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Proposed Athletic Changes for 2022-2023 School Year

Process:

The HCPS interscholastic athletic program has an established Athletic Legislative Committee (ALC) composed of the Supervisor of Interscholastic Athletics (chairperson), the Executive Director of Secondary School Instruction and Performance, the Director of Secondary School Instruction and Performance, the Executive Director of Student Support Services, the 10 high school principals, the 10 athletic directors, and a coach representative from each high school. This group meets each year in March to review the regulations for governing and the procedures for administering interscholastic athletics. Changes which are supported by majority vote of this body, subject to endorsement by the General Curriculum Committee (GCC) and the approval of the Superintendent, become effective in the following school year.

This year, two independent proposals were brought forth to the ALC and GCC:

  1. A proposal to remove winter cheerleading as a varsity sport for the 2022-2023 school year. This will NOT impact fall cheerleading.
  2. A proposal to add indoor track as a varsity sport for the 2022-2023 school year. This would align indoor track in Harford County with the other 23 counties in Maryland.

These two proposals were supported by the ALC (March 2022) and approved by GCC (May 2022).

We are currently requesting your feedback on each of the proposals. Feedback will be accepted for 30 days and will close Friday, July 29, 2022.

Background:

Indoor Track

  • Indoor track is a recognized state program by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) that is offered in 23 out of 24 Maryland school systems as a funded varsity sport. In other words, Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) is the only school system not currently recognizing indoor track as a varsity sport.
  • Indoor Track has been offered to our students as an unfunded, club sport for more than ten (10) years. Regular season transportation is not provided by the school system. Indoor track coaches volunteer their time, and families or fundraising efforts, pay entry fees to the meets.
  • Participation numbers are increasing. Currently, eight (8) high schools are able to provide indoor track as a club opportunity to their students. During the last indoor track club season, teams ranged in size from 10-56 student-athletes.

Winter Cheerleading

  • The Winter season of cheerleading is a non-sanctioned sport (not recognized by the MPSSAA) and the only varsity sport that is currently offered in two different seasons. Only 9 of 24 Maryland counties, including Harford County, offer winter cheerleading.
  • Participation has been trending down. Only 5 schools were able to support a winter cheerleading team during the 2021-2022 season. During the 2021-2022 season, teams ranged in size from 6-24 student- athletes.
  • Opportunities during the winter season have been limited due to safety concerns of having the cheerleading teams on the restricted sideline at basketball games. Cheerleading teams do not travel to away games on a regular basis and are limited to cheer from the stands for the safety of the cheerleaders, basketball players, officials, and fans.