated in a previous post, this is a monumental change in the game of lacrosse. Maybe the local tournaments can set the standard and begin these requirements. In the age of digital photography, tournament (or league) directors could have photos of each player matched with roster and age information. In the event there is some disagreement about age, the director can then refer to the digital photo/info file for reference. Of course, this would require first verifying the age of the player through a birth certificate or school id. As US Lacrosse gets on board, their membership card can be issued with a photo and the problem is solved. I think most coaches and organizations play by the rules. It is the actions of the few dishonest (or overly competitive) ones that cause the problems. Just my opinion.
My personal opinion is going to age based (U/15,U16 ect) is a step backwards, It would seem silly if two 10th graders from the same HS could not play together over the summer because of age. Also when recruiting starts the colleges want to see 10th graders playing against 10th graders and 11th graders playing against 11th graders the colleges are not concerned about age, they are concerned about recruiting classes. I realize some of the problems that you get with grade based teams and tournaments but these are the same kids they will be playing with and against in high School. if you look at most HS rosters on long island you will see 15 to 18 year old, it is the way it is and is going to be so let them stay together in the summers as well.
I have been reading about this issue for the past couple of years. I have personally seen my sons 7/8th grade team play against kids that had just turned 15 while my son hadn't even turned 13 yet. I haven't heard anyone suggest a combination of the aged based system and the grad year system. For the most part your typical 7/8th graders are 12/13 years old, so make that u14, 5/6th graders u12, 3/4th u10, etc. Once a player reaches 15, they should then go by grad year for recruiting purposes because they should be in high school by then. Ex: player was born in 1997, he should be grad year 2015. He gets held back 1 year and is now grad year 2016. When the player turn 15 he has to play his last year with 2015. The following year he would then drop down to Play 2016. This way he is in line to play with the kids he will be graduating with. I hope I explained this well enough. I think this would take care of most of the age vs grade issues.
the issue isn't u/age vs grade system, it's showing up at a tournament and watching 3-4 kids dominate a 6th grade game in your division and then seeing playing on there 8th grade team 20 minutes later - which unfortunately most of us have witnessed. our coach actually confronted another coach about this and was told "we were short a few players so my older kid and a few friends played with us" that's bad enough, but to have them score most of the goals and play the entire game on attack or middie was ridiculous. That's why we need player passes!