12. Eligibility and Petition Process
Age Eligibility - Youth Age & Eligibility Guidelines
The NCJLA establishes age eligibility divisions to promote a safe and sportsmanlike environment. The NCJLA believes that the league and member clubs should provide playing opportunities that, as much as possible, aim to establish a "level playing field" among players of similar age and development rather than grade based teams. Players should have two years in a division to learn the skills necessary to progress to the next youth age division. The NCJLA does not offer age divisions for 16U or 18U instead there is a high school division which is divided into either Varsity or Junior Varsity.
- “Age Based” groupings: 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U divisions
- High School division includes all players that would fall into the 16U and 18U divisions
- Maintain the current US Lacrosse AND California Department of Education cutoff date of Sept 1st
- Grade based teams are allowed as long as they meet age division guidelines
- Clubs should petition for players to play up or down- no players left out!
- Click here for current season age brackets.
- Information about age based groupings can also be found on the US Lacrosse website (http://www.uslacrosse.org/).
- Players who are age eligible for 14U and in the 9th grade do not need to petition to play 14U since NCJLA age divisions are based on birthdate instead of school grade.
- Players 14 years old or younger DO need to petition and sign a waiver of liability to play in the High School Division.
- Players may "play up" one youth division (8U-14U) with club and parent written approval. The NCJLA recommends that clubs keep the NCJLA Waiver of Liability signed by the parent on file for the duration that the player is in their organization. Please see the policies for playing up section for a copy of the NCJLA Waiver of Liability.
- Players may “play up” more than one division with club, parent AND NCJLA Board approval. Club presidents should submit the petition and request a copy of the Waiver of Liability Form from
- NO player may float between teams or play on two teams in an 8 day period. (See policies on changing teams)
- Once a player moves down from an A team to a B team, that player must remain there the rest of the season. (See policies on playing down)
- No player who played “A” for any three games of the season may play down on a “B” team for the team’s end of season games. (See policies on playing down)
- If a player moves up or moves laterally more than once, they must remain on the team they moved to for the remainder of the season. (See policies on changing teams)
- All player roster changes must be approved by the NCJLA commissioner and updated on the NCJLA website at least 48 hours in advance of a scheduled game if made before April 1st.
High School Eligibility
The NCJLA has two levels of play at the high school level for boys (Varsity and JV) and one level for girls (Varsity).
- Boys High School Varsity: Higher level of skill, athleticism and physical development.
- Boys JV: Moderate or emerging level of skill, athleticism and physical development.
- 12th graders MUST petition to play at the JV level, no reasonable petition will be denied but the NCJLA reserves the right to maintain oversight.
- Girls High School: one division, 15 years and up; mixed levels of skill, athleticism and physical development.
- The High School teams are required to submit the grade level of all players on their roster for inclusion on the NCJLA website. (See Operations Guide, section Submitting Rosters)
The NCJLA strongly recommends that clubs form High School rosters based on skill, athleticism and player size/development rather than grade. Approval of seniors playing down to JV is subject to the NCJLA Board of Directors review. Clubs should petition as soon as reasonably possible to ensure that they register the team in the correct division.
Due to the impact of COVID19 the NCJLA is TEMPORARILY modifying the HS CIF Player rule below. Any player who wishes to play for a CIF lacrosse team and an NCJLA lacrosse team within the same season (Feb 1st to June 1st) MUST petition the NCJLA Board of Directors prior to participation. If CIF players are approved to be added to regular season games they must play in at least 50% of the team’s games in order to be eligible to play in postseason. CIF Players can not be added to a post season roster for playoffs and championships.
HS CIF Player Rule: No player is permitted to play for a CIF High School lacrosse team and then a NCJLA High School lacrosse team during the same spring season. If a player plays for a CIF High School lacrosse team and decides to leave the CIF lacrosse team before the season has ended, they must petition the NCJLA for permission to play for a NCJLA High School lacrosse team.
Violations of the HS CIF Player Rule (and 2021 modification) will be considered an illegal roster and the game will be recorded as a forfeit.
(See No Playing Down and Petitioning sections below.)
Girls, U14 and below, may only play on a boys team if no girls team is available at her age level in her local club. Boys may not play on a girls team, at any age level. The NCJLA follows the recommendation of US Lacrosse in matters relating to transgender athletes. Players who wish to play for a boys team must petition the NCJLA. Club administrators should send the parents of the players who wish to petition a copy of the NCJLA Waiver of Liability. Parents should sign the Waiver prior to the petition being submitted.
Policies on Playing Up
As long as the player, parents, coach and club agree that it is in the best interest of the player, then the league will concur and allow a player to play one age level up (8U-14U only). However, the decision should not be made lightly. The "playing up" player should be in the top third of the team that he or she is moving up to. If several players all want to move up then it would likely be better to all stay at their appropriate age level. Players requesting to play up two age divisions must submit a petition to the NCJLA Board of Directors.
If any 14U age-eligible 8th grade player wishes to play on a high school team, the club must submit a petition to the NCJLA Board of Directors.
Any player that is playing up must fill out and submit a Player Release of Liability Form and provide a copy to the NCJLA (email to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Policies on Playing Down
No player may play on a team at a lower age level. If a club would like to petition this rule for a very rare exception, petitions are to be submitted by the club president and are collected by the NCJLA Executive Director. See Petitioning Eligibility below. A petition based solely on date of birth will not be approved, i.e. a birth date late in the year.
A player who initially plays on an “A” level or Varsity team may be moved down to a “B” or JV team. The exception to this is high school seniors who may NOT play down to the JV level unless approved by the NCJLA Board of Directors. Any changes in the roster must be sent to the NCJLA webmaster at least 48 hours before the first game at the lower level. Once a player moves down he/she must remain on the team he/she moved to for the remainder of the season. However, no player who played “A” for any three games of the season may play down on a “B” team for the team’s end of season games.
Policies on Changing Teams Mid-Season *Suspended for 2021, email email@example.com to document the club's need to move players
With advance notice, players are allowed to change teams once during the season in a play up (eg. “B” division to “A” division) or lateral move capacity (between two “B” teams in the same age bracket) and still be allowed to move back to their original team. If a player moves up or moves laterally more than once, they must remain on the team they moved to for the remainder of the season.
No player is allowed to play on two different teams within an eight (8) day period. The purpose of this rule is to discourage clubs from floating players from one team to another. Thus, a player cannot play on the same team within the same weekend and on the second team the following weekend as well, depending on when the first game was played.
Any movement of a player must be sent to the appropriate commissioner and the webmaster at least 48 hours before a game so the NCJLA can make the adjustment to a team’s roster prior to the game.
NCJLA’s rules on eligibility are firm. However, if a club wishes to petition an eligibility rule for a very rare exception, they may do so by having their club president submit a petition to the NCJLA board via an online Player Eligibility Petition form. Petitions may be submitted in November, December, January or February by the 10th of the month to be considered at that month's board meeting. Petitions must be submitted by either the club president or the club’s NCJLA delegate. No petitions will be considered coming directly from a coach or parent. The form requires the players full name, US Lacrosse membership, date of birth, current grade, height in inches, weight in pounds, current division, petitioning division and a short narrative about the reason for petitioning. The board will review petitions at the next monthly board meeting and decisions will be communicated shortly thereafter.
The NCJLA recommends that club registration modules include a separate module for parents to complete once approved by the club for petitioning up or down. ie Registration for Players with Special Circumstances
For roster changes after April 1st the club president should email
with a short explanation of why the change is needed. The NCJLA Board of Directors will review as needed.
Violations of these rules will be considered an illegal roster and any game played with non-compliant players will result in a forfeit by the offending team.
If you have questions on petitioning eligibility, contact
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