Your team needs to have a fully completed Roster Form with it prior to the first (and every) game of the season.
For youth teams, parents (or legal guardians) sign instead of each youth.
The signatures on the roster form also serve as a medical waiver, therefore teams cannot play church sports without a signed roster form.
Once your roster is signed by all players (or their parents), you need to sign it, and have a member of your bishopric sign it as well.
Please note that In addition to his signature, he also needs to put his initial next to each player to shows he has considered each player individually, and certify that:
1. All players reside in the ward boundaries,
2. All youth are 18 years old or younger, and
3. No player played this sport this season for any school team.
Also, please note that:
- 18-year old “graduated seniors” are not eligible to play youth sports, even if a bishop insists. There is more than one young person to consider here; fairness in competition to the other youth requires strict enforcement of this rule. Happily adult teams are always willing to take in and nurture young people.
- Even if the season has ended, a player who played a sport for a school cannot play for a church team that same season. Even if the player suited up just once and sat the bench the whole time, that player cannot play that sport in church ball that season.
It is so heartbreaking to see a player or a team disqualified due to misunderstandings about eligibility, so please do right by them on this form.
Surprisingly, a frequent point of contention in youth sports is participation. Some coaches are focused more on winning than on the youth, and limit some players’ involvement on the floor or the field. This usually creates hard feelings in the youth, in parents, and in the opponent who is trying to play by the rules.
Handbook 2 says,
“Church sports activities provide opportunities for wholesome physical activity, fellowship, and sportsmanship. The emphasis in Church sports is on participation, sportsmanship, and skill development, not competition. All team members should have regular opportunities to play.” (emphasis added).
Minutes do not have to be exactly equal, but participation should be fair, and allocation of minutes played should fall easily and clearly within the guidelines of the handbook.
Coaches and leaders should “make a special effort to reach out to new members, less-active members, people with disabilities and people of other faiths.” (Handbook 2).
Handbook 2 also says,
“In addition to providing fun and entertainment, activities should build testimonies, strengthen families, and foster unity and personal growth. Activities strengthen members by giving them a sense of belonging and mutual support.”
Only coaches and players can sit on the bench or sidelines; parents and families are encouraged to attend youth sports activities and cheer from the spectator areas. “Leaders ensure that activities strengthen the family rather than compete with it. …Activities should support parents by teaching their children to be faithful followers of Christ.” (Handbook 2).
President Ezra Taft Benson once said,
“Sportsmanship is the spirituality in athletics, and we believe that the Church athletic program is a spiritual program. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t continue it, because our purpose is to build men and women of character and spirituality.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 437).
Thank you, coach (and all other youth leaders) for doing your part to uphold this vision of church sports — both through your service and through your example.