The Jackson Public Schools’ athletic program has approximately 3,500 student athletes. There are 11 competitive sports for high school students and six competitive sports for 7th and 8th graders. The objective for the athletic program is to promote the physical, mental, social, emotional, and moral well-being of the team members while providing opportunities for as many young men and women as possible. Athletics is viewed by the JPS School Board and the administration as an extension of the education process and as an integral part of the total education process. In addition, we also believe an important part of athletics is to encourage students to stay in school. Research shows that students involved in athletic activities are happier and less likely to drop out of school. Every year students gain athletic scholarships which help them continue their education in college. Jackson Public Schools is a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association and must abide by all rules and regulations as set forth by its governing body.
- Students must attend the school in the zone in which they live in order to be considered eligible for athletics.
- Students must sit out one year from the date of enrollment when transferring to a school outside their zone.
- Middle School Students must pass five subjects a year. High school students must pass five Carnegie units toward graduation each year.
- Upon entering the 7th grade, students have two consecutive years for participation in middle school. Upon enrollment in the 9th grade, students are eligible to participate in athletics for four consecutive years.
- Eligible high school students should not reach the age of 19 prior to August 1 of the beginning school year. Eligible middle school students should not reach the age of 15 prior to August 1 of the beginning school year.
- Students must reside with the parent or guardian with legal custody to be considered eligible to play sports.
For details, see the Mississippi High School Activities Association's Academic Eligibility Rules located in the MHSAA Handbook.
Jackson Public Schools expects each coach, athlete, and fan to represent his or her school with the very best sportsmanship. The Mississippi High School Activities Association has stringent rules against unsportsmanlike behavior for all involved in athletic contests. Remember that school athletics are learning experiences for students and that mistakes are sometimes made. Praise student-athletes in their attempt to improve themselves as students, as athletes, and as people.
Know that a ticket is a privilege to attend, not a license to verbally degrade others.
Eliminate all types of baiting and taunting from sports activities. Behavior like angry finger pointing, “pistol shooting,” obscene gestures, and racially derogatory comments must be avoided and must be penalized consistently when they occur.
Realize that spectators represent the school just as members of the team do.
Show respect for the opposing players, coaches, spectators, and support groups. Treat them as you would treat a guest in your own home.
Use only those cheers that support and uplift the teams involved.
Give participants (including cheerleaders) the right to compete in an atmosphere without boos and derisive comments.
Learn the rules of the game so that you may understand and appreciate why certain situations take place.
Respect the judgment and integrity of officials, realizing that their decisions are based upon game conditions as they see them. They are doing their best to help promote student athletes. Respect their willingness to participate in full view of the public.
Refrain from the use of any controlled substance (alcohol, drugs, etc.) before and during games and afterwards on or near the site of the event.
Recognize that good sportsmanship is more important than victory, and demonstrate that by applauding the good play of either team.
Be modest in victory and gracious in defeat.
Schools and coaches may be fined or put on probation for misbehavior before, during, and after an athletic contest.
Schools may be, and have been, reprimanded or put on probation when their fans become unruly or incite behavior deemed to be unsportsmanlike. Also, fans may be banned from attending athletic events for unsportsmanlike behavior.
College-Bound Scholarship Criteria
High school student-athletes must meet the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) minimum criteria for college preparatory courses, grade point average, and standardized test scores in order to participate in sports in college. The minimum requirements for Divisions I, II, and III have increased in recent years. For the most up-to-date requirements, refer to the Eligibility Center on the NCAA's website.
Parents or legal guardians are responsible for medical payments and insurance coverage for students participating in athletics. Details are provided on the Parent Consent Form that must be signed prior to a student’s participation in athletics. Brochures about an insurance company that provides primary or supplemental insurance coverage for student athletes at a minimal cost are available in the offices of JPS middle and high schools.