High School Sports Bylaw Issues

Revision of CIF Rule 600


Rule 600 is causing a hot debate among school circles in California. The law restricts students from playing the same sport for their school, AAU, or club during the same season. The California Interscholastic Federation announced a proposal, aimed at repealing Rule 600. The new rule will allow student-athletes to participate in high school team and club in the same sport during the same season. The high school students wishing to play sports as the non-school team need to get familiarize with high school regulations and avoid breaking Rule 600. The paper looks into the Rule 600 and the proposed amendments legal implications to all stakeholders.


In the state of California, public and private high schools’ sports are under California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). The CIF includes the private and public high schools. However, the CIF does not have a single statewide championship for all sports. The organization started in Los Angeles with the responsibility to make standard the team structures between high schools in the city. The rules aimed at preventing abuses, including “school Shopping” by teams and athletes fielding overage players. The school principal in Los Angeles initiatives was adopted statewide in 1917. Since establishment, the CIF formulate rules and regulations, governing high school sports. It also amends the rules to fit the current situation and era in the sporting arena. Recently, the organization proposed the revision to the Bylaw 600. The CIF intend to remove restrictions on non-high-school clubs during the high school of the same sport (Jensen, 2014). The athletes from the same sport can compete for a high school and a club team in the same season. The club must be coached by a member of the sport’s technical bench.

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Current Situation

The players from Californian high schools break sporting rules, if they compete for other teams from the same sport in the high school season (as stated in Bylaw 511). However, there are a few exemptions. The proposal could affect all sports, but in particular, it could have an impact on swimming and soccer. In soccer, the current rule takes effect on high school season during winter only. The soccer programs for the high school competing during spring or fall will not be subject to Bylaw 600 (Jensen, 2014). Recently, the club soccer has extended its schedule to include competitions and tournaments that overlap the end or beginning of school calendar. The rationale regardless of the clubs’ decisions to extend the season into winter raises conflicts between players, families, and the league sponsors, such as DHS Men’s Soccer. The parents and players find it hard to decide where to place their commitment and loyalty.

The ban differentiates successful preseason and dismal record for the boys, playing in the Mesa Soccer League. Many people wonder whether the rule will uphold fairness. The Rule 600 seeks to benefit the athletes, as it rightfully assures students have time to achieve on and off the field. The people opposing the Rule 600 argue that the student creates conflicts between school and clubs. Others indicate that the rule contravenes other sports’ clauses such as swimming that allow athletes to participate in club competitions.

The state constitution protects property interest, and players have the right to take part in the interscholastic athletics (Jensen, 2014). The CIF ban is consistent and saves the students from burn out. The athletes spend daily training, leaving the students with less time for homework and final academic achievement. Allowing the students to participate in club competition decreases the chances of succeeding academically. Obviously, the athletes in high school are unable to practice with their teams during high school season, because they are only available on Sundays. There are no conflicts as the clubs hold their practice on Sundays, because the CIF are unavailable on Sunday, as stated in Bylaw 310. The rule revision will only apply to the high school athletes and not the clubs.

The Rule 600 is unconstitutional and a violation of due process clause as stated in California constitution. The Bylaw 511 specifically is unconstitutional. Suspending players or students for violating athletic department code of conduct will continue to increase lawsuits. Rule 600 is a violation of young people’s civil and constitutional rights. A suspension for not sticking to one team in a season would result in Fourteenth/Fifth Amendment due process challenge (Green, 2015). A suspension alleged to be severe on one student compared to another will lead to Fourteenth Amendment equal protection lawsuits. The CIF needs to follow constitutional rights to withstand judicial scrutiny.


The California Interscholastic Federation should lift the ban on students to participate in club sporting activities. Involvement in club sports encourages the society to embrace athletics besides academic achievement, since they are both critical aspects of life. Parents will stop pushing their children to academics, but help them towards acquiring sports scholarship. The rules dissolution will make CIF free of litigation and greatly encourage civil and constitutional rights to all students (Green, 2015).



Green, L. D. (May 20, 2015) Top ten sport law issues impacting school athletics program. National Federation of State High School Association. Retrieved on 31st January 2017 from http://www.nfhs.org/articles/top-ten-sports-law-issues-impacting-school-athletics-programs/

Jensen, P. (January 2014) CIF addresses ban on club sport participation during school season. The Mercury News. Retrieved on January 31st 2017 from http://www.mercurynews.com/2014/01/22/cif-addresses-ban-on-club-sports-participation-during-school-season/