5th – 8th Grade CYC Competitive/Balanced FAQ’s
The Holy Redeemer Athletic Association is just one of 20 parishes that operate under the South Central District of the Archdiocesan CYC. While CYC sports for K through 4th grade children was primarily instructional, starting in 5th grade, CYC begins “competitive” play.
The South Central District’s athletic philosophy is to have athletes compete at levels corresponding with their abilities beginning in 5th grade. The South Central District makes their best effort to group all parish teams into tiered leagues (A, B & C) where the majority of teams in each tier fall into the same category of ability. The purpose for this league classification system is to help equalize the competitiveness of each team within each division, across all parishes, and allow all players to have a more positive CYC athletic experience.
When you sign your child up for CYC sports for 5th through 8th grade at Holy Redeemer, the HRAA has decided to let parents indicate their preference as to whether they want the teams assembled as “competitive” or “balanced”. The vote on team formation will take place each year, for each sport that has enough children to form two or more teams (excluding golf & track), and the outcome can change from year to year.
Each child, and each age group, is unique, with variables that change from year to year and each Parish in the South Central District forms their teams in a somewhat different manner. The HRAA believes that by giving parents a chance to indicate their preferences based on the variables that exist for their children and their age group, the HRAA can most properly present our teams to the South Central District for their classification system and league placements.
The purpose of this FAQ is to advise you how teams are formed in the 5th through 8th grade. This document will explain what you are voting for, and help you understand that while a perfect system is simply not possible, given the variable concerns of so many individual CYC participants, the approach we follow has been thoroughly and thoughtfully put together over many years – with the purpose of creating the best possible environment for every child to develop athletically, emotionally and spiritually.
Also beginning this year, your child will need a “CYC ID Card” in order to participate. Information on how to apply for that can be found at this link: http://idcards.cycstl.net/
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How does the South Central District classify teams?
A: Beginning in 5th grade, the South Central District will attempt to divide the teams into levels of play based on differing abilities (A, B & C) within each grade division (with “A” designating the most skilled division) according to prior year record and other quantitative factors. Depending on the sport and the number of teams, subdivisions of A, B & C can also occur (e.g. B1, B2, C1, C2 and even D teams). Prior to the start of the season, each Parish sport coordinator gives their assessment of how each of the Parish’s teams best fits into the categories of ability for grades 5-8. The South Central District takes that information and then divides teams into leagues where the majority of teams fall into the same category of ability.
Q: What do the terms “competitive” & “balanced” mean?
A: A “competitive” vote means that athletes with similar skill level will be placed on a team with like-skilled athletes. A “balanced” vote means that athletes of similar skill level will be equally distributed between the teams.
In either case, The HR sport coordinator will determine whether to submit these “competitive” or “balanced” teams as A, B or C teams for CYC scheduling purposes, depending on the level of ability in that particular grade’s teams.
Q: What are some of the reasons parents vote one way or the other?
A: As an example, some parents may want balanced teams where they feel children with less ability can benefit from being placed with kids with greater ability. Other parents may vote competitive where they feel that their child will get more playing time, better develop their skills and abilities, and build more self-confidence if they are playing against other children of a similar skill level. Some parents may vote to have a “most skilled” team in order to best compete in the South Central District’s post season tournaments. Please note that the above are just some examples of why some parents vote the way they do – you are encouraged to determine what is best for your child.
Q: How does the HRAA evaluate player’s skill level?
A: If the vote is for “competitive,” the HR sport coordinator will contact the players with an evaluation date/dates. In most instances, an independent evaluator, with experience in a specific sport and no direct interest in the teams, will rank the players. That ranking will then be used to create the competitive team. The sports coordinator and coaches may consult with these third party evaluators when making the final team formation decisions regarding the remaining players. If the vote is for “balanced,” the coaches and the coordinator determine the teams.
Q. What if my child is not able to attend evaluations?
A. If a player chooses not to participate in any of the evaluation sessions or does not inform the sports coordinator of the inability to participate because of a reasonable (in the coordinator’s estimation) conflict or injury, then that player automatically will be assigned to the less-competitive team.
Q: Can my child be “cut” from a team?
A: No – every child will be placed on a team and have the opportunity to play – HRAA does not allow “cutting”
Q: What if my child’s team gets placed by the South Central District in a league too skilled, or conversely, too easy, within the CYC classification system?
A: This can and will happen regardless of everyone’s best efforts. This is particularly true in the 5th grade, because there is not yet a record of play in the classifications and a wide variety of volunteer coaches/lay directors simply giving their best estimates of relative skill. Historically, the CYC has found those problems will correct themselves in subsequent years as records and scores are collected and added into the league placement data. Please be assured that the HRAA and the South Central District strives to create the best environment for EVERY child throughout the child’s CYC experience.
Q: Can my child play on a “select” or club team in addition to CYC?
Q: Can having “select” players in your age group influence a competitive/balanced vote?
A: It can — because the Archdiocese creates separate post season tournaments for teams with “select” players (open teams) and teams without “select” players (closed teams), the number of players in a particular age group also playing on “select” or club teams might influence the likelihood of your child getting the opportunity for post season play.
An “Open” team is a team with at least one player who is on the roster of another team of the same sport in the same season, which is typically a select or club team.
A “Closed” team is a team with no players who are on the roster of another team (no select players).
Only A teams can qualify for “Open” tournaments, while “Closed” tournaments can draw from lower B or C levels.
For example, some parents in a group with a number of “open” players may have the view that to have any chance to compete in an “A” level “open” tournament, they would need to vote competitive to collect the highest skilled players in an “A” division “open” tournament. Just as importantly, for non-“select” players, voting competitive and creating a “B” team with no “select” players, then gives them the ability to best compete in the “closed” tournament. Please note however, HR team placement is based on our evaluation process not whether or not a child plays on a “select” or club team, so it is always possible for “select” players to be placed on the “B” team regardless. The above are just some examples of why some parents vote the way they do – you are encouraged to determine what is best for your child and their age group.
Q: When will the competitive/balanced vote take place?
A: After registration has closed and once the sports coordinator knows the number of registrants requires the formation of two or more teams, an email will be sent to the parents asking them how they wish the teams to be formed – “competitive” or “balanced”.
Q: Why doesn’t a “simple majority” of the votes determine whether a grade goes competitive or balanced?
A: Our system is set up to assist team formation within the South Central District tiered system. The HRAA is basically asking “are there enough parents that want a competitive team formed?” If so, then a competitive team will be formed. Thus, the number of votes required to go with the competitive option is exactly the same number as the minimum roster number to create a team. Those numbers for each sport are as follow: 7-basketball, 9-volleyball, 14-soccer, and 12-baseball/softball. Remaining children will then be formed into teams, based on the assessment of the evaluator, the coaches and the HR sports coordinator, to be scheduled by CYC against similarly skilled children from other parishes in order to give the children the best possible CYC experience within their skill group. EVERY child is important in CYC, regardless of skill, and we work extremely hard to provide an environment where every child will grow both athletically and spiritually.
Q: If we vote one way or the other are we stuck with that for the next 4 years?
A: No. Each season, every year, for each sport, you will be asked to vote if there are enough athletes to form two or more teams.
Q: Can the parents vote just in the 5th grade to cover all years 5th– 8th grades?
A: No. Variables change from year to year. This gives the parents the opportunity to change their vote depending on shifting circumstances related to their child and their age group.
Q: Can my child change teams in the competitive format once my child is place on an A/B team?
A: Yes. Every year for every sport that votes competitive, we will have evaluations to place the athletes in the appropriate level of play. The abilities of children change from year to year. Each year, your child has an equal opportunity to be placed according to the evaluation of his ability in that year.
Q: Can I get a refund of my registration fee if I do not like what team my child is placed on?
A: No. The HRAA ensures that every child will be placed on a team and have an opportunity to play. It does not guarantee what team a child will be placed on and the HRAA will not allow for refunds on fees because a parent is not happy with the results of the evaluation.
Q: What if there are siblings (e.g. twins), in the same grade, that are evaluated on to separate teams?
A: The HRAA recognizes some of the practical realities involved in that situation and creates an exception which allows the parents to decide if they want the siblings to play on the same team. If one of the players is an “A” player – he/she may be placed on a “B” team in order to keep the two players together. A “B” player cannot be moved up to an “A” team to make this accommodation.
Q: Where can I go to read the actual policies and procedures of the HRAA concerning the competitive/balanced system and evaluations?
A: The actual policies and procedures can be found at this link: (link not yet available – policies & procedures to be posted soon.)
Additional FAQ’S People May Have About CYC
Q: What is the CYC?
A: The Catholic Youth Council (CYC) is a service of the Archdiocese of St. Louis that offers youth recreational sports programs for those 6-18 years of age. The seven sport programs of Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Softball, Track, Volleyball and Golf is based on an “everyone plays and sports is fun” concept.
Q: What is the goal of the CYC?
A. The CYC attempts to:
- Develop within participants an understanding of their value as an individual.
- Cultivate a spirit of trust and concern for others.
- Inspire a sense of respect for the rights and responsibilities of others as individuals and groups.
- Instill ethical standards of conduct.
- Encourage cooperation and team spirit.
- Empower youth and young adults to become active in the community.
Q: How many children participate in CYC athletics?
A: About 70,000 children participate in CYC athletics in the St. Louis area.
Q: How is the CYC organized?
A: There are seven Districts within the CYC: South Central, St. Louis City, South County, West County, Metro North, Florissant, and St. Charles.
The CYC Central Office provides oversight for the individual Districts. Many operational decisions are made at the District level, not by the Central Office. Each District may establish its own constitution and rules, as long as they do not violate the spirit of the Central Office Constitution and Rules. During postseason play (i.e., City/County Championship), game rules formulated by individual Districts are not in effect.
Q: Does the CYC have a website?
A. Yes – www.cycstl.net. Click ‘Sports’ in the CYC logo. The South Central District also has a website: www.cycsouthcentral.org.