CONNY Changes 2020 Player Age Eligibility Cutoff Dates
In order to keep as many players as possible with their grade classmates, without compromising safety by encouraging too wide age spreads, the CONNY Executive Committee has moved the oldest birthday permitted for each year group from the September 1st to the July 1st preceding the season (except 14U Seniors for which the birthday eligibility date remains the March 1st preceding the season to accommodate very old-in-grade 8thgraders who would not otherwise have a place to play in the spring). Thus, the 2020 player segmentation birthday cutoff dates will be:
All teams are organized by birth year, with single birth year teams strongly preferred. Where numbers or other circumstances don’t allow that, two birth year combined teams are permitted within a CONNY Age Division (e.g. Junior, Senior).
Background: As strongly recommended by US Lacrosse, our sport’s National Governing Body, CONNY competitive divisions have been organized since 2017 by birth year (with an explicit or implicit grade consideration). CONNY has used the US Lacrosse recommended birthday cutoff of the September 1st preceding the season (except for the 14U March 1 exception).
US Lacrosse’s recommendation to organize activity by birth year results from extensive research by its Science & Safety Committee which determined that excessive age spreads in contests and practices increase risk of injury and compromise player development. Further analysis revealed that in much of the country a single grade sometimes contained a birthday range of up to thirty months, and that birthday spreads within a grade were increasing. Nevertheless, recognizing that keeping as many children as possible together with their grade classmates is a significant social benefit, US Lacrosse chose the September 1 preceding the season as the birth year cutoff date to mirror August and September kindergarten entrance dates (date on which a child is age 5 or older) prevalent across most of the country.
However, in Connecticut the kindergarten entrance date is January 1 of the school year…the only state with such a late entrance date. As a result, many Connecticut parents whose children would enter kindergarten as young five year olds hold their children back until the next school year. This is especially a consideration if they believe they might later move somewhere with a more conventional entrance date, making their child by far the youngest in their grade. Due to this and other factors, Connecticut has perhaps the highest percentage of old-in-grade students in the nation. For CONNY, that means that such held back children must play with the next higher grade, though the Eligibility Committee does have an appeals process for such cases. Such appeals petitions have been numerous and often contentious over the last three years.
Therefore, the CONNY Board of Directors asked the Eligibility Committee to determine if a different birthday cutoff date would keep as many players as possible with their grade classmates without compromising safety by creating too wide age spreads.
Analysis and Action:The Eligibility Committee analyzed all appeals petitions from 2019 and earlier seasons and numerous team rosters to determine if another birthday cutoff date might better meet the CONNY schedule and conditions. They discovered that a cutoff date of July 1 preceding the season would eliminate virtually all appeals and allow almost all children to play with their grade classmates. July 1 has the additional benefit of coming after the end of the CONNY spring season. Therefore, the Eligibility Committee recommended, and the Executive Committee unanimously approved, moving the birthday cutoff date to the July 1 preceding the season.
If you haven't already seen it, the following link will take you to a terrific documentary video about the origins, history, growth, and future of both men's and women's lacrosse. It is well worth the fifty-five minutes it runs.
The documentary does, however, omit one fascinating detail. James Naismith, credited with inventing basketball while teaching at Springfield College, was a Canadian and a lacrosse player. Thus, it's not that lacrosse is a lot like basketball ... it's that basketball is a lot like lacrosse.
With a rise in reported concussions in youth sports over the past several years, the CONNY Board is working to educate Program Administrators, coaches, and parents on concussion awareness.
To that end, we have created a "Concussions Resources" page on this website (on the left hand menu). This page is designed to assist your team, town, school, or league in creating a concussion awareness program. The resources available will also help parents and coaches with diagnosis and action when a player gets hit in the head.
Thank you for addressing this highly relevant topic with your program coaches and parents.