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State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

House Resolution

H.R. 35

House resolution supporting high school athletes desiring to play as team members

Offered by:  Representatives Klein of East Montpelier, Anderson of Montpelier and Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Whereas, interscholastic sports provide the opportunity for youngsters to remain physically fit and engage in constructive and personally exhilarating athletic activities, and

Whereas, certain sports, such as football and soccer, can only be played on a team, while others such as cross-country running, can technically, although not ideally, include independent athletes who are not team members, and

Whereas, two Montpelier High School students, Chris Keller and Liam McSweeney, have run cross-country as independents because their school lacks a cross-country program, and

Whereas, preferring the support and camaraderie of team membership, they sought permission from the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) to apply to U-32, under the association’s member-to-member program, to run on the U-32 team, and

Whereas, the member-to-member program does not currently encompass cross‑country running, and the students’ request was to expand the program’s coverage to include any sport that is scored on a team basis, and

Whereas, the Montpelier school board adopted a resolution, with principal Peter Evans’ endorsement, that supported the students’ request, and

Whereas, under the rules of the VPA’s member-to-member program, the final decision still would have been left to U-32, and

Whereas, in petitioning the school board to adopt the resolution, which Liam McSweeney and Chris Keller personally drafted, the two ninth grade students provided strong justifications for their request, and

Whereas, they cited the support and motivation that both teammates and coaches provide to cross-country runners, the necessity of team membership to participate in relay events, and that in cross-country, there is a competition opportunity for everyone unlike in sports such as football and soccer, and

Whereas, Liam McSweeney and Chris Keller addressed the potential for schools recruiting athletes with a proposal that the member-to-member program option for an athlete be limited to the nearest school offering a team in the desired sport, and

Whereas, as a further protection against schools’ proactively recruiting extremely talented and skilled teams, the two Montpelier students cited the VPA’s existing 20 percent cap in the member-to-member program on players not enrolled in a team’s own school, and

Whereas, despite these students’ sound arguments and widespread support, the VPA’s Activities Standards Committee rejected their request on a 4–1 vote, and

Whereas, just as distance learning has brought a wide scope of academic courses to schools throughout the state, high school students, provided they otherwise meet the standard eligibility requirements, should not be denied the opportunity of participating in a specific sport on a team basis simply because their home school does not field a team in that sport, and

Whereas, Liam McSweeney and Chris Keller are representative of other student athletes across Vermont who encounter similar situations, now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives:

That this legislative body urges the Vermont Principals’ Association to reassess and revise its rules for interschool athletic participation to maximize the opportunities for all eligible and otherwise qualified Vermont high school students to participate in any interscholastic sport on a team basis regardless of which school the student attends, and be it further

Resolved:  That the clerk of the house be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Liam McSweeney and Chris Keller, to Montpelier High School principal Peter Evans, and to the Vermont Principals’ Association.




____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House


                                                                      Donald G. Milne

                                                                      Clerk, House of Representatives

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont