CONNY GRADE-BASED PLAYER SEGMENTATION POLICY APPROVED
At its September 27, 2016 meeting the CONNY Board of Directors overwhelmingly adopted a player segmentation policy for all member programs that is grade-based, but with an age filter. The change was driven by the US Lacrosse age-based guidelines and their goal of increasing fairness and player safety. The new policy also addresses the confusing mix of CONNY age-based and grade-based teams that has seriously complicated scheduling.
This summer, a broad CONNY subcommittee was formed and tasked with making a recommendation to the CONNY Board. The objective was to strike the right balance between the USL proposal and what was best for the diverse CONNY member programs. The draft was vetted, revised, and approved by the CONNY membership on September 27th. The policy creates a unified player segmentation policy that will be effective immediately.
The CONNY policy, which is grade-based with a firm oldest age cutoff for each grade, is a modified version of the USL recommendation. The committee felt this configuration would encourage participation and better ensure fairness and safety.
For players in grades 5-7, the age cutoff will be September 1st of the year preceding the season. Those born before September 1st will automatically play up one grade. Players who are "young in grade" (i.e., are younger than their grade's birthday span) have the option of staying with their grade or playing down in grade.
The cutoff for 8th grade was moved back to March 1st of the year preceding the season, which results in an 18-month age span. This allows the vast majority of 8th graders to continue playing for their town program. Those 8th graders born before the cutoff date can petition CONNY to be allowed to play. To help avoid mismatches at scheduling, the 8th grade section of the CONNY team tiering spreadsheet will include additional columns to show the number of players who do not meet the cutoff, as well as the birthdate of the oldest player.
Where feasible, CONNY requires programs to configure teams by single grade. If this is not possible, grades can be combined, but only within divisions (i.e. 7th and 8th grade Seniors and 5th and 6th grade Juniors). All programs will require grade declaration at the time of registration.
For players in grades K-4, CONNY will not enforce an age cutoff. There was strong consensus for keeping these grades to a traditional intro to lacrosse model. Most of these players are relatively new to lacrosse and the committee wanted to stress keeping it fun, emphasizing fundamentals, and playing 7v7 or another small-sided play configuration.
A FAQs sheet on the new player segmentation policy is posted under documents, as are an explanatory grid and grade-by-grade eligible birthday spans for the 2017 season.