Attention Student Athletes

Know Your Eligibility Rules for Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. Sponsored Athletic Competition

Know Your Eligibility Rules
A student who participates in interscholastic athletics at a school which is a member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (P.I.A.A.) must adhere to the P.I.A.A. eligibility rules for student athletes. If you fail to comply with the P.I.A.A. rules, you will lose your eligibility to represent your school in interscholastic athletics. If you participate while ineligible, your school or team will be penalized. It is therefore important for you to be aware of the requirements to which you are subject.

The information contained here highlights and summarizes the major eligibility requirements you must meet in order to participate in interscholastic athletics. It does not list every rule or every detail. Unless otherwise indicated, each requirement applies to grades 7 through 12.

The principal of your school is responsible for certifying the eligibility of all students representing your school in interscholastic athletics. If you have any questions concerning your athletic eligibility, either present or future, you should see your school principal, who has available a complete copy of all the P.I.A.A. eligibility rules. Your principal may also obtain from the appropriate P.I.A.A. District Committee a formal ruling as to your athletic eligibility.


You may not have reached your 19th birthday by June 30 immediately preceding the school year. (15th birthday where interscholastic competition limited to grades 7 and 8; 16th birthday where limited to grades 7 through 9).

Amateur Status and Awards

To be eligible to participate in a sport, you must be an amateur in the sport. You will lose your amateur status in a sport for at least a year if:

1. You, or your school, or an organization which you represent, or your parent or guardian, receives money or property for or related to your athletic ability, performance, participation, or services.

2. You accept compensation for teaching, training or coaching in a sport. You may receive normal and customary compensation for acting as an instructor in or officiating recreational activities, or for serving as a lifeguard at swimming areas.

You may receive awards only from your school, the sponsor of an athletic event, the news media, or a non-profit service organization approved by your school principal. Permissible awards are a sweater, jacket, blazer, blanket, shirt, shorts, jersey, cap, watch, ring, scroll, photograph, medal, plaque or similar trophy, which must bear appropriate organizational insignia or comparable identification.


1. You must be regularly enrolled in your school and in full-time attendance there.

2. You are eligible only at the school at which you are enrolled.

3. If you are absent from school during a semester for a total of 20 or more school days, you will lose your eligibility until you have been in attendance for a total of 45 school days following your 20th day of absence.

Consent of Parent or Guardian

You are eligible only if there is on file with the principal of your school, before you begin practice, an official P.I.A.A. certificate signed by your parent or guardian consenting to your participation in the particular sport involved.

Pre-participation Physical Evaluation

You are eligible only if you have participated in a pre-participation physical evaluation performed by a licensed physician of medicine or osteopathic medicine, a certified registered nurse practitioner, a school nurse practitioner, or a certified physician assistant before your first sports season's first practice day of that school year. Before each subsequent sports season's first practice day of that same school year, you must be reevaluated or certified that your condition is satisfactory before you commence to practice for the sport.

Wrestlers must also obtain from the physician, certified registered nurse practitioner, school nurse practitioner, or certified physician assistant, prior to the first practice day, a certification of the minimum weight classification at which they may wrestle for the entire season.

In all cases, the medical professional must have signed the P.I.A.A. Physicians Certificate .


You are treated as having transferred whenever you change schools, even if you are out of school for a period of time before entering the new school.

Except as provided below, if you transfer from one school district to another you are eligible immediately at your new school:

1. When you live with your natural or adoptive parents in the new school district.

2. When you live with a court-appointed legal guardian in the new school district, upon approval by the P.I.A.A. District Committee.

Transfer students that may not be declared eligible immediately through provisions provided under Article VI, Sections 3 through 7, must have their eligibility determined by the District Committee upon proper submission of the "Transfer Waiver Request Form".  This form can be found under the "forms" section of the PIAA Handbook.

If you transfer from one school to another in whole or in part for any athletic purpose, or if you are recruited, you will lose your athletic eligibility in all sports for one year.  This requirement applies even if you would otherwise be eligible at the school to which you transferred.

Most students who are not eligible immediately will be ineligible for one year from the date of transfer in each sport in which they participated within one year preceding the date of transfer.

Period of Time After Eighth Grade, Participation, and Grade Repetition

1. You will lose you eligibility when you have reached the end of your fourth consecutive year beyond the eighth grade.  If you repeat a grade after eight, you will be ineligible as a senior.

2. You may participate a maximum of six seasons in each sport during grades seven through twelve, a maximum of four seasons in each sport during grades nine through twelve, and a maximum of three seasons in each sport during grades seven through nine.

3. You may participate only one season in each sport during each school year.

Outside Participation

You will lose your eligibility in a sport for the remainder of the season if, while a member of your high school team, you participate in an athletic contest as an individual or a member of another team in the same sport during the same season, unless your school principal waives this rule by sending an appropriate letter to the P.I.A.A. Executive Director before you begin the outside participation.

If you participate as an individual or as a member of a team in a non-school athletic program, while enrolled at a school which has a team in that sport, you will be eligible for the playoffs in that sport only if you are in uniform and available to participate as a member of your school team for at least 75 percent of its regular season contests.

Academic and Curricular Requirements

1. You must pursue a curriculum defined and approved by your principal as a full-time curriculum.

2. You must be passing at least four full-credit subjects or the equivalent as of each Friday during the grading period. If you fail to meet this requirement, you will lose your eligibility from the following Sunday through the Saturday immediately following the next Friday as of which you meet this requirement.

3. You must have passed at least four full-credit subjects or the equivalent during the previous grading period, except that eligibility for the first grading period is based on your final grades for the preceding school year. If you fail to meet this requirement, you will lose your eligibility for at least 10 to 15 school days of the next grading period, beginning on the first day report cards are issued. If your school has four grading periods, you will be ineligible for at least 15 school days; if your school has six grading periods, you will be ineligible for at least 10 school days.

All-Star Contests and National High School/Interscholastic Championships

You will lose your eligibility in a sport for one year if you participate in an all-star contest in that sport or if you participate in a contest to qualify for and/or determine a single national high school/interscholastic individual champion or championship team in that sport.

Out-of-Season Participation

Almost all P.I.A.A. sports have a defined season. If your team conducts practice and/or plays a contest outside that P.I.A.A. defined season, your school will be penalized.

(revised July 1, 2001)