Request to NHYFSC - Follow the National Guidelines by Switching to Age-Based Eligibility for Football
This winter, the American Youth Football and Cheer (AYFC) organization voted in a significant change to the rules governing eligible ages for each division. The AYFC is the national governing body that oversees the New Hampshire Youth Football and Spirit Conference (NHYFSC).
The AYFC rule change, from grade-based to age-based eligibility, effectively results in a full one-year shift in eligible ages for each division. So, for example, this change would allow most 5th graders, and even very young 6th graders to play in the level currently limited to 4th graders.
Unfortunately, while this national mandate was ratified by the NHYFSC for cheer, it was not ratified for football.
The signees of this petition request the NHYFSC to reconsider this decision and adapt the national AYFC guidelines, for the reasons outlined below.
Keeping the grade-based structure limits our competitive potential and increases injury risk in regional and national competition. More specifically, the following statements are valid:
1. Our state championship teams will be playing against older, more skilled athletes in the regionals/nationals against other states that have adopted the age-based structure, limiting our chance for advancing through regional/national tournaments.
2. Playing in regional/national tournaments against older, bigger, stronger athletes clearly increases the risk of injury, including the head injuries that we are all working so hard to limit.
3. Increases in head injuries will continue the recent trend of decreasing participation levels in youth football.
4. The new age-based structure would allow most 9th graders to play another year in NHYFSC. Keeping the grade-based structure would eliminate 100-200 kids from NHYFSC eligibility, and would reduce the total number of registrations, and thus organizational revenues.