Updated July 1, 2023
The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) is comprised of approximately 750 member schools, both public and private, across the state of Missouri. MSHSAA’s eligibility requirements have been voted on by the member schools and were adopted by your school when it became a MSHSAA member. Your school will also have local school requirements that you must comply with in order to be eligible.
Information contained on this page will acquaint you with the essential rules and regulations students and schools must follow in order to maintain and protect high school eligibility. No one requirement is more important than another. Any questions you have concerning these essential requirements or eligibility should be discussed with the school principal or athletic director. These administrators have copies of all MSHSAA eligibility requirements.
Summary of the Eligibility Requirements
1. Bona Fide Student
In order to represent your school, you must be a bona fide student and meet all eligibility requirements. You must be regularly attending classes and you must meet the academic requirements in MSHSAA By-Law 2.3 and those of your school.
You must be a creditable citizen. Creditable citizens are those students whose conduct - both in school and out of school - will not reflect discredit upon themselves or their school.
NOTE: Conduct involving law enforcement must be reported to your principal or athletic director immediately as your conduct may affect eligibility or contest outcomes.
If you commit an unsportsmanlike act while participating in an event, you could become ineligible.
If your conduct as a spectator is found to be unsportsmanlike, you could be barred from attending any further high school contests.
The unsportsmanlike conduct of any spectator, regardless of age, could cause that spectator to be barred from attending school contests.
You must have earned, the preceding semester of attendance, a minimum of 3.0 units of credit or have earned credit in 80% of the maximum allowable classes in which any student can be enrolled in the semester, whichever is GREATER, at your school.
For your current semester, you must be enrolled in and regularly attending courses that offer 3.0 units of credit or 80% of the maximum allowable credits which may be earned at your school, whichever is GREATER.
Credits earned or completed after the close of the semester will not fulfill this requirement. Summer high school courses for FALL academic eligibility may count provided the course is necessary for graduation or promotion or is a core subject course, and credit is placed on the school transcript. No more than one unit of credit in summer school shall be counted toward fall eligibility.
Students promoted for the first time into 9th grade are considered academically eligible for the first semester after promotion.
Do not drop courses without first consulting with your school principal, athletic director or counselor to determine whether doing so will affect your eligibility.
You must be enrolled in a normal course load for your grade at the member school.
You will be ineligible if you failed more than one class the previous grading period.
You must have been promoted to a higher grade prior to the first day of classes for the new school year.
Students promoted for the first time into 6th and 7th grade are considered academically eligible for the first grading period after promotion.
5. Semesters of Participation
You are eligible to participate in any sport for a maximum of four seasons (an exception is in place for schools sponsoring baseball or softball in both the fall and spring). Any part of a contest played during a season counts as a season of participation.
Your eligibility to participate in high school activities begins when you first enter the 9th grade and lasts for the next eight consecutive semesters (four consecutive years).
You are eligible for only your first two semesters of attendance in the 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade.
You are not eligible to compete with or against students enrolled in the 9th grade or above when you are enrolled in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade.
NOTE: Check with your school principal for exceptions to this rule if you are ineligible because of age.
6. Age Limits
If you reach 19 years of age prior to July 1, you will be ineligible the next school year.
In order to participate on or against teams made up of only 9th graders (freshmen teams), you must not have reached 16 years of age prior to July 1 preceding the opening of school.
Over-aged 8th graders should be moved up to the senior high team to have eight semesters of eligibility.
Over-aged 5th graders should be moved up to the 6th grade team to participate, because they will be ineligible as seniors.
In order to participate on or against teams made up of only 6th graders, you must not have reached 13 years of age prior to July 1 preceding the opening of school.
In order to participate on or against teams made up of only 7th graders, you must not have reached 14 years of age prior to July 1 preceding the opening of school.
In order to participate on or against teams made up of only 8th-graders, you must not have reached 15 years of age prior to July 1 preceding the opening of school.
Students may participate with the next higher grade team if they no longer meet the age limit for their grade.
NOTE: Check with your school principal or athletic director for options available to you if you are ineligible for your grade level because of age.
7. Entering School
You must enter school within the first 11 days of the semester in order to be eligible that semester.
8. Recruiting of Athletes
You will be ineligible for your career at a school if you are influenced by a person to attend that school for athletic or activities purposes. You may, however, return to your original school and be ineligible for no more than 365 days.
9. Playing Under A False Name
If you compete under an assumed or false name, you immediately become ineligible for up to 365 days.
10. Amateur and Awards Standards
An athlete must maintain “amateur standing” 365 days a year in the sport concerned in order to participate in interscholastic athletics – the following restrictions govern the receipt of awards in both interscholastic play AND non-school competition/participation.
After entering a member school, you will become ineligible in the sport concerned if you receive any of the following PROHIBITED awards for participating in an athletic contest or being an athlete:
An award of cash, a gift-certificate/gift-card or an award that is the equivalent of cash is PROHIBITED for amateurs.
Merchandise which exceeds a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $250, per month, is PROHIBITED for amateurs. However, there is no value limit in regard to awards which are symbolic in nature, such as medals, ribbons, trophies, plaques, etc.
Awards should be approved in advance by your school.
Commemorative jewelry may be presented by the school (i.e. championship ring or necklace) (no value limit).
11. Non-School Competition
You may not practice for, or participate with, a non-school team or in any organized non-school athletic competition and for your school team in the same sport during the school sport season. Contact your school's athletic director for specific details in regard to individual sports (swimming & diving, tennis, golf, cross country, track & field, wrestling).
You may participate on a school team and a non-school team in different sports during the same season; however, you may not practice for the non-school team or participate in organized non-school athletic competition on the same day that you practice with or participate for the school team without prior approval of your school administrator.
You must receive approval in advance from your school principal or athletic director in order to miss school time to practice for, travel to or compete in organized non-school athletic competition.
You will become ineligible in any sport in which you play as a member of a junior college, college or university team.
Before you join a non-school team or enter any non-school competitive athletic event, your school principal or athletic director should be consulted to make certain these standards are met.
12. Contact with Coaches
All Sports: The seven days prior to the first allowable practice date each season is a no-contact period in which no "contact" takes place between school coaches and students enrolled in the member school, or who will be enrolled in the member school during the upcoming school year.
Before attending any specialized athletic camp(s)/clinic(s) or group sport instruction, you should consult with your school principal or athletic director to make sure it meets the criteria published in the MSHSAA Official Handbook.
13. College Auditions and Tryouts
You may participate in an event conducted by a college or university during the school year under certain conditions. Consult your athletic director.
You may participate in a college tryout, audition or evaluation event conducted by a private organizer for a specific sport outside the school season of the sport concerned.
You may not miss school time to travel to or participate in the event unless your absence is approved in advance by the school administrator.
NOTE: See your administrator before signing up and agreeing to attend any such events.
14. Residence Requirements
A student may be eligible as an enrolled student at the public or nonpublic school located in the district in which the student's parents reside. In the case of a public multiple-school district, a student may be eligible at the school designated for the student to attend, based on parents' residence, by the board of education.
15. Transferring Schools
If you transfer schools, you will be ineligible for 365 days, unless your circumstances meet one of the exceptions listed in the MSHSAA Residence and Transfer Rules (By-Law 3.10). Make an appointment with the school's athletic director to review these exceptions. Several, but not all, are described below.
Exception 1: If you move with your entire family across a boundary line into your new school district, you will be eligible at your new school provided you were eligible in all other respects at your former school and provided there are no other issues with the transfer. You and your entire family must move to the new residence at the same time prior to attending classes.
Exception 2: A student may be eligible immediately at the school of his or her choice upon first being promoted from the 8th grade into the 9th grade, provided the student is eligible in all other respects.
Exception 10: Foreign Exchange Students are eligible for varsity competition for one year and only if they are seniors (semester 7 or 8), provided they are participating in an exchange program listed by CSIET. However, no member of the school's coaching staff for the sport concerned may serve as a host family, or eligibility of the student will be affected.
Always check with your school principal or athletic director before you transfer to determine whether it will affect your eligibility.
School discipline follows a student to a new school. Being expelled, or being forced to withdraw, from a school also causes 365 days of ineligibility for a student.
You shall become ineligible for 365 days if you transfer to another school for athletic reasons.
16. Graduated Students
You will be ineligible to participate after graduation from a senior high school or its equivalent. Students who are granted an early release after their junior year are ineligible for further participation. (NOTE: You are eligible to participate in state-series events which extend beyond the date of your school’s graduation at the end of the spring semester of your senior year.)