Regulations for Athletic Contests

Implementing/Eliminating Interscholastic Sports

Approved Activities

FALL (Aug-Nov) WINTER (Nov-March) SPRING (March-May)
Cheerleading Boys' Basketball Baseball
Boys' Cross Country Girls' Basketball Boys' Lacrosse
Girls' Cross Country Cheerleading Girls' Lacrosse
Football Boys' Indoor Track Softball
Girls' Field Hockey Girls' Indoor Track Tennis
Golf Swimming Boys' Outdoor Track & Field
Boys' Soccer Wrestling Girls' Outdoor Track & Field
Girls' Soccer Sports for Life Sports for Life
Boys' Volleyball
Girls' Volleyball
Sports for Life

Procedures for Implementing/Eliminating Interscholastic Sports

All additions/deletions to either the Harford County Public Schools' program or an individual school program of interscholastic athletics must meet the criteria as stated within this publication, "Administrative Regulations and Procedures for Interscholastic Athletics in the Harford County Public Schools."

  1. The proposed addition/deletion must be preceded by a written proposal from the Principal(s) of the school(s). In formulating the proposal, the applicable criteria from the following list must be addressed.
    1. Evidence that the sport can be offered without displacing one which is currently offered and in which student-athlete interest is high in the public high schools of Harford County
    2. Indication of a sufficient number of qualified student-athletes showing an interest in the sport
    3. Plans for a gradual and sequential implementation of the sport through in-service training of personnel involved in the program and instruction of student-athletes in intramural or extramural games
    4. Availability of a sufficient number of qualified coaches to provide appropriate leadership
    5. Availability of a sufficient number of certified officials
    6. Availability of adequate facilities needed for practice and scheduled games
    7. Availability of adequate financing for the sport

  2. The Principal of the school will submit the proposal to the Supervisor of Athletics. Upon review, the Supervisor shall submit the proposal, with his/her recommendation(s), to the Athletic Legislative Committee.

  3. The Athletic Legislative Committee shall, after consideration of the preceding criteria and recommendations, provide written recommendations for the approval of the addition/deletion of the sport.

  4. The addition/deletion of a sport requires approval of the General Curriculum Committee and the Superintendent of Schools.

Scheduling of Games -
Public, Non-Maryland Public Schools

Scheduling for High Schools

Schedules for county/conference participation in a particular sport should be completed and distributed for the next season after the conclusion of the present season. The schedules for all games, whether afternoon or evening, must be approved by the Principals of the schools involved. The dates and times for games must be determined when the schedule is developed. The schedule for each sport will be developed by the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics and the Athletic Directors from each school. Any changes in schedules, other than changes due to weather or school conflicts, must be approved by the Athletic Directors of the competing schools and submitted to the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics for final authorization.

Scheduling of Non-Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Schools

Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association rules and regulations governing interscholastic athletics apply only to the public high schools in Maryland. Principals, Athletic Directors, and coaches who schedule non-member schools should be thoroughly familiar with differences in rules and regulations and potential problems attendant thereto. An Athletic Director who schedules non-member schools must verify that those schools comply with MPSSAA Codes of Competition.

Contract Procedure

An approved schedule of athletic games will serve the purpose of a written contract for games between public high schools in Harford County and Cecil County. A contract form should be used for scheduling all other games.

Number of Games

The maximum number of games to be played in each sport shall be the number permitted by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA). (COMAR 13A.06.03.03)


A scrimmage is defined by the MPSSAA as "a game in which no score is kept, no admission is charged, no public record is made, and the game is purely for instructional purposes." The following will apply to scrimmages:

  • A maximum of two may be held in addition to the regularly scheduled games for any one sport.
  • Scheduled scrimmages may occur on the fifth (5th) calendar day after the start of practice. Specific dates for each sport will be issued annually prior to the sports season.
  • Only high school teams may participate.
  • To scout a scrimmage involving a Harford County team(s), permission must be received from the Athletic Director(s) or coach(s) involved.

These scrimmages should be held early in the sports season and no scrimmages will be permitted after the first official game has been played. Scrimmages must be on the official schedules approved by the Principals. Any changes to the official schedule must be approved by the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics.

Scheduling of Weeknight Games

All athletic games scheduled on nights proceeding school days must conclude by 9:00 p.m. unless overtime periods are necessary. Starting time for night games will be standard throughout the public schools in Harford County. The starting time for all double header night events (JV and Varsity) for Fall, Winter and Spring will be: JV to start at 5:15 PM and Varsity to start at 6:45 PM. Varsity Wrestling will begin at 5:30 PM. Doubleheader football games will be scheduled with the JV game starting at 4:00 PM and the varsity game starting at 7:00 PM.

Afternoon games where student-athletes must leave class before the end of the school day shall not be scheduled during the week of mid-year exams, nor the first two days of school.


Games must be played on the date scheduled unless inclement weather, transportation failure, or some other unusual circumstance forces postponement. Postponed games must be made up on the first available date. The availability of officials, transportation, schedules, and facilities must be considered. Rescheduling of postponed games must conform to Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association regulations.

Inclement Weather

The closing of schools because of inclement weather will automatically cancel all athletic games and practice sessions that were scheduled for that day unless an exception is made by the Superintendent of Schools. Teams are not allowed to hold an informal practice on school grounds when schools are closed because of inclement weather. In circumstances where transportation to an event is cancelled by the Transportation Department because of weather-related concerns, approval for alternate forms of transportation or participation can only be granted by the Superintendent of Schools.

Roster of Participants

  1. All coaches must have a roster of participants readily accessible with the following information at all tryouts, practices, and games:

    1. Student-athlete name and address
    2. Parents' or guardians' home and work phone numbers
    3. Allergies and/or medical conditions

  2. Team Composition

    1. Varsity teams may consist of student-athletes in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. Final decision of roster composition will be based on criteria established by the coaching staff of each individual athletic team.
    2. Junior Varsity teams shall be composed of student-athletes in grades nine and/or ten. However, a maximum of five (5) juniors may compete with the junior varsity team provided they do not supplant a position occupied by a 9th or 10th grade student. Approval must be granted by the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics.
    3. Seniors will be permitted to wrestle in the UCBAC (Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference) JV Rodeo competition.
    4. A student-athlete in Grade 9 or 10 may be transferred between the varsity and junior varsity team in the same sport provided that the rules as outlined by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association are not violated.

  3. Managers

    1. A student-athlete who assists the coach by helping with drills (i.e. tossing balls to players, taking stats, keeping score, helping with water, typing up documents, filming practice/games, organizing equipment, etc.)
    2. Managers are not considered rostered participants therefore, they shall not fully participate in practices or games.

Practice Regulations

Beginning of Practice Sessions

Twenty (20) calendar days must elapse after and including the first day of practice before a school may participate in a scheduled contest. Golf is the exception to the rule. All organized practice must be limited to the season in which the particular sport is played. When November 15, or March 1 falls on a Sunday, practice may begin the preceding Saturday. (COMAR 13A.06.03.03) The sports seasons start on the following dates:

  • Fall start dates will vary based on MPSSAA rules.
  • Winter - November 15
  • Spring - March 1

Length of Practice Session

On the days' schools are in session, practice for any sport shall not exceed two hours of physical activity. In the event additional practice sessions are scheduled for the same day, MPSSAA Guidelines for Heat Acclimatization shall be followed. Multiple practice sessions may not be conducted on days that students attend school.

Minimum Length of Tryout Period

Prior to the final selection of team personnel, coaches must insure that all student-athletes are provided a minimum tryout period of three practice days.

Practice Locations

All practice sessions must be conducted at an HCPS facility, Harford Community College, or a Parks and Recreation facility as directed by the Athletic Director. Any practice not held at an approved site must have prior approval of the Athletic Director and the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics.

Practice on In-service Days

Practice may be held before the scheduled meetings 8:00 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m. on the days of teacher in-service meetings in the Harford County Public Schools. Afternoon games or games may not be scheduled before 3:30 p.m. on teacher in-service days. Exceptions would be temporary emergency coaches who are not under teacher contract may practice as long as it does not disturb in-service activities.

Practices and Games When Schools are Closed

  1. Teams shall neither practice nor participate in a contest on Sunday, on days when schools are closed for student-athletes due to inclement weather, or when weekend activities have been cancelled due to inclement weather. (Even when weather events have passed.)

  2. Teams shall neither practice nor participate in regular season contests* on days in which schools are scheduled to close early preceding an extended holiday break (Thanksgiving and Winter Break) or on the following official school holidays: Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Thanksgiving Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Good Friday, and Memorial Day. In addition, regular season games will not be scheduled on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Regional and State playoff games may be scheduled on the above days.

    * Regular season contests include all games and tournaments that are on the teams schedule prior to the start of the season. Regional and State playoff games are not considered regular season contests.

  3. Practices during the extended holiday breaks are allowed pending the approval of the Principal but not in conflict with the official school holidays listed in item #2. On days when schools and offices are closed, the Athletic Director and/or coach will be responsible for the building. Custodians will not be used.

  4. Games/tournaments during the extended holiday breaks are allowed. Only when the school office is open may they take place in a HCPS facility.

  5. On the monthly early dismissal Professional Development days, schools may schedule regular season games with a start time of 3:30 or later. Student-athletes will not be allowed in the buildings before 3:00 unless supervision is provided and with administration approval.

  6. Building Use, Supervision and Responsibilities
    The Principals of the high schools shall be held accountable for administering and supervising the athletic program in their respective schools and must approve the use of a school facility for a team practice when schools and offices are closed. The Principal is responsible for:
    1. Approving scheduled practices.
    2. Determining who shall be authorized to access and secure the building. This responsibility can only be assigned to building administrators, custodians, Athletic Directors or head coaches.
    3. Determining when custodial coverage is required and the level of coverage needed
    4. Ensuring that all security, emergency and building maintenance protocols are communicated to responsible staff and followed

  7. The Athletic Directors and head coaches are responsible for organizing and supervising the operation of the athletic program under the direction of the Principal. The Athletic Director, and/or head coach, when authorized by the Principal, is responsible for:
    1. Opening and securing the school facility before and after practice
    2. Being informed of safety and emergency protocol and procedure
    3. Having HCPS emergency contact information readily available for use in case of emergency
    4. Supervising/monitoring program activities while practices are in progress
    5. Ensuring that all areas are properly secured, maintained, cleaned and/or restored to its original condition at the end of each practice

  8. The custodian, when scheduled, shall be responsible for:
    1. Opening and securing the school facility before and after practice
    2. Being informed of safety and emergency protocol and procedure
    3. Having HCPS emergency contact information readily available for use in case of emergency
    4. Assisting during practice with routine assigned duties (trash removal, maintaining restrooms, emergency clean-up, etc.)
    5. Ensuring that all areas are properly secured, maintained, cleaned and/or restored to its original condition at the end of each practice

  9. Current Practice for Building Coverage
    There are various options for building coverage available to building administrators. The following methods represent current practices that have been found acceptable:
    1. Assign the responsibilities of building coverage to a custodian
    2. Develop a Saturday work schedule for custodial staff.
    3. Compensate custodial staff for the time worked over and above their normal work schedule (over-time compensation and work compensation are acceptable.)
    4. The school or athletic program is responsible for compensation.
    5. Assign the responsibilities of building coverage to the Athletic Director.
    6. Assign the responsibilities of building coverage to a head coach.

End of Sports Season

Practice will not be permitted after the last scheduled contest in any sport unless a team is preparing for county, district, or state playoffs. All county games of a given sports schedule must be completed before a team is allowed to advance to district playoffs. Any exception must be approved by the Supervisor of Athletics.

At the conclusion of any Harford County Championship or UCBAC (Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference) Championship, teams in cross country, golf, wrestling, swimming, tennis, and track & field may practice together in preparation for regional and state competition. Transportation will not be provided.

Season Overlap

Student-athlete student-athletes' participation in which seasons overlap due to playoff competition participate under these procedures:

  1. Must complete the full season, including playoffs, that started first (fall before winter, winter before spring) in good standing before beginning participation in the following season.
  2. May attend practices for the following season to watch but may not participate in any physical activity related to the new season until the previous season is fully completed.
  3. A season is considered complete when the individual or team has no further competitions scheduled.
  4. Participation in practices and competitions in the first season count towards the required 10 days of participation prior to competing in a contest.
  5. In order to be recognized as having completed the season in good standing for purposes of school awards see "Awards and Recognition" located in the appendix.

Guidelines for Practice of Two Players

According to MPSSAA rules, a coach or coaching staff may work with a maximum of two players per day. It is only two players per day and only one session per day. You could not have a session for the one-hour period from, for example 6 to 7 with two players and another session from 7 to 8 with two different players. Also, if you have more than one coach conducting the session, it is still limited to only two players.
The following guidelines must be followed:

  1. Must be open to all players; even those who may not have been on the team previously.
  2. Must be publicly advertised in the school.*
  3. Must have a current physical on file.
  4. Must be academically eligible.
  5. Athletes playing a sport cannot participate until their sport season is completed.
  6. May only be conducted on approved practice days.
  7. Practice time limit is 60 minutes.
  8. Permission from the school is needed and cannot supersede current or already scheduled activities.
  9. A schedule of practice activities and participants must be given to the Athletic Director prior to the first session.
*New item

Guidelines for Out of Season Conditioning,
Non-School Team and Camps

Out of Season Conditioning:

  1. All conditioning sessions must have the approval of the school administration.
  2. Conditioning sessions are open to all student-athletes who wish to participate.
  3. Participation is voluntary and cannot be a prerequisite to trying out or being on the team.
  4. Conditioning must be done at the school.
  5. Sports equipment, (balls, sticks, rackets, etc.) cannot be used.
  6. Conditioning should include; strength and/or toning workouts, core exercises, agility training, flexibility exercise, and cardio workouts. Track and Cross Country conditioning cannot be cardio workouts only, but incorporate all aspects of conditioning.
  7. Student-athletes must have parent/guardian approval in order to participate in workout sessions. This approval will be confirmed upon completion of the Health History: Intramurals/After-School Conditioning form.  
  8. Coaches need to submit their planned program, dates, and times of their planned workout session to the Athletic Director prior to the first session.

Definition of a Non-School Team

  1. May not use the school name, nickname, or mascot.
  2. May not use any school uniforms, clothing, or equipment.
  3. May not use school facilities unless the HCPS Use of Facilities forms are completed, submitted, and approved by the HCPS Office of Operations.
  4. May not use any school funds, including any money raised through fundraising.
  5. Contact or distribution of information cannot be made through school sources.


  1. Student-athletes may attend a summer camp of their choice.
  2. Coaches, teams, or schools may not sponsor or conduct a camp in which returning players are involved.
  3. Student-athletes attending a camp may not use school equipment, apparel, or school funds.
  4. If a team attends a camp as a team; the coach or coaches of that team may not work at that specific camp.
  5. A coach who is hired by a camp where returning players are attending must abide by the following restrictions:
    1. A coach cannot work with their team members exclusively.
    2. A coach may provide instruction to returning players at a camp providing that the instruction is given to all attendees and there are no more than two returning players in each group being instructed.
    3. A coach may instruct non-school teams at camps.

Procedures and Regulations
for Athletic Events


  1. When teams are competing against each other in football, the home team will wear the dark colors. The home teams in basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, and soccer will wear white.

  2. Official high school uniform colors may not change from the designated colors that were determined by the school and as listed in the Athletic Handbook.


  1. Playing Field or Court
    The Athletic Director will make final determinations on playing fields and game cancellations.

  2. Bleachers
    Bleachers should always be clean and clear of any foreign matter. Safety railings must be in place. Any damage that makes them unsafe should be reported to the Athletic Director and to the Principal immediately. The Athletic Director will cooperate with the visiting team's Athletic Director when special arrangements need to be made, such as reserving an area for the visiting team's band.

  3. Equipment
    The Athletic Director, in cooperation with the coach, should make sure that all equipment that is needed for any game or meet is available to the visiting team's coach.

  4. Warm-Up
    Each team will be entitled to a minimum 15 minutes to warm up prior to the contest.

At the Contest

  1. Dressing Rooms for Teams when applicable

    The Athletic Director or coach will make sure that a dressing facility is available for the visiting team prior to their arrival and that the visiting team's dressing facility is clean and ready to be used. Someone should be available to greet the visiting team and escort them to the designated area.

  2. Officials

    A dressing room must be assigned to officials for changing, dressing, and showering (if possible) after a game. Any dressing area assigned to officials is out of bounds to all coaches or players until the officials leave the area.

    Once a game begins, the officials are in control of enforcing game rules and regulations. All official’s decisions are final. There are NO replays or appeals. Discussion between coaches and game officials must be conducted in a professional manner.

    Officials will work in conjunction with school-based personnel to ensure the safety and security of the coaches, players, and spectators. All decisions made by school personnel related to event safety are final.

  3. Stands or Bleachers

    Appropriate supervision will be handled by the Principal/designee in regards to spectator control in the bleachers or stands.

  4. First Aid Kit

    A first aid kit for use by medical doctors, registered nurses, or persons trained in first aid shall be located at the team bench for use in providing care to an injured student-athlete during an interscholastic athletic contest. The first aid kit shall be under the control of the coach and the athletic trainer. The school nurse, in cooperation with the Athletic Director, is responsible for maintenance of the kit as specified in the "Health Services Handbook." Each team is required to have an individual trained in the operation and use of in AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) present at all practices and games.

  5. Personnel permitted on the bench or field:
    • Participants listed on the eligibility roster form
    • Paid and volunteer coaches under contract
    • Statisticians and game management personnel
    • Paramedics/Athletic Trainer
    • Press personnel with the approval of the Athletic Director or designee (field only)

  6. Priority of personnel permitted to use the press box:
    • Required scoreboard operator and announcer
    • Home and visiting team camera operators (equity of numbers)
    • Home and visiting coach(s) (equity of numbers)
    • Other personnel as approved by Athletic Director/Administrator

  7. Spectator Guidelines
    The Board of Education of Harford County earnestly solicits the cooperation of parent/guardians and other adults in its effort to supervise and provide adequate control of all functions for the school community. Harford County Public Schools is hopeful that the following rules and regulations will guarantee the type of behavior necessary to continue these functions. Examples of some, but not all, prohibited activities are listed below.
    1. Respect your team’s opponents, coaches, officials, and spectators. Demonstrate appropriate social behavior by not engaging in acts intended to incite other participants.
    2. Always be positive in your support for players. Derogatory, offensive, or insulting “cheers” is prohibited.
    3. The use of profanity in "cheers" is prohibited.
    4. Respect and accept the decisions and authority of officials during competition. Spectators will refrain from communicating directly with the officials before, during or after events.
    5. Always respect the use of facilities, equipment provided, and direction of school personnel.
    6. Any physical or verbal altercation before, during or after a contest will not be tolerated with offending parties being immediately ejected from the match and banned from attending future athletic events.
    7. The use of tobacco products (including vaping), drugs, and alcohol is prohibited.
    8. No objects may be thrown by spectators during athletic events.
    9. During games, spectators may not play catch or "pickup games" in designated areas..
    10. Student-athletes will not be allowed to sit on the bleachers of the opposing side if they are causing problems.
    11. For safety reasons, prolonged spectator standing is prohibited based on the discretion of the school administration. Spectators may not gather in groups inside or outside the athletic facility.
    12. Once a spectator leaves an athletic event, there will be no re-admittance unless approved by an administrator or the Athletic Director.
    13. The Administrator, Athletic Director and/or their designee may postpone/cancel a contest based on safety and well-being of the game participants and spectators.
    14. Fire regulations limit the capacity of the gymnasiums, auditoriums, and cafeterias. When this capacity is reached, further admissions will be denied.
    15. The stadium track will be closed to all track practice, joggers, and walkers prior to and during all interscholastic games, scrimmages, and practices held in the stadium.
    16. Pets, bicycles, skateboards, and rollerblades are not permitted in the stadium, on the track, on the tennis courts, or in any practice or game facility

** In the event any spectator fails to adhere to and uphold these expectations, the school administration and the school district reserves the right to impose sanctions including disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, temporary and/or permanent removal from the activity and expulsion from all future events. (Maryland Code, Education Article, Sections 26-101 and 26-102)

Violations of this Code of Conduct may result in one or more of these consequences being applied:

  • One verbal warning to discontinue a behavior.
  • Immediate ejection from the sporting event.
  • Suspension from future school sponsored events in the current season.
  • Suspension from future school sponsored events for a minimum of 1 year.

Clean Up

  1. When athletic events take place in the outdoor area, the coach and managers are responsible for bringing all equipment to a secured school storage area. Coaches are responsible for ensuring that their bench area is clear of all equipment and garbage before leaving a contest.

  2. After Friday night and Saturday games, the clean-up operation is handled by the school custodians the following Monday.

  3. After basketball games, volleyball games, and wrestling matches in the gymnasium, the clean-up duties are handled immediately by the school custodians.

Related Contest Activities

  1. In the event of a fight during a game or athletic contest, the following procedures are to be implemented:
    • All coaches are to immediately turn their attention to the players in the bench areas. Players in the bench areas are to be restrained and not permitted on the playing field.
    • Spectators are not to enter the playing field or court. Coaches are to use verbal commands to direct spectators back to the bleachers.
    • The officials will handle the fight on the playing field and apply necessary rules for penalties and ejections.

  2. Report of Accidents
    • All 911 emergency calls must be reported to the Risk Management Office and the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics within 24 hours.
    • In the event that any person is injured at an athletic event, following appropriate treatment, it shall be reported immediately to the Principal/designee and/or coach in charge. Every attempt shall be made immediately to contact the injured person's parents or guardians.
    • The HCPS Incident Report must be completed by the coach and distributed according to the directions on the accident form.
    • All incidents involving a call for emergency services or referral for medical evaluation requires the completion of The Incident Report Form.

  3. Report of Incidents
    Any disruptive incidents that take place at an athletic event must be reported immediately by the teacher, security, or SRO to the administrator in charge of that event.

Ejection Rule - Coach, Player

Each sport has unique rules regarding red cards and ejections. There are occasions when an student-athlete or coach is ejected or disqualified for a rule violation or a safety infraction. The intent of the ejection rule is to curtail profanity, fighting, dangerous play, and unsportsmanlike conduct.


  • If a coach is ejected from a contest he/she must leave the area of the contest and shall have no communication or contact with players, officials, spectators, or school personnel in the area until the contest is completed. If there is no member of the paid coaching staff or Athletic Director from the school present to assume responsibility, the contest will be forfeited. Volunteer coaches may not serve as head coaches at any level. Additionally, a coach ejected from a contest for unsportsmanlike conduct must successfully complete the free online NFHS Sportsmanship course and provide proof of completion to the Athletic Director and the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics prior to a return to coaching duties.

  • Within 24 hours of the ejection, the coach must notify, in writing, the school Principal and Athletic Director. The Athletic Director will then notify the athletic office in writing (e-mail) about the ejection. Records for ejection will be established at each school.

  • Ejections associated with fair play and sportsmanship require a discussion between the coach and the Athletic Director and/or administrator.

  • Additionally, a coach ejected from a contest for unsportsmanlike conduct will be automatically suspended from the next athletic contest in that sport and will carry over to the next year. He/she may not have any communication with the team before or during the contest.

  • Any coach, who engages in a form of physical altercation with an official, player, or coach, will be suspended for forty-five (45) school days or the remainder of the season or year, whichever is longer.


  • If the ejection was issued for a flagrant foul, fighting, dangerous play, unsportsmanlike conduct, or profanity, the student-athlete will be automatically suspended from participation in the next athletic contest regardless of season and will carry over to the next sports season or year. Additionally, a player ejected from a contest for a flagrant foul, fighting, dangerous play, unsportsmanlike conduct, or profanity must successfully complete the free online NFHS Sportsmanship course and provide proof of completion to the Athletic Director and the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics prior to a return to athletic participation.

  • The coach will notify the Athletic Director and fill out an ejection report  the next day.

  • Ejections associated with fair play and sportsmanship require a discussion between the student- student-athlete and the Athletic Director and/or administrator.

  • The Athletic Director will notify the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics in writing (e-mail) about the ejection. Records of ejections will be established at each school.

  • The ejected student-athlete may not wear his/her uniform during the suspended game. He/she may not travel with the team, stand on the sidelines or sit on the bench without permission of the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics.

  • 2nd ejection may result in a two game suspension as determined by the Athletic Director and/or Principal.

  • 3rd ejection may result in removal from the team for the remainder of the season as determined by the Athletic Director and/or Principal.

  • A coach who has a player suspended for three games will be required to meet with the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics and Principal/designee.

JV Overtime

Junior Varsity Overtime

Games that end in a tie should use the following tie-break rules:

  • Basketball - One two-minute overtime

  • Field Hockey - One, five (5) minute "sudden victory" overtime period consisting of seven (7) vs. seven (7).

  • Football - Each team gets 4 downs from the 10-yard line.

  • Lacrosse - One, four (4) minute "sudden victory" overtime period.

  • Soccer - Two 5-minute overtime periods

  • If games are tied at the end of the overtime periods, games will end in a tie contest.


Swim teams will follow National Federation Rules with the following modifications:

  1. Roster sizes should be limited to forty-eight (48) participants.

  2. Timers for meets will be divided among participating teams.

  3. Exhibition Swimmers times count but are not eligible to score points for that swim. Entries in an exhibition event count toward total events entered.

    Those exhibition events will be:
    • Two (2) heats of men's and women's 50 freestyle (7A and 8A) in Dual, Double Dual and Triple Dual format
    • One (1) heat (co-ed) for each event 100 yards in distance (Butterfly, Breaststroke, and Backstroke) in Dual and Double Dual format only. Triple Dual Meets will NOT have these events.
    • Two (2) heats of co-ed 100 freestyle in Dual and Double Dual format only. Triple Dual Meets will NOT have these events.
    • One (1) heat of co-ed 200 freestyle relay in Double Dual Format Only.

    No additional exhibition heats will be allowed.

  4. Final meet databases will be sent to the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics (or their designee) by the meet's timing official, by the morning after a meet. If there are any protests or issues it will be noted in the e-mail. Any coach wanting a copy of the meet results must request one from the Supervisor's office (or the designee). Meets under protest will be embargoed until the issue is resolved. The Supervisor (or the designee) will forward results to the media contacts list as well as keep a top times database and communicate these times weekly to all coaches.

  5. Entry to the County Championship meet will be restricted by the following:
    • A student-athlete must have completed in half of their teams scheduled meets. In cases of extenuating circumstances, the Supervisor of Athletics may grant a waiver.
    • Athlete's must have swum and received a legal time for the event being entered. "No Time Entries" will not be permitted.
    • Each team will be permitted to enter an student-athlete into events of 500 meters or greater, regardless of time. Each subsequent entry must have achieved a time better than or equal to 8:00.00.

  6. Only two swimmers from each team are eligible to score points in each individual event at the County championship meet.

  7. Protests arising, for procedural issues only, shall be adjudicated as follows:
    • At regular season games by the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics after consultation by any parties.
    • At the County championship meet by a meet jury consisting of the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics, the Meet Referee, the coach of the previous host team, the coach of the current host team, and the coach of the next host team. An alternate team will be selected at random if the protest is filed by any of the three coaches on the jury.
    • Jury voting will be done verbally, and the results recorded by the Meet Director.

  8. The Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics may waive or adjust specific swimming rules found in the National Federation of State High School (NFHS) rulebooks to accommodate local conflicts with equipment, facilities, and common practices, as long as safety is not an issue.

Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries

This course is a blend of on‐line and face to face instruction. High school coaches will participate in activities and discussions intended to increase their knowledge in athletic injuries, safety, legal responsibilities of coaching and HCPS/MPSSAA athletic rules and regulations. Participants will learn best practices and techniques to build a team culture that aligns with the vision and mission of the Harford County Interscholastic Athletic Program. Current events in the world of athletics will also be discussed as appropriate.
Please refer to the MPSSAA Handbook (page 31‐33) for additional details for this course. (COMAR 13a.05.05.11)

Below is a brief summary of some major points to consider in the care and prevention of athletic injuries and is not intended to be all inclusive. The scope of this course does not allow for a detailed and thorough discussion of all medical emergencies which the coach might encounter. In case of injury, first aid and injury management should not go beyond the scope of topics discussed and reviewed in the required Basic Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries course.

Heat Illness

There are three categories of heat illness, and the student-athlete may not sustain all three in order.

  1. Heat Cramp

    1. Symptoms
      The body and muscles will actually cramp due to the loss of fluid and electrolytes. This is a warning sign of further illness. The muscles most often affected are the quadriceps, gastrocnemius (calf), and abdominals.

    2. What to do
      • Ice and stretch
      • Give water or fluid
      • Improve cardiovascular condition (if early in season)
      • If persistent, check into the diet

  2. Heat Exhaustion
    There is an excessive loss of water and electrolytes.

    1. Symptoms
      • Sweating profusely
      • Cool skin, may be pale
      • Syncope (dizziness or confusion)
      • Possible rapid pulse
      • Internal temperature increase to 102 - 104.9 degrees (normal 98.6)

    2. What to do
      • Find a cool shaded place.
      • Cool the individual with cold water, ice towels, or tap water from a hose.
      • Have the student-athlete drink fluids. The thirst mechanism will shut down. He/she will only be able to take small sips. Have student-athlete suck on ice.
      • Get the extra equipment off - shoulder pads, helmet, any extra clothing, shoes and socks.

  3. Heat Stroke
    This is a medical emergency. The body's thermoregulatory system has totally shut down and the core body temperature is continuing to rise.

    1. Symptoms
      • Body temperature in excess of 105 degrees
      • Skin is dry, warm or hot, red (total absence of sweat)
      • Behavior may be disoriented, acutely aggressive
      • Athlete may be conscious or unconscious

    2. What to do
      • Activate emergency and call 911 immediately..
      • Cool the student-athlete as efficiently as you can, using the heat exhaustion techniques.
      • Monitor vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing) until ambulance arrives.

Differentiating between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms: Heat Stroke Symptoms:
  • Cool and clammy
  • Sweating
  • Body Temperature 98.6 - 104.9 degrees       
  • Pulse - Slow
  • Confusion
  • Conscious
  • Hot and dry
  • No sweating
  • Body Temperature l05 degrees or higher
  • Pulse - Rapid or Fast
  • Aggressiveness
  • May be unconscious

Ways to Prevent Heat Illness

  • Be aware of student-athlete's conditioning level. A better conditioning level will mean a greater toleration of the heat.

  • Anticipate the need for student-athletes to be acclimated. It will take seven to ten days to be well acclimated to a heat environment. Use a gradual increase in work at practice.

  • In the sport of football, practices will be held without full equipment for the first two days of practices. Helmets and shoulder pads are optional.

  • Know the temperature and the humidity level at practice time. Refer to the HCPS heat index chart .

  • Make modifications during practice sessions with more water breaks, rest breaks, and change in dress for practice.

  • Push fluids! Cool water before, during, and after practice (hydrating). Hydrate on a regular basis whether or not the student-athlete is thirsty. Sport drinks can supplement but should NOT replace water as the primary fluid.

  • Encourage a proper diet, especially fruit, vegetables, and leafy greens. An student-athlete can avoid a bloating feeling by eating before drinking a large amount of fluid.

  • Have the student-athlete wear proper clothing. The least amount that is appropriate for the sport is best.

  • Nylon is ideal, cotton breathes very well.

  • If you choose to practice a two-a-day schedule, make your morning more strenuous than your afternoon. You may want to monitor the student-athlete's weight. Student-athletes should lose no more than 3% body weight after a practice session.

Talk to your team about heat illness! It is a serious matter.

* * *

Sports Related Concussion

  1. Definition of Concussion, Concussion Facts

    A concussion is an injury to the brain as a result of a force or jolt applied directly or indirectly to the head, which produces a range of possible symptoms and may or may not involve a loss of consciousness. 80-90% of concussions occur without loss of consciousness. Recognition and proper management of concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury, prolonged recovery, or even death (secondary impact syndrome). Concussions are also called mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI). Concussions can occur in any sport, including: Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Equestrian, Field Hockey, Football, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, and Wrestling. The potential for concussions is greatest in athletic environments where collisions or significant falls are common. Environmental factors also can cause injury. For example, a player may collide with an unpadded goalpost or trip on an uneven playing surface. Sometimes people do not recognize that a bump, blow, or jolt to the head can cause a concussion. As a result, student-athletes may receive no medical care at the time of the injury, but they may later report symptoms such as headache and dizziness. These symptoms can be a sign of a concussion and must be carefully evaluated.

  2. Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

    Concussion results in a range of physical, cognitive, emotional and sleep-related symptoms. Duration of symptoms can vary from person to person and may last for as short as several minutes and last as long as several days, weeks, months or even longer in some cases. Knowledge of the full range of signs (what you can see) and symptoms (what the student-athlete reports) are important. One or more of these signs and symptoms following a blow or jolt to the head may indicate that a concussion has occurred. Concussions can also occur with no obvious signs or symptoms right away. Any of the symptoms listed in the table below should be taken seriously. Student-athletes, who experience any of these signs or symptoms after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head should be kept from practice or game play until cleared by a qualified health care professional.

    Signs Observed by Coaching Staff Symptoms Reported by Student-athlete
    • Appears dazed or stunned; Headache
    • Is confused about assignment; Nausea
    • Forgets plays; Balance problems or dizziness
    • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent; Double or fuzzy vision
    • Moves clumsily; Sensitivity to light or noise
    • Answers questions slowly; Feeling sluggish
    • Loses consciousness; Feeling foggy or groggy
    • Shows behavior or personality changes; Concentration or memory problems
    • Can't recall events prior to hit; Confusion
    • Can't recall events after hit

  3. Return to Play after a Concussion

    The student-athlete should never return to play competitive sports activities (practice or games) while experiencing any lingering or persisting symptoms of a concussion, no matter how slight. The student-athlete must be completely symptom free at rest and with physical exertion (e.g. sprints, non-contact aerobic activity) and cognitive exertion (e.g. studying, schoolwork) prior to return to sports activities. Given the potential of the student-athlete with a concussion to minimize symptoms to expedite their return to play, objective data in the form of formal neuropsychological testing and balance testing may be used as a criterion for safe return to play. Student-athletes cannot return to play until written clearance is provided by a qualified health care professional (e.g., physician or certified athletic trainer). As with any injury, return to play following a concussion should occur gradually and systematically and under the guidance of a qualified health care professional (e.g., athletic trainer) - with increasing exertion and close monitoring of their response to treatment. Student student-athletes should be monitored for symptoms and cognitive function carefully during each stage of increased exertion. Progression is allowed to the next level of exertion if the student-athlete is asymptomatic at the current level. A specific return-to-play (RTP) protocol outlining gradual increase in activity has been established by the Concussion in Sport Group. (See also House Bill 858)

    Premature return to play from a concussion can have serious consequences including a significantly higher risk for re-injury, prolonged recovery, and an increased risk for a catastrophic outcome, second impact syndrome, which results in death. Prevent these poor outcomes by delaying the student-athlete's return to the activity until the player receives appropriate medical evaluation and approval for return to play.

  4. On-Field / Sideline Assessment & Action

    If student-athlete exhibits any sign of concussion or reports any symptom, they are to be removed from practice or play. When in doubt, keep the player out of play and seek an evaluation from a qualified health care professional trained in concussion assessment and management. The coach is not to try to judge the severity of the injury. Health care professionals have a number of different methods that they can use to assess the severity of concussion.

  5. Managing Concussion with no Loss of Consciousness

    First aid:

    • Remove student-athlete from activity until a qualified health care professional can evaluate them (i.e. physician, certified athletic trainer, and neuropsychologist).
    • Monitor student-athlete for sign and symptoms every 5 minutes.
    • Contact the parent/guardian.
    • If signs/symptoms worsen, activate the emergency medical system, call 911.

  6. Managing Concussion with Loss of Consciousness

    Signs: Student-athlete does not respond to external stimuli (i.e., voice or touch).

    First aid:
    • Activate emergency medical system and call 911 immediately.
    • Contact parent/guardian.
    • Monitor student-athlete's vital signs and keep head and spine immobilized and wait for emergency personnel.
    • If and when student-athlete regains consciousness, monitor for signs/symptoms every 5 minutes and maintain head and spine immobilization.

  7. Coach Report of Concussion to Athletic Trainer

    A concussion that is identified by a coach must be reported to the athletic trainer for appropriate follow-up with the student-athlete and primary care physician.

  8. Communication with Parent/Guardians

    On the day of the injury, inform the student-athlete's parents/guardians about the known or possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion. Make sure they know that the student-athlete should be seen by a qualified health care professional.

* * *

Universal Immediate Care of Athletic Injuries

  1. R.I.C.E.
    • Rest
      • Do not use the injured body part until pain-free activity can be resumed.

    • Ice
      • Apply ice directly to the injured area:
        • 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, for the first three hours
        • After 72 hours, 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off, one time
      • Do not use chemical packs directly on skin for facial injuries
      • Do not apply heat if swelling, inflammation or pain persists

    • Compression
      • Wrap from below the injured area and toward the body and:
      • Use a pad under the wrap to add compression forces to retard swelling and activate absorption
      • When sleeping, loosen wrap, do not remove it

    • Elevation
      • Elevate to a level above the heart:
      • To reduce bleeding
      • To reduce swelling

  2. Every injury that requires R.I.C.E. should be evaluated by your athletic trainer, family physician or by an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.

  3. The student-athlete may not return to play until written clearance is provided by a qualified healthcare professional (e.g., physician or certified athletic trainer).

AED Guidelines

(Automatic External Defibrillator)

AED Inspection Procedures:

  1. The nurse at each school is responsible for inspecting all AEDs on a weekly basis.

  2. The nurse MUST be informed which AEDs are being used each season. Athletic Directors are responsible for storing AED's not in use.

  3. AEDs should be numbered, documented, and assigned to a team/coach at the beginning of each sports season. At least one AED must be housed in an AED box in a designated location. The Athletic Director must provide this information to the nurse on the AED Location chart.

  4. AEDs that are in use MUST be taken to the nurse for routine inspection according to the schedule established by the nurse, or be housed daily in a location that the school nurse can complete the regularly scheduled AED inspection.

  5. Each school needs to develop guidelines for this procedure and provide copies of said guidelines to the School Nurse, Nurse Coordinator, Supervisor of Athletics, the Athletic Director, and all coaches.

AED Guidelines:

  1. AEDs should be located so that they are available within five (5) minutes of an incident.

  2. An individual trained in the operation and use of an AED shall be present at all times/locations that an AED is required to be available.

  3. The school system has purchased an inventory of AEDs to provide adequate coverage for outside activities.

  4. The AED and first aid bag must be present at all practices and games.

  5. AEDs and first aid bags should be secured in the team's designated area in the school after practices or games. In cases when this is not possible, the AED and first aid bag become the responsibility of the coach until it is returned to its' designated area. It should be noted that exposure to very hot or cold temperatures or rain could damage the AED.

  6. For games, the home team is responsible for having an AED present in the bench area or outside the gym. The AED is not to get wet. It can be wrapped in plastic inside the first aid bag or an umbrella can be put over the first aid bag during rainy weather.

  7. When traveling out of the county, the AED should be taken with you in the event the school you are visiting does not have one available.

  8. AED's should not be stored in cars that can get excessively cold or hot.

AED Protocols:

  1. Pool Areas
    • The victim must be on a dry surface - a backboard may be used.
    • The victim's chest area must be dry before placing pads.

  2. Wet Ground
    • Move the victim to a dry area (running track if possible)
    • If the track or a dry area is not available, place dry clothing or any other dry material under the victim.
    • If the victim's chest is wet from water or perspiration, dry the area first.
    • If it is raining, an umbrella can be held over the victim and AED to keep the area dry.

Who is Responsible for the AED:

  1. Each coach is responsible for the safety and security of their AED.

  2. The loss or damage of an AED through negligence by the liable party, e.g. coach, is comparable to losing any piece of equipment, with the responsibility of its replacement being that of the coach, school, and athletic department.

  3. Loss of an AED, or any other equipment, would be a concern to be included in a coaching evaluation at the end of the season.

Communicable Disease Procedure

(As recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations)

While the risk of one student-athlete infecting another with HIV/AIDS during competition is close to non-existent, there is a remote risk that other blood borne infectious diseases can be transmitted. For example, Hepatitis B can be present in blood as well as in other body fluids. Procedures for reducing the potential for transmission of these infectious agents should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. The bleeding must be stopped, the open wound covered and if there is an excessive amount of blood on the uniform, it must be changed before the student-athlete may participate.

  2. Routine use of gloves or other precautions to prevent skin and mucous-membrane exposure when contact with blood or other body fluids is anticipated.

  3. Immediately wash hands and other skin surfaces if contaminated (in contact) with blood or other body fluids. Wash hands immediately after removing gloves.

  4. Clean all blood contaminated surfaces and equipment with an appropriate disinfectant before competition resumes.

  5. Practice proper disposal procedures to prevent injuries caused by needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments or devices.

  6. Although saliva has not been implicated in HIV transmission, to minimize the need for emergency mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, or other ventilation devices should be available for use.

  7. Athletic trainers/coaches with bleeding or oozing skin conditions should refrain from all direct athletic care until condition resolves.

  8. Contaminated towels should be properly disposed of or disinfected.

  9. Follow acceptable guidelines in the immediate control of bleeding and when handling bloody dressings, mouth guards, and other articles containing body fluids.