When Moving Backwards Is Mistaken for Moving Forwards

Reid Waxman, Staff Writer

As the school year ends, some students are faced with the decision of whether to reclass or not. Reclassification is repeating a grade level to improve academic performance or athletic eligibility. While you could argue that reclassification can benefit students, others believe it may not be the best course of action. I believe that students should not reclass for athletic purposes because it hurts the high school sports experience. 

Reclassifying can provide students with numerous benefits that can lead to long-term success. It is smart for students who are looking to gain an athletic advantage. By repeating a year of high school, students are given an extra year to develop their athletic skills, which increases their chance of playing their sport collegiately.  It could allow students to mature emotionally and socially, giving them an extra year to develop crucial life skills. It can give students more time to develop friendships and relationships with teachers, coaches, and other staff members, which can be beneficial for mental health. It also allows the students to compete at a higher level athletically, giving them an extra year to develop their skills and physical abilities. While reclassifying may initially be seen as a setback, its benefits can make it a wise investment in a student’s future success. 

Although reclassification has its benefits, it has its negatives. It hurts the integrity of high school sports. The purpose of his school sports is to allow students to compete against each other on a level playing field. Allowing older, more physically mature students to play high school sports removes the competition’s fairness and equality. It gives an unfair advantage to those who reclass, which goes against the spirit of sports. No fifth-year senior should be allowed to play high school sports.

Not only can it hurt the competition of high school sports, but it can also have negative consequences for students socially and emotionally. Repeating a year of high school can impact a student’s mental health and self-esteem. It could also disrupt their friendships and relationships with classes. It could leave them feeling isolated and disconnected.

Reclassifying for sports can limit a student’s personal and academic growth opportunities. High school is an essential time for students to develop academically, socially, and emotionally. Additionally, delaying graduation can also set back a student’s ability to pursue college.

Reclassification sends the team the message that winning is more important than the education and overall development of the student-athlete. High school sports should be about promoting teamwork, sportsmanship, and personal growth. While sports can provide valuable lessons and experiences, athletics should not take priority over personal growth and academics. 

The culture of hyper-competitiveness and pressure to perform at the level of a college-bound athlete should not be allowed, and reclassification brings that. Allowing and encouraging reclassification only adds pressure that students face to excel in sports. It creates a culture where winning is everything. It encourages athletes to push themselves to the point of burnout and injury. 

While reclassing benefits student-athletes, the potential negative consequences outweigh the positives. High school sports should be about fairness and equality, not just their athletic abilities. Prioritizing education and personal growth over athletics will create a healthier and more balanced high school experience for all students.